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Trying to make Sense of what is going on in the World?



This is Your Answer

As we adapt to a new norm, the world as we know it is more fragmented than ever before and demands systemic change to overcome its challenges. Simon Anholt, founder of the Good Country Project breaks down how we can make that change by being “good”. Good people, good business, good countries make up a good world, and in his podcast conversation with tea grower, and Dilmah Tea CEO Dilhan C. Fernando, Simon shares how to reassess and refocus at the onset of paradigm shift; an opportunity for businesses and communities to make the necessary adjustments now for a more sustainable future.


Defining “Good”

Simon Anholt, author of ‘The Good Country Question’ and the founder of the ‘Good Country Index’, must know the meaning of the word “Good”. However, he doesn’t define it traditionally. It is a word beyond a single definition, a word which actually defines a holistic vision. “Good” is the opposite of selfish, not good, the opposite of bad. The world is in turmoil today because of the introspective nature and the microscopic vision of people which affects the way we think, the way we lead and the way we are governed. The root cause of our challenges from Climate change to pandemics, small arms proliferation to the abuse of human rights links to our humanness or lack thereof. It isn’t simply to do the right thing by your own people. The responsibility must be wider to contribute to our collective wellbeing, including the global commons, the environment, the planet and the rest of the world. It’s simple. How people behave, individually and collectively defines “Good”.


Education is always the answer to every social and economic problem…

When the problem exists amongst the people the solution too lies within and must be unravelled. Human behaviour is woven into every individual based on an individualized experience of education, culture and upbringing. It can exacerbate the challenges we face or contribute towards solving it. In ‘The Good Country Project’, Simon calls for a new global compact on educational values, virtues and principles, a universal upheaval of education systems around the world to teach values that will build a new generation that will run towards the global challenges instead of running away from them.

This will enable young citizens to be suitably armed to face the challenges of the age they live in and tackle the present day challenges. It could create a generation of Good citizens that are able to start fixing things in just one generation. ‘Social Engineering’ can singularly save humanity from its own destructive instinct. Our world is truly globalized, and its citizens are interconnected and interdependent. What goes on in Sri Lanka has an impact on every other country on Earth.  The next generation must learn to think differently and behave differently.


Collaboration: focusing on the system

While addressing the challenges ahead are self-evidently greater than any one individual and or even individual country, to make sensible progress it is inevitable that people, communities, businesses, governments and countries work together, consistently and continuously to change the culture from fundamentally competitive to fundamentally collaborative according to Simon, who has advised the presidents, prime ministers, and government officials of fifty-six countries, helping them to engage more imaginatively and effectively with the international community and is accredited with being the founder of the concepts of nation brands and place brands, seeing them as being “simply another manifestation of how obsessed countries have become with their competitive edge, instead of focusing their energies on the system of which they are a part, and on which we all utterly depend”. 


Coopetition: cooperative competition

In the 1970s, businesses began to demonstrate that it’s perfectly possible to compete and to collaborate at the same time. Coopetition was a buzzword that originated in the Japanese auto industry which proved that the best way to drive a market towards growth is to have companies both competing against each other in an honorable way and collaborating to build a more efficient and effective marketplace. It demonstrates that human beings are still allowed to compete, which is a very valuable and very fundamental part of their nature, but also collaborate on the essentials in such a way that they don’t destroy each other or the marketplace as a result. Businesses and corporate bodies must advocate for coopetition within sectors, amongst sectors and on the lands on which they operate. “So that experiment of coopetition, I would argue, is about 30 years overdue between governments. And that’s one of the things we need to see now” urges Simon.

A Good Corporate/Business

A Business has a direct influence over the lives of nearly as many people as governments do. It is the simple idea that it’s not enough to make good products and sell them at a good price for a company to earn its right to inhabit the space it inhabits on the planet. Every business must understand its role and responsibility within the shared system, in a society, to the land on which it operates and as a stakeholder it is a common obligation. 

We have to see the mandate of people in power, whether that’s within corporations or within government or within society. “You’re responsible for your own people. Yes. And for every single man, woman, child and animal on the planet, whether you like it or not, you’re responsible for your own premises in your own territory. Yes. And for every inch of the earth’s surface and the atmosphere above it and the soil beneath it, whether you like it or not, and if you don’t like it, you shouldn’t be in a position of power or authority because that is the rule of life on Earth today, whether we like it or not. And the sooner people begin to understand that, the sooner we’ll get the right people aspiring to positions of power and responsibility because they accept that their sphere of influence as leaders, their sphere of responsibility, rather, is greater than their sphere of influence.”

– Simon Anholt 

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Webinar on ‘Security of Information Assets: What the Board Needs to Know’



The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) together with EY organized a webinar, moderated by Manil Jayasinghe-Partner, EY on “Security of Information Assets: What the Board Needs to Know” recently to update the knowledge and understanding of Board members on the increasing cyber security risks and threats to information assets of an organization brought about by the rapid wave of digitalization and resulting changes in the way organizations work in response to the on-going pandemic.

The webinar also discussed strategies and best practices on how best to mitigate these risks in securing information assets while ensuring business continuity, loss minimization and quick, safe recovery in the event of a breach. The keynote address was delivered by Dileepa Lathsara-CEO, TechCert and the panel comprised of eminent tech and business leaders Madu Ratnayake-Executive Vice President, CIO/GM Virtusa and D. Soosaipillai-INED of Listed Companies.

