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UTE launches ‘Grow Your Own Food’ home gardening project for employees

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Continuing in its mission to be the best engineering services provider in all the markets they serve, United Tractor and Equipment (Pvt) Limited (UTE), recognizes from its 75-year history that being the best means looking after their people. Continuing its mission UTE inaugurated its ‘Grow Your Own Food’ cultivation initiative on the 13th of September 2022. The project is designed with the aim of facilitating employee welfare and gearing them with skills that are required to overcome any possible food shortage in the future. In consideration of the ongoing economic situation in the country, this would further help UTE employees with sustainable means of food production. The launch of ‘Grow Your Own Food’ was graced by the Ambassador of the United States to Sri Lanka Ms. Julie Chung as Chief Guest, along with representatives of The American Embassy and The American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM).

The initial stages of the project commenced in June 2022 with the overwhelming support of all UTE employees at the UTE Head Office in Wattala, where a large area was assigned for cultivation.

The collected harvest from the project will be distributed amongst the 325+ employees on a quota basis according to their needs, allowing them to benefit directly from the fruits of their own labor. In order to ensure the success of the ‘Grow Your Own Food initiative’, UTE has enlisted the support of Agriculture Officers in developing the project and has plans to expand the project throughout its facilities island-wide.

Accordingly, the ‘Grow Your Own Food’ initiative constitutes UTE’s latest move to meaningfully contribute to employee welfare by ensuring that its employees remain self-sufficient during this present time of need, by encouraging all staff employed throughout the company to engage in home gardening to meet their food needs. Not only will this initiative provide employees with much-needed ease of access to food, but it will also deepen their family engagement and happiness, enabling them to enrich both their professional and personal lives. As part of this initiative, UTE launched a children’s art campaign under the theme ‘Home Garden,’ where children of UTE employees painted their own home gardens. Using the collection of art submissions, UTE created an art wall which was also unveiled by Ambassador Chung at the launch event.

Addressing the gathering at the launch, Ambassador of the United States to Sri Lanka Ms. Julie Chung commended the project, “Through these home gardens that you are developing, you are not only planting seeds; you are planting seeds of hope, seeds of victory. And I hope more companies follow your lead. You are setting that example for others to follow so that others can also offer solutions that provide relief. Thank you all for your dedication, for your service, and for the love for your country.”

Commenting on UTE’s initiative, Prasan Fernando, Chairman of United Tractor and Equipment (Pvt) Limited said, “As a longstanding presence in Sri Lanka’s business landscape, over the years UTE has made its mission to contribute to the communities we serve in. We are very pleased and proud to launch the ‘Grow Your Own Food’ initiative at this moment in time, given the uncertainty of possible food shortages around the world and the uncertainty we as Sri Lankans are facing. UTE has continued to place the utmost importance on contributing towards sustaining the wellbeing of our employees and our communities, and with this latest initiative to encourage home gardening we aim to enhance their standards of living to meet the challenges of today.”

Representing over 75 years of engineering excellence, UTE has continuously delivered high-quality engineering solutions across a wide range of disciplines in Sri Lanka and around the world. The UTE Parts Store/PCC (Parts.Cat.Com) is the fastest, easiest, and most reliable website to find and order over 1.4 million genuine CAT® parts online. As the sole authorized Caterpillar dealer in Sri Lanka, UTE also offers retail distribution of CAT® Lubricants. Orders can be placed 24/7 with the mobile-friendly interface and the parts will be shipped to any location in the island or can be picked up from any of UTE’s branches. The company is home to the Island’s most experienced and largest team of Customer Support personnel and Caterpillar-trained technicians in the industry. Serving customers throughout the island, the company has branches in Panchikawatta, Matara, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, and Kilinochchi adding to its strength.



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Pan Asia Bank posts steady performance during FY 2023 –

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Aravinda Perera- Chairman & Naleen Edirisinghe - Director CEO of Pan Asia Bank

Profit before Tax increases by 258% amidst external challenges

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reflected a steady performance amidst multitude of adversities emerging from challenging macro-economic conditions as the Bank reported its financial performance during 2023, which showed judicious portfolio management and prudency exercised in dealing with possible fallout on its asset quality in challenging times.

The Bank reported a Pre-tax Profit of Rs. 2,328 Mn for the year ended 31st December 2023, which is 258% increase compared to corresponding period last year, supported by improved net interest income, increased trading gains from government securities and reduced exchange losses.

