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‘State sector red tape stifling SMEs’

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(L to R) Colin Fernando, Prof. Rohan de Silva, Mohideen Cader and Chaminda Kumarasiri Pic by Kamal Bogoda

By Steve A. Morrell

The SME sector, contributing $ 48 billion to the GDP, is stifled by government red tape. SME entrepreneurs and industrialists who wish to commence ventures have to often be in waiting for years before such projects are approved by relevant government bodies.

Some give up in disgust after suffering irretrievable losses because of being shunted from one desk to the other, to have their projects approved. Additionally,  rampant corruption compounds the  frustration such entrepreneurs have to endure if and when their projects are approved for implementation.

The above disquieting findings were revealed recently at a press conference convened by the Sri Lanka Chamber of Small and Medium Industries.

The head table included president of the Chamber, Prof. Rohan de Silva, Immediate Past President Mohideen Cader, Management Consultant, Chaminda Kumarasiri and Senior Vice President Colin Fernando.

Prof. de Silva introducing the subject to be discussed said the Chamber was 57 years in existence, having commenced in1953. He said the SME sector contributes 60 percent  to the  revenue of the country. The Chamber works with any government and cooperates with the state to promote the interests of the SME sector.

De Silva said the Chamber was a non profit organization and adhered to its motto, ‘Be Sri Lankan, Buy Sri Lankan’. He expressed his thanks to Minister Wimal Weerawansa who granted the Chamber an interview within two days of assuming office to discuss matters  that require the minister’s intervention.

Management Consultant Chaminda Kumarasiri said there were three serious  matters that require official attention. Red tape, cash flow and collateral. Red tape was the most frustrating factor when seeking sanction for a project.

Quite often, because of these frustrations an entrepreneur would abandon a project, often ending in penury. His jeopardized cash flow also obstructed an entrepreneur’s progress. Banks were reluctant to lend, considering the interminable papers that had to be completed before such projects even got started.

Of importance was also the fact that when state personnel changed, policies also changed, resulting in lack of continuity.  Such changes caused confusion to small holders who were usually of rural origin.

Vice President Colin Fernando said although the corona pandemic caused restrictions to entrepreneurs, official support was imperative if the sector was to contribute to the economy. He said China’s progress from a backward country to that of a world economic power was instructive. Chinese policies if applied in the Sri Lankan context could prove effective.

Immediate Past President Mohideen Cader confirmed government support was an immediate necessity and said the Chamber was now a fully contributory entity to the government’s export business. The Chamber was responsible for  continuous progress of the SME sector and cannot be ignored.

He added that entrepreneurs of the North of the country who were saddled with serious odds also required official support.

 

 

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Business

CSE turnover hits Rs. 3 billion for third consecutive day

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE recorded the highest turnover for the week, touching the  Rs. 3.billion  mark yesterday for the third consecutive day. The banking sector  counters dominated in turnover generation almost after two weeks closely followed by manufacturing sector  counters, making a combined contribution of 48 percent, stock market analysts said.

Foreign investors continued to be net-sellers while recording low participation. But yesterday the market was driven and mainly pushed  by retail investors. Further, corporate and institutional investors were also more active than on other trading days, analysts explained. 

All Share Price Index was up by 63.38 points and S and P SL20 up by 32.25 points.  Turnover stood at Rs.  3.54 billion with five crossings. Those crossings were reported in JKH, which crossed 1.5 million shares to the tune of Rs. 205.5 million, its shares trading at Rs. 137, HNB 1.34 million shares crossed for Rs. 183 million, its shares fetching Rs. 130.50, Commercial Bank 1.76 million shares  crossed for Rs. 146.7 million, its shares trading at Rs. 83, Sampath Bank 200,000 shares crossed for Rs. 27.4 million at a per share value of Rs. 137 and Lanka IOC one million shares crossed for Rs. 21 million, its shares trading at Rs. 21.

In the retail market, top five companies that mainly contributed to the day’s turnover were, Expolanka Rs.  330.7 (34 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 211.1 million (1.53 million shares traded), Commercial Bank Rs. 196 million (2.4 million shares traded), Browns Investment Rs. 152.9 million (55.5 million shares traded) and Tokyo Cement (Non Voting) Rs. 143.9 million (3.1 million shares traded). During the day 182 million share volumes changed hands in 26472 transactions. 

Banking sector, LOLC and Browns Investments contributed heavily to both CSE indices, mainly the All Share Price Index. LOLC share prices moved up by Rs. 3 or 2.2 per cent. Its shares started trading at Rs. 135 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs. 138 and Browns Investment  share prices moved up by 11.5 percent or 30 cents. Its shares started trading at Rs. 2.60 and at the end of the day it moved up to Rs. 2.90. Further, Sampath Bank and HNB share prices appreciated by four percent  each during the day. Commercial Bank share prices also appreciated during the day,  stock market sources said.      High net worth and institutional investor participation remained subdued for the day while mixed interest was observed in Hayleys Fabric, Tokyo Cement Company, voting and non-voting, and Melstacorp. Retail interest was noted in Expolanka Holdings, Access Engineering and People’s Leasing & Finance. 

