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Trade Finance Association of Bankers holds AGM for year 2021/2022



Left to right (Seated) : Kanchana De Silva (Union Bank of Colombo PLC), Manjula Gunawardana (NDB Bank PLC), Immediate Past President: A. S. M. W. Kumarasiri (People’s Bank), Treasurer – Kasun Muthukuda (Nations Trust Bank PLC), Senior Vice President – Rochelle Fernando (Bank of Ceylon), President - Lawrian Somanader (Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC), Vice President- Shyam De Silva (Hatton National Bank PLC), Secretary General - K.R. Naguleswaran (DFCC Bank PLC), Gaya Manamperi (Formerly at Sampath Bank PLC) and Assistant Secretary – Indika Liyanage (Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC). Left to right (Standing): Thilanke Weerasinghe (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited), Eranda Weerakoon (Doha Bank), Dilan Wijegoonawardena (Seylan Bank PLC), Tharinda Amarasinghe (Sampath Bank PLC), Niranjan Dabare (Deutsche Bank AG), Saroja Pathirana (Sampath Bank PLC), Malithi Maheeka (Cargills Bank), Shehani Peter (Standard Chartered Bank), Neil Handapangoda (Citi Bank N.A.), K K Susantha (Bank of Ceylon) and Susantha Weerasinghe (People’s Bank).

The Trade Finance Association of Bankers (TFAB) held its 24th Annual General Meeting in April, at the Rainbow Room, Grand Oriental Hotel, Colombo following strict health guidelines owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trade Finance Association of Bankers which was formed in 1997, has been actively engaged in imparting knowledge and the required skills to its members who are Trade Practitioners by conducting seminars, lectures, discussions, workshops, trade educational tours and other activities on a wide range of topics relating to International Trade with the assistance of senior bankers who have mastered the subject in our local banks and other resource persons from various trade-related stakeholders. The Premium event of TFAB is Interbank Trade Finance Quiz and Social which promotes Trade Knowledge and Networking among its members.

TFAB provides an environment for Trade Practitioners representing all banks, to facilitate the exchange of views relating to trade, promote consistency in Trade Finance practices and to create the required skill set in the industry in supporting Trade. The membership comprises almost all commercial banks operating in Sri Lanka. The office-bearers of the Association from various banks are elected every year at its AGM. It is really fortunate to see some experienced and knowledgeable prominent veterans in the field of Trade Finance willingly sharing their knowledge and experience with new trade practitioners in all banks. The Association is backed by an Advisory Committee comprising of four senior bankers and past TFAB Presidents A. Kathiravelupillai (Inaugural President of TFAB and Former DGM –International of Bank of Ceylon), Michael Peiris (Former Head of Trade of Union Bank of Colombo PLC), Nilam Jumat (Former AGM – International of Hatton National Bank PLC), and Thushy David (Former Director, Head Global Subsidiary Coverage, Head of Trade and Cash Management Sales of Deutsche Bank), with extensive experience in the International Banking business.

Incumbent President Lawrian Somanader – Chief Manager – Heads the Exports at Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC was unanimously elected as the President of the Association. He holds a Master of Business Administration from UK. He possesses the ICC’s advanced Trade Finance qualification – Certified Trade Finance Professional (CTFP). He is also a member of the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka. He counts over 30 years of banking experience that includes 27 years in International Trade-related services Imports, Exports at Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC. He also had the opportunity of working at the Corporate Credit banking division and having served in a Branch during his banking career. Mr. Somanader had held many responsible positions in the Trade Finance Association of Bankers such as the Senior Vice President and the Treasurer..

The following members were elected as office-bearers of the Trade Finance Association of Bankers for the year 2021/2022 during the Annual General Meeting.

President – Lawrian Somanader – Chief Manager, Exports, Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC

Senior Vice President – Rochelle Fernando – Assistant General Manager – Trade Services – Bank of Ceylon

Vice President- Shyam De Silva – Manager Operations – Centralized Trade Processing, Hatton National Bank PLC

Secretary General – K.R. Naguleswaran – Assistant Vice President, Correspondent Banking and Remittances, DFCC Bank PLC

Treasurer – Kasun Muthukuda – Manager – Trade and Supply Chain Finance, Nations Trust Bank PLC

Assistant Secretary – Indika Liyanage – Senior Manager, Trade Services, Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC

Assistant Treasurer- Kanchana De Silva – Senior Manager – Trade Operations – Union Bank of Colombo PLC,

Council Members: Gaya Manamperi (Formerly at Sampath Bank PLC), Manjula Gunawardana(NDB Bank PLC), Neil Handapangoda (Citi Bank N.A.), Susantha Weerasinghe (People’s Bank), Tharinda Amarasinghe (Sampath Bank PLC), Niranjan Dabare (Deutsche Bank AG), K K Susantha (Bank of Ceylon), Saroja Pathirana (Sampath Bank PLC), Thilanke Weerasinghe (The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited), Dilan Wijegoonawardena (Seylan Bank PLC),Shehani Peter (Standard Chartered Bank), Malithi Maheeka (Cargills Bank), Eranda Weerakoon (Doha Bank)

Immediate Past President: A. S. M. W. Kumarasiri (Assistant General Manager, Trade Finance, People’s Bank)

The newly appointed President delivering his address pointed out the role played by the TFAB to the banking industry during its last 24 years of existence. He further stated that the knowledge imparted by TFAB by way of trade seminars, workshops, quiz competitions, trainings and knowledge forums to its membership was commendable. He also emphasised the importance of the TFAB newsletter as a knowledge sharing source and requested the membership to contribute more articles in order to enhance the number of publications.

