The senior officials of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Viet Nam including both the Minister Counsellor, Mahesh Premathilaka, and Ambassador Prof A. Saj U. Mendis met with Tran Sy Thanh, Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee and former Deputy Chairman of National Assembly of Viet Nam. The chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee is the apex and extremely influential body focused on the administration and management of the entire city of Hanoi consisting well over seven million residents.
Tran Sy Thanh too has been the Deputy Chairman of National Assembly Office, just before taking over as the Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee, which is constitutionally the highest Government organization as well as the highest-level representative body of the people of the entire country. The congenial and informative meeting with the Chairman of Hanoi People’s Committee lasted well over an hour at the Head Office Ha Noi People’s Committee.
During the discussion, Ambassador Mendis commended the assistance and cooperation extended to Sri Lanka over the years as well as the support extended to Sri Lanka at a number of multilateral forums including the Human Rights Council. Further, Ambassador Mendis requested to facilitate visas, temporary resident cards and work permits for Sri Lankan expatriates since many of them are eager to live and work in Viet Nam, mostly in the high-skilled and professional disciplines. While Tran Sy Thanh and his delegation, consisting senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Culture and Tourism, agreed to look favorably on the aforementioned issues given the most affable and close relations of the two countries, Tran Sy Thanh also broached the idea of having an MoU between Ha Noi and a select major city in Sri Lanka such as Colombo or Kandy, thus further widening the relations in all aspects.
Both Tran Sy Thanh and Prof Mendis discussed and explored myriad of ways to further strengthen, deepen and elevate the relations between the two countries with particular focus on economic, investment and commercial activity. In this context, Tran Sy Thanh stated that direct connectivity between Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh city and Colombo would markedly and significantly increase not only the two-way tourism but also economic activity in all spheres and provinces. Prof Mendis stated that Viet Nam had over 13 million Vietnamese nationals travelling out of Viet Nam, mostly to ASEAN countries, Japan, China and South Korea as well as to other countries. He added if Sri Lanka could attract just a meager percentage of 0.2% of the Vietnamese overseas travelers, this figure would translate to 26,000. On the same note, Mendis stated that Sri Lanka has been chosen as amongst the five most desired and sought-after touristic destinations in 2018/2019, before the COVID pandemic, by well noted travel and tourism magazines as well as electronic media including but not limited to Lonely Planet, National Geographics, BBC Good Food and CNN.
Tran Sy Thanh too stated that the economic, investment and commercial potential the two countries have are yet to be exploited and unleashed. Further, both the Chairman and Ambassador added that Viet Nam has become a nation which attracts 8% of the GDP as foreign direct investments, which is one of the highest in any given nation, since Viet Nam received USD 21 billion in 2022 and anticipating USD 32 to 34 billion in 2023 respectively. With regard to trade, Viet Nam is one of the largest trading nations in the world ranked as the 15th largest with a bilateral trade of USD 732 billion last year. This includes imports amounting to over USD 350 billion. Mendis did highlight that the total bilateral trade between the two countries is in the vicinity of less than USD 300 million with a large trade deficit on Sri Lankan side. The chairman of Hanoi City, Tran Sy Thanh, stated that his office would efficaciously implement and address the propositions and ideas with the embassy of Sri Lanka in Hanoi, which were expressed by Prof Mendis.
Sri Lankan embassy in Vietnam
Global CEO Forum fetes one of most influential SL entrepreneurs
In tribute to the late Merril J. Fernando, the esteemed Founder of Dilmah Tea, the Global Brand Creator 2023 Award was bestowed at the Global CEO Forum held recently in Sri Lanka. This prestigious accolade was presented to Kirmali Fernando (the daughter-in-law of late Merril J. Fernando) by the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Kataro Katsuki, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka, Janaka Abeysinghe, CEO -SLT MOBITEL, Dr. DMA Kulasuriya, Director General-NIBM, Ahamed Ikram, Director-Emerald International , Dilanga Karunaratna- Director Otto Bathware and Anura Siriwardena, Chairman-Global CEO Forum.
