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WEBXPAY partners Australian government to empower Sri Lankan MSMEs with digital payments



Leading online payment gateway, WEBXPAY announced a milestone partnership with Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to significantly expand access to digital payments for Sri Lankan Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

The DFAT Partnership for Recovery is part of a series aimed at promoting regional economic recovery. Leveraging WEBXPAY’s ground-breaking payment gateway and integrated e-commerce solutions, the initiative aims to empower MSMEs across the island to plug in and benefit from Sri Lanka’s burgeoning digital ecosystem, with a special emphasis on gender and social inclusion.

“We are pleased to partner with WEBXPAY, to aid small and medium sized businesses in Sri Lanka, including women led enterprises, to have access to a safe and convenient way to accept card and mobile payments from domestic and international consumers.

“In addition to strengthening their financial and digital literacy skills, this partnership will also support MSMEs to continue to trade through the pandemic by taking their businesses online. It will also help them be more competitive in the digital economy in future. By supporting MSMEs to formally register, develop their online presence and plan promotions they can better sustain their business operations and be resilient to economic shocks,” Australian Deputy High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Amanda Jewell said.

By supporting small business to accept cashless payments and take their enterprises online, WEBXPAY and DFAT aim to support a rapid revitalisation of Sri Lanka’s rural economies that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help to increase MSMEs’ incomes by reaching existing and new customers – and even export their products – all whilst strengthening their financial and digital literacy.

Throughout the programme, WEBXPAY will provide support the MSMEs to formally register, develop their online business and plan promotions to sustain the business. As a result, MSMEs will be able to track online sales, generate payment links, and maintain a database of their customers on the platform.

“The MSME sector touches the lives of every Sri Lankan. These enterprises are what keep the grassroots of our economy alive, but over the past year, most have faced a period of extreme difficulty. We are therefore grateful to the Australian Government and its people for not simply extending a much needed helping hand, but also doing so in a manner that could potentially lead to a new era of sustainable, grassroots-led economic growth,” WEBXPAY CEO & Founder Omar Sahib said.

Sahib noted that while traditional business models suffered, Sri Lankan e-commerce and online businesses have flourished during the pandemic. However, these opportunities have largely been confined to Colombo, the Western Province and a few other urban centers. Given their lack of experience and expertise with these new modes of business, rural MSMEs have usually been cut off from the ability to monetise on the surging demand for online services.

Sri Lanka’s MSME’s account for more than 90% of the total establishments in the country, in addition to being the source of 45% of all employment and accounting for 52% of GDP. However, the majority of these MSMEs are informal businesses. As a result, they tend to be reliant on daily cash-based sales and often lack planning and management skills. During the pandemic, this has led to an unprecedented disruption in daily operations.

Over the duration of the programme, WEBXPAY will also be carefully monitoring and researching the impact of these initiatives with a particular focus on its effectiveness in improving standards of living for rural communities, while also creating tangible positive benefits at a macroeconomic scale. In addition to creating new job opportunities and helping to eradicate unemployment in rural Sri Lanka, the programme will also measure its impact in terms of supporting financially independent female entrepreneurs. Additionally, the programme’s digital-first approach is also expected to help reduce carbon-emissions while promoting vibrant grassroots economic growth.

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‘Rekindle Happiness with New Experiences’ this Season with Nations Trust Bank American Express



The season of joy comes early for Nations Trust Bank American Express Cardmembers, with the ‘Rekindle Happiness with New Experiences’ campaign. Cardmembers will receive amazing benefits and savings from over 300 merchants island-wide, across all categories online and offline, all the way to 31st December 2021.

The time spent with loved ones during this season of togetherness and sharing will be a gift in itself. Nations Trust Bank American Express launched the seasonal campaign with the hope of bringing new life to the season of happiness and merriment. With the countless benefits and privileges, the campaign will allow loyal Cardmembers to celebrate this season in style with memories for the ages.

The offers for Cardmembers come from a wide range of categories including but not limited to Clothing, Gifting, Hampers, Dining, Hotel stays, Supermarkets, and Automobiles.  Niluka Gunatilake, Head of Cards at Nations Trust Bank stated, “It’s that time of the year when everybody looks forward to the year-end cheer and festivities. Particularly, after coming out of several lockdowns, we are all excited for the upcoming festive season. Nations Trust Bank American Express is delighted to present seasonal benefits and privileges for our Cardmembers to celebrate this season of giving, sharing and joy! They can look forward to a rewarding season with a plethora of offers as we partner with leading retail establishments, dining partners, hotels & resorts. We invite our Cardmembers make use of the benefits and privileges and have a wonderful season to rekindle happiness with new experiences.”

Nations Trust Bank American Express invites cardmembers to enjoy the festivities and find out more about the benefits and privileges offered this season by visiting The Bank strongly advises Cardmembers to adhere to all health and safety guidelines issued by the Government whilst they enjoy their seasonal shopping, dining and lodging.