“It is important to define what information assets are so that security can be provided to those assets. Contrary to the misconception that information assets are only the application systems or the systems where staff work on and the data that resides on those systems, information assets include supporting infrastructure such as switches, patch panels, routers, servers and all other equipment, and application systems including confidential corporate information in those systems. It is also important to identify where corporate information is stored and who has access to it” said Dileepa Lathsara-CEO, TechCert.

“Boards should get involved in handling cyber security risk by firstly setting a security tone for the organization so that everyone takes security seriously and also ensure that the required resources are made available. Boards can focus on the actual requirements of information security by adopting and adhering to security frameworks, standards, acts and directives such as NIST and ISO27000 series, PCI-DSS rather than having the IT security team re-invent the wheel” he added.

He further stated that cyber security should be incorporated into the digital transformation chain and should not be a mere afterthought to be plugged in at the end. Cyber accountability is also important in that it is the organization’s ability to demonstrate that they have good cyber hygiene to ensure, in case of an eventual attack, the ability to track back to a unique event/person or group responsible with admissible evidence which also aids in quick rectification and recovery. Dileepa also emphasized that it is important to make informed and optimal investments in cyber security mitigation which can be calculated preferably as Annualized Loss Expectancy (ALE) as against ROI since security is about loss prevention and not about earnings where ALE is calculated as the cost of a security incident x chance that the incident will occur in a year.

Panelist Madu Ratnayake said that it is essential and fundamental to have the right people in the security team led by a CISO (Chief Information Security Officer) and that cyber security is a journey and not a destination as security is evolving. The Boards should comprise of members who have expertise on security given that most companies are going digital and the risk becomes crucial.

Panelist D. Soosaipillai said that the first thing is to find a security standard to be adopted in the organization without which there will be limitless spending on security without knowing what the benefits are. The organization should have a security vertical such as a CISO or IT Security, which is where the Boards will look at to establish ownership for IT security. He also suggested that Board does regular, if not half yearly Vulnerability Assessment and Penetration Testing (VAPT) by external 3rd parties into the systems/security matrix of the organization.

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Sampath Bank further simplifies cash management for businesses with launch of Visa Business Debit Card



Sampath Bank recently announced the launch of Sri Lanka’s first Visa powered business debit card linked to a corporate account – the Sampath Bank Visa Business Debit Card – to help businesses of all sizes gain more control over their expenses.

The Bank’s business customers will now be able to move away from cash and provide separate debit cards to their employees for day-to-day expenditure. They can set monthly transaction limits to each individual card and link the cards to their preferred company account with Sampath Bank. The chosen account will be directly debited each time an employee makes a payment using the card. Businesses can consolidate all spending information using the detailed electronic reports it offers and simplify their payments, bookkeeping, reporting and monitoring processes.

Offering greater convenience and security, this new business debit card from Sampath Bank is set to encourage more businesses to go digital with their expenses, in line with the government and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s efforts to drive the adoption of cashless payments in the country.

Commenting on this, Tharaka Ranwala, Senior Deputy General Manager – Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank PLC, said, “We are delighted to help businesses of all sizes go digital with their daily expenses with the launch of the Sampath Bank Visa Business Debit Card. Moving away from cumbersome cash transactions, businesses can now provide staff members with individual debit cards to be used for company expenses. The cards are linked to the customers’ preferred Sampath Bank accounts which get debited every time a transaction is made using these cards. We look forward to seeing our business customers experience the convenience and security offered by this solution to simplify their cash flow management as well as accounting, reporting and monitoring.”



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CSE indices dip below average turnover



By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE saw the bear run persist for the third consecutive day with both indices dipping sharply below average turnover. The market was negative and at one point it declined to 200 points and subsequently started recovering  but not up to a steady level, stock market analysts said.

The market saw heavy foreign selling worth Rs. 700 million, up from Rs. 53.5 million, thereby pushing the year-to-date figure up. Foreigners continue to exit from some blue chip companies.

As result, both indices moved downwards. All Share Price Index went down by 131.94 points and S and P SL20 went down by 56.09 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 2.43 billion with a single crossing. The crossing was reported in Lion Brewery, which crossed 673,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 363 million, its shares traded at Rs. 540.

In the retail market five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Vallibel One Rs 290 (5.7 million shares traded), LOLC Rs. 243 million (736,000 shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 197 million (4.4 million shares traded), Browns Investment Rs. 170 million (1.1 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 127 million (2.9 million shares traded). During the day 141 million share volumes changed hands 23199 transactions.

During the day, top turnover companies, LOLC,  JKH, Browns Investments, Melstacorp and Expolnka contributed negatively to the Index. LOLC  being one of the top listed companies in the stock market  contributed 21 negative points to the All Share Price Index.  Other companies were, JKH 7 negative points, Browns, Melstacorp and Expolanka contributed six negative points each during the day.

It is said that CTC and Carsons Cumberbatch contributed positively to the All Share Price Index.  CTC contributed the highest number of points to the Index which was 10 points.

It is said that even though the market’s recent downward trend is disappointing, it is believed that the bourse will gradually reverse course in line with the expectation of an upward biased long term trajectory.’Consequently, investors are advised to take advantage of the current weakness and focus on accumulating fundamentally robust and liquid stocks in high growth sectors with a long term investment horizon, stock brokers said. 

Sri Lanka’s rupee opened weaker at 195/199 levels to the US dollar in the one-week forwards market on Wednesday while bond yields were slightly up, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the one- week forward market at 196.50/197.50 to the dollar on Tuesday.



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