He also spoke about such challenges with resilience that the world is going through since 2020 and how the banking industry is taking up that challenge in line with changing regulatory requirements.

Finally, he thanked the previous presidents for their leadership and thanked the membership for electing him to steer the association to greater heights and pledged his commitment towards the betterment of TFAB.

The Secretary General, in his address thanked the membership for the election of the present office-bearers and the council who will steer the objectives of the TFAB in 2021 /2022.

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Keheliya turns down request for abolishing price control on medicine



Industry leader has sought court intervention

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday (17) said that in spite of difficulties caused by the foreign currency crisis price control on imported medicines couldn’t be done away with.

Abolition of price control on drugs would heap an enormous burden on the vast majority of people, Minister Rambukwella said.

Lawmaker Rambukwella said so when The Island sought his response to the Sri Lanka Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (SLCPI) requesting the government to do away with price control. Claiming that the grouping imported over 80 percent of medicines into the country, the SLCPI recently warned of possible collapse of the industry unless remedial measures were taken swiftly.

Minister Rambukwella said that recently he met an SLCPI delegation at their request to discuss issues at hand. “Of course, I understand the difficulties experienced by all sectors, including the pharmaceutical trade. However, price control as regards medicine cannot be done away with,” Minister Rambukwella said.

The SLCPI has pointed out to the Minister that at the moment medicines were the only commodity under price control in the local market. The Health Minister asserted that it wouldn’t be fair to compare the medicine with other commodities.

Minister Rambukwella said that regardless of constrains, the government was trying to ensure uninterrupted supply of medicine and it wouldn’t be fair to do at this juncture.

In a statement sent to the media SLCPI asserted: “There is no solution to this dilemma than removing the price control of medicines and implement a fair and equitable pricing mechanism which will link the price of medicines to the dollar, inflation and direct costs such as raw material, fuel and freight charges, which will then make importing and marketing of medicines viable. As difficult as it may sound, the authorities will have to choose between having medicines at a cost and not having medicines at all.”

The SLCPI has already sought the intervention of the courts to establish what the grouping called a transparent pricing mechanism outside government price control.

Recently, Minister Rambukwella, at a meeting also attended by State Minister Dr. Channa Jayasumana called for a report on the requirement of medicines over the next six months. The Health Ministry declared that there was no shortage of drugs whereas SLCPI claimed some drugs were in short supply and the situation could get worse.

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Central Expressway: Rs 3 mn raked in within 12 hours



Chief Government Whip and Highways Minister Johnston Fernando said yesterday that about three million rupees had been earned by way of toll within the first 12 hours of the opening of the second phase of the Central Expressway.

Rs 2,805,100.00 had been paid by the expressway users during the first 12 hours from 12 noon to midnight Sunday (16) after its opening by the President and the Prime Minister on Saturday (15).

The Minister said that during the first 12 hours of the period of toll collection, a total of 13,583 vehicles had traversed the most  scenic road stretch in the country between Mirigama and Kurunegala. No traffic accidents had been reported during the 12 hour period.

Minister Fernando said that the newly opened road had been allowed to be used by the public free of charge for 12 hours from midnight Saturday (15) to Sunday (16) noon.

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President to inaugurate second session of Ninth Parliament today



by Saman Indrajith

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to commence the second session of the Ninth Parliament today at 10 am with his third Presidential policy statement (formerly Throne Speech).

He made his first ‘Throne Speech’ on Jan 3, 2020, opening the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament and the second on Aug 20, 2020 to open the First Session of the Ninth Parliament.

Secretary General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake said that MPs have been requested to arrive at the parliamentary complex at 9.25 am the latest.

The MPs, if accompanied by their spouses will alight from their vehicles at the Staff Entrance of the parliamentary building, while all other MPs are requested to drive up to the Members’ Entrance.

To facilitate orderly arrival, the MPs are requested that the Car Label provided them with be pasted on the inside top left-hand corner of the windscreen of their vehicles. On arrival at Parliament, Members’ vehicles would be directed by the Police to the appropriate Car Park.

Thereafter the MPs are requested to enter the lobbies of Parliament and to remain there until the Quorum Bells are rung.

President Rajapaksa is scheduled to arrive at the Main Steps of the Parliament Building at 9.40 a.m. and he would be received by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

The President will be escorted by them to the Parliament Building. Thereafter, the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament will escort the President to his Chambers.

At 9.55 a.m. the Quorum Bells will be rung for five minutes and all Members will take their seats in the Chamber of Parliament.

The President’s procession will leave for the Chamber of Parliament and will enter the Chamber at 10.00 am. On entering the Chamber the President’s arrival will be announced whereupon all Members will stand in their places until the President reaches the Chair and requests the Members to be seated.

Thereafter, the Proclamation proroguing the Parliament and Summoning the Meeting of Parliament will be read by the Secretary General of Parliament. Then, the President will address Parliament.

After his policy statement the President will adjourn the House until 1.00 p.m. on Wednesday (19).

Thereafter, the President will leave the Chamber escorted by the Speaker and the Secretary-General of Parliament.

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