The Sri Lankan economy has experienced some positive signs of gradual economic recovery and a measure of stability in macro-economic factors compared to the previous year, with the appreciation of LKR against USD and the IMF bailout followed by the Domestic Debt Optimization (DDO) announcement. The multiple economic scenario models used regarding collective impairment in 2022 were continued in 2023 to ensure that adequate buffers were in place to absorb any potential credit risk that could arise in the future. The allowance for overlays applied in previous year was continued and maintained during 2023 too. Meanwhile, the Bank managed to end the year with healthy credit quality matrices due to improved credit underwriting standards and concerted collection & recovery efforts despite the contraction in the loan book during 2023 which impacted the Bank’s Stage 3 Loan Ratio adversely.

Furthermore, the Bank increased impairment provision buffers held regarding investments in International Sovereign Bonds of Government of Sri Lanka (SLISBs) further during 2023 with the expectation of possible adverse outcomes of the on-going government External Debt Restructuring (EDR) programme. The Bank recognised an impairment charge of nearly Rs. 2 Bn regarding International Sovereign Bonds during 2023.

The interest income for the year 2023 rose by 39% due to the high interest rates that prevailed during the period under review compared to corresponding period of the last year and the re-pricing effect of facilities in response to the market conditions. Further, the growth in interest income was supported by the increased interest income from Rupee denominated securities of the Government of Sri Lanka (T-Bills & Bonds) due to increased investments and high interest rates offered on such new investments compared to the previous year. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 9% in 2023 compared to the last year. (Pan Asia Bank)

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SLT-MOBITEL celebrates the season of love with exciting giveaways

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SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a series of heartwarming promotions and networking activities, spreading love and joy for customers across the country.

Connecting hearts from all around the world on social media, SLT-MOBITEL invited participants to share their loving memories for a chance to win movie tickets. Customers were also given the opportunity to dedicate romantic ringing tones to their loved ones by dialling special codes.

As part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, SLT-MOBITEL also offered a special promotion, providing a special screening for the glamorous movie ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’, powered by SLT-MOBITEL. Furthermore, customers were treated to a surprise bonus of 10GB of free data upon recharging their SLT-MOBITEL mobile numbers with Rs. 500 or more through any banking app.

Taking love to the hill country, in a special engagement event at the Kandy City Centre, fans were able to participate in activities and interact with the ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’ cast including Hemal Ranasinghe, Sheshadri Priyasad, and many others.

Through these exciting promotions, SLT-MOBITEL helped spread love and joy this season while enhancing the customer experience with exclusive activities.

To discover more of SLT-MOBITEL’s Valentine’s Day promotions, visit https://www.facebook.com/SLTMobitel.

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Call for Proposals: Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024

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The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research.

The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of independent research and public policy engagement in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and the wider South Asian region. Dr. Kelegama was the Executive Director of the IPS from 1995 to 2017.

Fourth-year undergraduates studying economics or a related subject in a University Grants Commission approved university or higher education institution in Sri Lanka are eligible to apply. Proposals must be written according to the guidelines provided and emailed to tharakam@ips.lk on or before the submission deadline of 30 April 2024.

HOW WILL THE WINNER BE CHOSEN? The quality of the proposals will be judged for its policy relevance, feasibility, originality and creativity. Three finalists will be chosen and invited to present their proposals at the IPS, where the award recipient will be selected.

OUTCOMES OF THE GRANTS – The recipient will be expected to produce a Policy Discussion Brief within six months of receiving the grant. The research report can be written individually or jointly with an IPS senior researcher.

BENEFITS OF THE GRANT – The beneficiary will be awarded a one-time research grant of LKR 200,000 to carry out the proposed research and a three-month internship at the IPS. The recipient will be able to seek guidance from senior researchers and benefit from IPS resources to complete the proposed study during the internship. To enable students from all over Sri Lanka to benefit from this opportunity, the terms of the internship will be flexible. The internship can either be a fully in-house internship at IPS, or it can be an in-house plus online internship. In the case of the second option, the in-house component of the internship should be at least six weeks. To encourage research dissemination, an additional subsidy will be provided for presenting the research findings at local conferences and workshops.

Important Dates

30 April 2024 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals

01 June 2024 – Announcement of Finalists

23 June 2024 – Announcement of the Winner

Further information is available at: https://www.ips.lk/saman-kelegama-memorial-research-grant/

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