Central Bank of Sri Lanka (C.B.S.L.) from last month has
stopped circulating figures such as banks’ non
performing loan (n.p.l.) growth, growth or retardation
in bank credit and deposits, industry sources told The
C.B.S.L. last circulated these statistics upto May 31,
2009. C.B.S.L. Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal was not
immediately available for comment.
C.B.S.L. used to circulate these statistics to bank
C.E.O.s, it showed that n.p.l.s. had risen from Rs. 100
billion (a 5% n.p.l. ratio) as at end December 2008 to
Rs. 125 billion (7.2% n.p.l. ratio) by end March 2009,
and to Rs. 140 billion (9% n.p.l. ratio) by end May
2009, a 40% increase in bad loans in the five months to
end May 2009. Previously these figures used to be
circulated among bank C.E.O.s in their monthly meetings
with C.B.S.L. officers to discuss issues pertaining to
the industry, they said. But since July they have
stopped issuing these details in black and white other
than reading out such figures, for those interested, to
jot them down at these monthly meetings, the sources
however said that banks’ had not protested to C.B.S.L.
in regard to the stoppage of such information.
Previously such data was not made available at these
monthly meetings, but then C.B.S.L. began to introduce
these statistics, however now they have withdrawn this
facility, they said.
sources said that according to available figures, banks’
n.p.l.s were still in the region of over 8%, and they
expected the year to end with those percentages
unchanged, hovering in the region of between 8-9%.
also said that there was no decline in banks’ parate
executions in order to recover monies lent to borrowers
that had gone past due or bad.
Sluggish credit growth is also a contributory factor to
the rise in n.p.l.s because n.p.l.s are shown as a
percentage of banks’ total loan portfolio, they said.
sources however said that credit growth which was in the
–2% range as at end June 2009 vis-à-vis end December
2008, had turned to +1% by end July 2009 compared to
its end December 2008 figure, primarily due to the fall
in lending rates which has boosted credit growth.
however said that credit growth last year was 10% year
Average prime lending rates which were in the region of
18% at the beginning of the year has since come down to
14%, the sources said.
According to available statistics, the banking industry,
in the first six months of this year showed that credit
growth dipped by 2% to Rs. 1.603 trillion compared to a
Rs. 1.638 trillion figure as at end December 2008.
However deposits in the period under review had grown by
9% to Rs. 2.042 trillion.
Kirmali Fernando, C.E.O./Director PAB Bank’s resignation
was sudden, a staff member told The Sunday Leader.
Fernando, whose resignation will be effective from next
month is currently on leave. Claude Peiris, a senior
D.G.M. of the Bank has been appointed as acting C.E.O.
Fernando was not immediately available for comment.
Fernando who was formerly at Standard Chartered Bank (S.C.B.)
has filed an affidavit against C.E.O. S.C.B. Colombo
Clive Haswell on the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation
Preliminary investigations carried out by the Securities
and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) on a director of a blue
chip company for alleged insider trading, has found him
guiltless of such a deed, an informed source told The
Keells Holding Plc (JKH) Deputy Chairman and Nations
Trust Bank Plc (N.T.B.) Chairman Ajit Gunewardene is
being investigated by S.E.C. for alleged insider trading
in regard to the sale of a million shares of N.T.B.
under his personal portfolio at prices of between Rs.
34-35 a share, a few weeks before the Bank, in June of
this year made a foreign exchange (forex) loss of Rs.
800 million in trading involving the Great Britain Pound
(G.B.P.) due to its alleged fall in value from Rs. 204 a
unit to Rs. 135.
Gunewardene made a disclosure of this share trade, and
in any case it was done before the forex loss. Anyway
investigations are still on, the source said.
together with a subsidiary has a 29.9% stake in N.T.B.
and, cumulatively is its single largest shareholder.
N.T.B. closed the week at Rs. 30.50 a share.
Leisure sector to take-off
companies now need to be equipped with that capacity for
larger investments now that the was is over, a director
Keells Holding Plc (JKH) Deputy Chairman Ajit
Gunewardene speaking at a C.E.O. forum on Tuesday said
that in the past we may have had been happy investing in
a hotel once in five years, but now we may have to be
prepared to invest in eight hotels at once as it were,
Gunewardene said that the end of the 30 year old
conflict has brought a paradigm shift in the way
business is being done. The near U.S. $ one billion
inflow to the Government bond market recently is proof
of that, he said.
days of exchange and interest rates volatility are now
over, Gunewardene said.
thinking should now be focused on integrated real estate
development, encompassing hotels, townships, et al, and
not on standalone entities, he said.