Nations Trust Bank PLC is among the top 15 business establishments in Sri Lanka as ranked by Business Today. Stemming from its vision of “helping people and businesses by providing financial services and information to achieve their goals and aspirations in a sustainable way”, the Bank serves a diverse range of customers across both individual and corporate, with an enviable portfolio of banking and financial products and services. Strongly focused on digital empowerment through cutting-edge digital banking technologies, the Bank is a pioneer in many innovative customer centric banking solutions such as extended banking hours, and FriMi – Sri Lanka’s first digital banking experience. Delivering premium value, service and connecting its Card Members to rewarding experiences and opportunities Nations Trust Bank PLC is an issuer and sole acquirer of American Express Cards in Sri Lanka. The Bank operates 96 branches across the country and has an ATM network covering 127 locations and 48 Cash Deposit & Withdrawal Machines, plus more than 3,700 ATMs on the Lanka Pay Network.

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Airtel’s network expansion to amplify island-wide 4G coverage



Airtel Lanka, a subsidiary of international telecom giant Bharti Airtel Limited, recently revealed its plans to strategically expand its new 4G network across the island.

As such, over 400 new 4G sites are being commissioned across the country, which is in addition to the 2,000 plus 4G sites Airtel added during the launch of its 4G.

The new 4G sites are mapped out to ensure enhanced capacity in highly populated areas and coverage penetration into rural regions. Airtel’s 4G network is built on a triple layer network, which gives it a solid combination of coverage and capacity to deliver a superior experience with drastically improved indoor coverage with stronger signal penetration.

Having already completed over a third of the newly planned 4G sites, the finished sites are estimated to cover over an additional one million of the population. A prominent cause for the company to expedite its expansion drive was the two-fold increase in data usage since the pandemic brought along a new normal.

“I am certain that our rapid expansion strategy will directly benefit our consumers across the island, giving them a refreshed and enhanced network experience through our world-class 4G capabilities. Until adequate or even excess coverage is obtained, we will continue our 4G expansion drive, with every location also being 5G-ready to seamlessly accommodate the next generation of network when the time comes,” commented Airtel Lanka CEO/MD Ashish Chandra.

Through this drive, Airtel users will be given the opportunity to enjoy a network experience unlike ever before. As Airtel is also equipped with a refreshed prepaid and postpaid model with the recent launch of ‘Freedom Packs’, the launch of Airtel 4G is the telco’s single largest investment in Sri Lanka since its entry into the island in 2009. The purpose-built 4G network promises users a superior user experience including 99% buffer-free streaming, noticeably quicker loading times and improved indoor coverage with 4G signals that never fail.

From online learning to work-from-home to virtual socialising, every user from children to adults will be able to benefit from not having to face any more call drops, interruptions or coverage issues.

In addition to the company led expansion of amplifying coverage island wide, Airtel’s joint venture with the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka’s (TRCSL) Gamata Sanniwedanaya aims to achieve 100% island wide coverage by 2022 by bridging the digital gap in rural districts with poor network coverage, by providing equal access to mobile connectivity for all Sri Lankans.

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HNB hails Sri Lanka Paralympic heroes as an inspiration to new generation of athletes



(front row) HNB DGM –Retail & SME Banking, Sanjay Wijemanne (third from left), HNB MD/CEO, Jonathan Alles (fifth from left), HNB Chief Transformation Officer /DGM, L. Chiranthi Cooray (fifth from right) and HNB AGM and HNB Sports Club President Hisham Ally (second from right) with Paralympic Bronze medallist, Samitha Dulan Kodithuwakku (second from right) and Paralympic Gold medallist, Dinesh Herath (fourth from left) and National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Sri Lanka Honorary President, Lieutenant Colonel Deepal Herath (fourth from right) together with the Sri Lankan Paralympic team, coaches and officials.

Sri Lanka’s very first Olympic Gold Medallist together with the Bronze medallist and participant delegation to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, resonated a vibrant and inspirational example to new generation athletes and youth of the country, at a felicitation ceremony organized by the country’s leading private bank, HNB.

Recognising their outstanding performances – which included securing Gold and Bronze medals and establishing a new world record – HNB’s Sustainability Foundation presented plaques and cash rewards to the award winning athletes, coaches and officials who were part of the delegation.

The felicitation ceremony, held at HNB Towers, the Bank’s head office was attended by HNB Managing Director /CEO – Jonathan Alles, Chief Transformation Officer/DGM – L Chiranthi Cooray, Deputy General Manager –Retail & SME Banking – Sanjay Wijemanne and HNB Sports Club President/AGM Hisham Ally, as well as National Paralympic Committee (NPC) of Sri Lanka Honorary President, Lieutenant Colonel Deepal Herath and other officials.

“You have scaled mountains that others only dream of conquering,” HNB Managing Director/CEO, Jonathan Alles said, congratulating the members of the delegation. “We, at HNB draw inspiration from your achievements and hope that the country’s youth and new generation of athletes too will do the same. Sports can help develop qualities which are essential for organizations, particularly teamwork and the country will benefit from youth taking a greater interest in sports activities.”

The highlight of the event was the felicitation of Dinesh Herath – who won Gold in Men’s Javelin Throw F46 – and Samitha Dulan Kodithuwakku – the Bronze medallist in the Men’s Javelin Throw F64. Herath is also the first Sri Lankan to win an Olympic or Paralympic Gold and set a new world record in his event.

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