Coca-Cola Sri Lanka extends its ‘Adopt A Beach’ program for a third year
Coca-Cola Sri Lanka Ltd. proudly continues its mission to safeguard Sri Lanka’s shorelines by extending the ‘Adopt A Beach’ initiative for a triumphant third year. This exciting announcement aligns with the celebration of International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 16, 2023, emphasizing the paramount significance of coastal preservation.
Commemorating the partnership with an exclusive beach cleanup and an enlightening session at Crow Island Beach, the day’s proceedings were honored by the presence of the Governor of the Western Province and Marshal of the Sri Lanka Air Force, Roshan Goonetileke and key government stakeholders representing the Ministry of Local Government, Colombo Municipal Council, Environmental Police Division, Coastal Conservation Department, Waste Management Authority and the Crow Island Beach Management Society.
Additionally, underlining the vital role that the youth of our nation play in forging cleaner and safer coastal regions, particularly through the realms of media and volunteerism, the occasion also brought together young talents from the media sector and a dedicated team of volunteers from the Clean Ocean Force, Clean Ocean Force Youth Club of the Ocean’s University, Clean Ocean Force Youth Club in Negombo, Rotaract Club Colombo Regent, Shri Vimukthi Youth Association, youth from International Schools and Adfactors Public Relations Lanka.
PLC’s profits surge 80.9% in Q1, amidst challenging environment
People’s Leasing & Finance PLC (PLC), a pillar of strength and stability in Sri Lanka’s financial sector, successfully concluded the 1st Quarter of the fiscal year 2023/24 with a year-on-year increase in Profit of 80.9% in the midst of a challenging economic landscape.
PLC’s top line interest income recorded an impressive 10.2%, reaching Rs. 7,465 million owing to the increased investment income during the quarter. However, the company’s net interest income showed a modest fall when compared to the first quarter of 2022/23. This was mostly the result of higher interest expenses brought on by the repricing of deposits to higher rates in line with higher policy rates. Despite the stated decrease in net interest income, PLC was able to end the first quarter with a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs. 331 million as opposed to Rs. 183 million recorded in Q1 2022/23 thanks to the significant year-on-year reduction in Impairment Charges as well as reduction in operating expenses, demonstrative of an intensified commitment to internal sustainability.
Similarly, PLC Group also recorded a PAT of Rs. 552 million during Q1 2023/24, reflecting a year-on-year increase of 21.5% mainly driven by the significant reduction in the Group’s impairment charges and other losses for loans and receivables.
Even in the face of a highly inflationary environment, PLC successfully reduced total operating expenses by 3.5% compared to the corresponding quarter in the year prior due to a determined effort to increase efficiency through digital initiatives, right-sizing of branches, and improvements in internal processes. PLC recognized the significance of recalibrating its balance sheet in a setting not favourable to business expansion and took strategic measures to ensure the right sizing of its balance sheet resulting a total asset base of Rs. 155,380 million as of 30 June 2023. Backed by these strategic moves, total asset base of the PLC Group also remained resilient at Rs. 179,948 million as of 30 June 2023.
In an extremely volatile and complex business setting PLC adopted a highly disciplined liquidity management approach to ensure financial stability whilst maintaining capital adequacy ratios well ahead of the statutory minimums at the end of Q1. The majority of PLC’s funding needs were met through improved collections enabling PLC to remain watchful in growing its deposit base in a high-interest environment. Despite these measures, the deposit base of PLC remained robust at Rs. 93,228 million as of 30 June 2023, showcasing strong customer confidence. The Group deposit base also remained strong at Rs. 100,439 million, as at 30 June 2023.
Meanwhile, PLC retained its No.1 position as Sri Lanka’s Most-Loved Brand in Leasing and Finance category, as ranked by Brand Finance in LMD Brands Annual. The company’s steadfast dedication to excellence was also evident in its ascent from 51 to 36 in the esteemed “Most Respected Entities” ranking by LMD within just one year, further cementing its position as one of Sri Lanka’s most respected and trusted financial services providers.
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