Gunewardene said that the war end has not only brought
about the need for huge amounts of capital for
investment, but also the need to find people with the
required skills set such as accountants as well as
people with other skills sets, needed to exploit the new
opportunities for investment that has been made
available. That’s where human resource development comes
into the fore, he said.
Gunewarene believed that the property market would
take-off in another two years time.
question is whether local companies are ready to compete
with the multinationals who would now be eyeing the
country as an investment destination, particularly in
the leisure sector,” he said.
Tapping $ trillion market
Islamic finance has to be looked at in the context of
attracting new investments while not harming
governments’ revenue streams, a promoter said.
Darshan Bijur (42) who heads KPMG U.K.’s Islamic Finance
Department told The Sunday Leader that having enabling
legislation to promote Islamic Finance unleashes the
potential to dip into a U.S.$ one trillion market, of
which Sukuk or Islamic Bonds are valued as a US$ 100
Admitting that the Islamic financial market is very
small compared to the conventional financial market, he
however said that UK realized the potential of Islamic
finance six years ago in 2003 by first allowing an
Islamic bank to be set-up.
a beef eating Hindu originally from Bombay, but now a
U.K. citizen said that as of now, the U.K. has passed
90% of enabling legislation to allow for Islamic finance
to be fully operational. The process since 2003 has
however been slow, admitted Bijur.
is because of pressure from certain extremist political
groups. Extremist political groups are found even in
that part of the world, he said.
London. and not New York is the world’s financial
centre, added Bijur.
was partly political, 5% of U.K.’s population are
Muslim, that’s how Islamic finance was allowed to gain
entry into the U.K. market,” said Bijur. “But it also
shows that U.K. is an inclusive society,” he said.
it was pointed out that 7% of Sri Lanka’s population is
Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank and the Citi
Group, who are also represented in Sri Lanka, are
players in Islamic finance, Bijur added.
further said that after the U.S. Government, a Saudi and
the Kuwaiti government are the second and third biggest
shareholders of Citi Group.
U.S. Government has a 35% stake, the Saudi (7-8%) and
the Kuwaiti government (4-5%), he said.
Tourism and the Plantation sector are natural avenues
for investment here, said Bijur. He however contended
the garment sector of being of low value and complicated
to be attractive for investment.
further said that they were working with the revenue
authorities in the U.K. to ensure that there is no
revenue loss to the exchequer as a result of the
introduction of Islamic finance.
“Lawyers and accountants are always looking for
loopholes which could be exploited in this connection,”
he said. Bijur further said that the basic difference in
Islamic finance is its profit sharing outlook as opposed
to seeking interest in conventional finance. “Having
enabling legislation opens a whole gamut of funds which
would otherwise not be available for investment,” said
Besides it’s a basic human right to allow a sector of
the population to practise a type of finance which they
thinks is right, he said.
Arabs made a lot of money in the recent oil boom when
oil went up from U.S.$ 15 a barrel to U.S. $ 147 a
barrel in the last five years, said Bijur. Of course it
has since come down, but it’s hovering at the U.S. $ 75
levels currently, he said.
moneys they made in the first oil boom of 1973 are
peanuts compared to the money they made in the last five
years, contended Bijur. It’s that market that is open to
be tapped if Sri Lanka has the right legislation in
place for Islamic finance, said Bijur.
said that officers from their local office in Colombo
are at present talking to Central Bank of Sri Lanka
officials in a move to have such legislation in place.
however admitted that in South Asia, apart from Pakistan
which practises Islamic finance, that too in bits and
pieces, no other country in the region has enabling
legislation to allow for Islamic finance.
However in the South East Asian region, Malaysia is a
strong player in Islamic finance, with countries such as
Indonesia and Singapore catching up. In fact Malaysian
law gives an unfair advantage for Islamic finance over
that of conventional finance said, Bijur.
are not asking for that, all that we are asking is for a
level playing so that Islamic finance could be allowed
to be practiced in the island,” he said.
instance as mortgages are anathema according to Sharia
or Islamic law by its very nature of charging interest,
a legal system should be put in place that there should
be no capital gains tax or stamp duty when there is a
buy back arrangement under Islamic finance whether it be
a property or a car, or some such object, as leasing, as
a way to circumvent mortgaging, in buying or in buy back
of such items are permissible under Islamic law, said
Infrastructure development is the need of the hour for
Sri Lanka, an Islamic finance is a conduit to provide
funds for such, added Bijur, who has been talking to
Arab investors of investment opportunities in Sri Lanka
in general. The Arabs got their fingers burnt due to the
recent financial crisis, said Bijur. So now they are
looking at emerging markets, he said.
from Islamic finance for those Arabs and Muslims who
practise it, other reforms too are needed in the Sri
Lankan context, to win the confidence of the Arabs such
as laws that are transparent, progressive and fair, just
like in the West, he said.
war end has opened new opportunities for investment,
continued Bijur. “In fact my insurer, at the middle of
this month, lowered the high risk tag that was
applicable to Sri Lanka to that of medium risk, a rating
that is applicable to that of India as well,” said Bijur.