 

 

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SriLankan statement on New Delhi court case

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SriLankan Airlines wishes to state the following with regard to the Delhi court case against a former senior official of the airline and the subsequent media reports that are currently being circulated.

The case in the Metropolitan Magistrate- 05, Patiala House Court, New Delhi where an order has been delivered convicting a former Regional Manager of SriLankan Airlines, had been filed pursuant to a complaint made by a former Sales Executive on a personal matter against the said former Regional Manager of the airline. The airline was not a party to this legal action in which the order has been delivered.

The airline had received a complaint from that Sales Executive in 2011 alleging an incident took place in 2009 involving the said former Regional Manager and transferring her from the airline’s office in New Delhi to the office in Cochin.

Upon receiving the complaint, the airline had conducted an inquiry in terms of the Company’s special policy against harassment in 2011 and the Committee had determined that her transfer to Cochin had been based on commercial requirements. As the former Sales Executive had been dissatisfied with the outcome of the inquiry and she wanted another inquiry, the airline had conducted a further inquiry into her complaint in 2014 in line with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal Act of 2013 in India, where the committee had been of the view that her complaint of “sexual harassment” could not be justified and her transfer to Cochin would stand.

As the former Sales Executive did not comply with the requirement of the Company to report to the office in Cochin, the airline was compelled to terminate her services on disciplinary grounds following the due procedure in terms of laws in India.

SriLankan Airlines is one of the first corporate entities in Sri Lanka who adopted a policy against harassment at workplace way back in 2007. SriLankan Airlines, as an entity that is committed to ensure safe working environment for all its employees, maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any kind of harassment.

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Litro Gas felicitates senior staff with Long Service Awards

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Long Service Award Winners 2020 with the chairman and CEO of Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. & Litro Gas Terminal Lanka (Pvt) Ltd.

Litro Gas has developed a unique legacy that combines the efficiency and tradition of a private enterprise with its state owned status.

In keeping with the company’s commitment towards recognizing and rewarding its employees who have grown with the company, Litro Gas recently feted its senior most staff at the Long Service Awards ceremony 2020.

A total of 33 employees were recognized by the company for their loyal and dedicated service spanning up to 35 years of continuous service to the LPG industry.

W.H.Padmasiri (35 Years), D.C.P.Wijesinghe, D.K.Nanda, W.A.S.P.Perera, K.D.J.T.Gunasekara, A.Pathmarajah, H.B.Weerasena, L.N.G.Perera, A.L.A.Nandana, K.S.Chandrathilake (30 Years) , K.K.M.P.Jayawardena, S.W.J.Senaratne, W.H.G.Wildeniya, B.Mahinda, Mrs. H.K.Nilmini, M.S.Punchihewa, N.P.S.A.H.Kumara, K. Sarathchandra, K.A.A.Priyadarshana (25 Years), Mrs. H.M.Chamani Pathirage, Miss.Shymalie Enoshie P Karunaratne, Ranil Palinda Seneviratne, Mrs. W.M.Lakmali C. Hapuarachchi, Mrs. H.Sunethra Sahabandu, S. Hiran Senewirathne, P.H.Vidanagamage , W.D.L.Nalin Achala, H.P.Pradeep Kumara, H.K.Chandraratne, Priya Kelum Alwis, D.K.N.G.Kumara Fernando, K.P.Weerasekera (20 Years) , Mrs. W.B.Sudeshini Wijewardena (15 Years).

“Recognizing our team members who have made a tremendous contribution to empowering the Litro Gas journey is an honour for us”, says Anil Koswatte, chairman and CEO of Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. & Litro Gas Terminal Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. “The team’s commitment has helped us emerge as the market leader in the Sri Lankan LPG industry with a 75% market share. We will continue to recognize and reward our employees as a part of the culture we have inherited from the past and continue to nurture at Litro Gas – a small, efficient team of 234 members managing the entire operation.”

He adds that those who have served through the years are an asset to the Company. “Their expertise and experiences have evolved through the years and have been a tremendous contribution to our success whilst upholding the Company’s values and ethics and stringently complying with the Health, Safety and Environment policies and procedures”.

The long service awards are a valuable component of Litro’s overall employee recognition efforts and play a significant role in motivating and engaging staff. Rewarding loyalty and commitment by recognising those who have dedicated their careers to the Company is proof that the organisation values and respects people who are committed and add value to the Company.

Litro Gas is recognized as an industry leader in the Sri Lankan energy sector with a turnover of Rs 45 billion. The Company’s LPG storage facility located at Kerawalapitiya and Hambantota Terminals deliver domestic gas across Sri Lanka through an island-wide network of 37 distributors, approximately 1,500 home delivery hubs and 11,000 points-of-sale locations.

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