However, at the height of the war, with “ L.T.T.E.
planes and ships”’ in action, the rating on the island
was even worse, being categorized as a country of
extreme risk, he said. But the U.S.A., U.K. and
countries in the Continent have a low risk tag attached
to them as far as travel insurance is concerned, Bijur
hundred and fifty thousand sit for the Advanced level
exam annually of whom 120,000 obtain the required marks
to gain university entry, but, due to capacity
constraints only 20,000 are finally admitted in.-Trade
Minister Bandula Gunawardena speaking at the Institute
of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka
Graduation ceremony on Monday.
Unlock Chinese, Indian markets
leisure industry should take greater efforts to exploit
the burgeoning Chinese and Indian tourism markets, an
official told The Sunday Leader.
Gunawardena (46), C.E.O. SriLankan, the national
airline, whose fortunes are intrinsically linked with
the island’s leisure industry said that the Sri Lanka
Conventions Bureau has successfully tapped the Indian
market for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and
Exhibitions, but the same could not be said about the
Indian upper middle class still do their shopping in
Malaysia and Singapore, efforts should be made to win
that market now that the war is over, he said. Similarly
Hong Kong, the gateway to South China, should be tapped
to get the Chinese to visit here, he said.
the Chinese, Maldives is their honeymoon destination.
They use the airline to fly them to the archipelago,
efforts should be made to win these tourists to
Colombo,” Gunawardena said.
thrice weekly flies to Beijing, located North of China.
airline together with Sri Lanka Tourism, and with
assistance from the Chinese Government sent a number of
tour guides to China to learn Chinese languages such as
Mandarin on a six months study course. These guides
returned to the island recently.
“Chinese speaking tour guides and Chinese restaurants
are essential prerequisites to woo the Chinese tourist,”
airline which made a Rs. 10 billion loss in the
financial year end March 31, 2009, made a further Rs.
two billion loss in the first quarter ended June 30,
However Gunawardena expected the airline to break even
in the current quarter and continue in the same vein, if
not do better in the remaining two quarters because of
the war end.
attributed these losses to rise in oil prices, coupled
with flagging demand due to the global recession, plus
the intensity of the war at that time. “But the Tamilian
diaspora is slowly returning, and so are those
essentially Sri Lankan Tamilians now living abroad who
have invested in properties here, but stayed away due to
the intensity of the war in the last couple of years.
They are however coming down to check on their
investments now that the war is over, Gunawardena said.
airline has implemented a number of cost cutting
measures to tide over the financial crisis such as
retrenchment of staff in its overseas operations,
offering no pay leave for its local staff and the senior
management taking a two day pay cut per month, which
also includes Gunawardena.
expects these cost saving methods, implemented from June
’09, to yield a U.S.$ 10 million saving for the airline
on an annualized basis. It has also rationalized its
could afford to retrench my overseas staff because they
are covered by social security, but I couldn’t do that
to my local staff because there is no such safety net
available here,” he said. The airline has some 4,800
Despite all of these vicissitudes I have not asked the
Government Treasury for a single cent to tide over the
crisis, said Gunawardena.
Gunawardena who has been in the airline since 1982 said
that before the disastrous July 1983 riots the country
received a then record 417,000 tourist arrivals. “It
took us two decades to equal that target because of the
events that followed after July ’83,” he said.
war end has however triggered positive signals from the
Indian and European markets, said Gunawardena. “I now
have an 85% load factor, this winter is looking good as
far as the European market is concerned,” he said.
Mihin Air nexus, Gunawardena said that the only
connection is that both entities share the same chairman
and that SriLankan has wet leased (i.e. inclusive of the
cockpit crew) an A 320 aircraft to the same for U.S. $
five million for which SriLankan has received cash
upfront. This lease expires in December. “We will be
making a modest profit from this deal,” said Gunawardena.
Tragi-comedy at SLI
allegedly reigned recently when an EGM was called at Sri
Lanka Insurance (SLI), apparently without proper
consultation with its main shareholder which is the
Government Treasury that has an over 90% stake in SLI.
The rest of the shares are held by SLI employees who
constitute a minority shareholding group in the company.
meeting was initiated by SLI Chairman Pradeep
Kariyawasam in regard to the change of a clause
governing the articles of this Government of Sri Lanka
owned company, which sources alleged was not that
are a number or “irritants” in SLI’s articles that needs
to be changed. It would have had been better if all of
those issues were taken at once without trying to change
them piecemeal, informed sources told The Sunday Leader.
Treasury had allegedly instructed SLI Chairman to cancel
the meeting, but it was too late as the notices had been
sent out and no notices attempting to cancel were sent.
meeting got underway as planned with Treasury Secretary
Sumith Abeysingha allegedly not pleased about it.
Shareholders wished to find out if they could sell their
shares. Yes said the Chairman. At what price? they
asked. At the price quoted at the Colombo Stock Exchange
(C.S.E.), Kariyawasam had allegedly replied. They then
asked about the dividends and who sets that. Kariyawasam
had allegedly said that it was from the Treasury.
however clarified that the shares can be sold but that
negotiations will have to be done with the Treasury. He
had to also retract his statement that the C.S.E. would
give them the price as SLI shares are not quoted on the
C.S.E. He had to also admitted that it was the Board who
sets the dividend payout.
episode demonstrates the woes that have infected SLI.
English for Jaffna
will build a bridge across the Jaffna lagoon where the
contractor will be Mabey & Johnson Ltd.
proposed bridge at Sangupiddy on the A32 spans over the
Mahadeva Causeway, which links Sangupiddy and Jaffna.
This causeway was originally built in July 1932. Total
length of the superstructure is 288 metres and will be a
7 span bridge.
To-date three flyovers have been completed, two in
Kelaniya, one in Nugegoda and one is on-going in
Dehiwela. Twenty-three rural bridges have been launched
in various parts of the island.
British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes who recently
visited the peninsula also announced U.K.’s commitment
to supporting English Language Training for teachers in
Jaffna through the British Council.
said, “While bridges are a physical means of connecting
Jaffna to the rest of Sri Lanka; English language
training provides opportunities for connecting the
people of Jaffna to the wider world.
English Language Training (E.L.T.) project will train 15
teacher trainers who will then cascade this knowledge to
over 150 teachers in Jaffna. This project is supported
by the Bilateral Programme Fund of the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office “which strives to enrich relations
between U.K. and Sri Lanka.”
project is implemented by the British Council and is
supported by the Education Ministry and the National
Institute of Education through regional English support
centres and Zonal education officers.
W.a.y.s to fall
Treasury (T) Bill yields continued to stagnate for the
second week running at Wednesday’s primary auction, but
market sources expected yields to fall at this week’s
auction due to the unexpected impetus received from the
U.S.$ 900 million inflow into the T Bond market
Weighted average yields (W.a.y.s) fetched at Wednesday’s
primary T Bill auction were 10.57%, 11.43% and 11.98%
for T Bills of 91, 182 and 364 day maturities
respectively. But similar maturities, i.e. those
maturing early next year and late next year were giving
yields of 11½ and 12% respectively in secondary market
trading, they told The Sunday Leader. Because of this
mismatch, investors were expected to go after the longer
tenure at this week’s primary T Bill auction, with this
demand pressure forcing to bring down yields of the
longer tenure, they said.
Standard and Poor’s lifting Sri Lanka’s rating from
negative to stable on Tuesday had a salutary effect on
the secondary T Bond market, with yields on the two
popular Bonds, i.e. T Bonds of 2011 and 2013 maturities
falling by 10 and five basis points (b.p.s) to register
yields of 12.35% and 12.80% respectively on Wednesday
over that of the previous day’s yields. On Thursday,
2012 maturing Bonds fell by five b.p.s. over that of
Wednesday’s to be trading at 12.75%, with the 2012 and
2013 falling by a further five b,p.s. each to be
commanding yields of 12.70% and 12.75% respectively on
Friday over that of the previous day’s figures.
Bill w.a.y.s since the beginning of this year has fallen
by around 800 b.p.s and T Bond rates, which were a high
of 20%, have also come down sharply,” they said.
such it’s difficult for yields to come down further
because of the expected North-Eastern construction works
which will need a lot of money. As such pressure on
rates will continue because of this Government of Sri
Lanka (G.o.S.L.) need, the sources said.
Further, a number of pensioners live on the interest
they get on their savings. But prices have not come down
correspondingly. All these are negative factors as far
as bringing down rates are concerned because these
people live on the interests they get from their
deposits, they said.
Inflation, as measured by the point to point change in
the C.C.P.I. too has bottomed-out, they said. That too
does not help to bring down rates.
Inflation as measured by the point to point change in
the C.C.P.I. last month was 1.1% and the annual moving
Probably another influx of U.S.$ 900 million to the
Government Bond market, like the recent inflow, might
however help to bring down rates, the sources said. An
I.M.F. conditionality, in their U.S.$ 2.6 billion
standby arrangement to G.o.S.L.is that reserves need to
be upped to a minimum of U.S. $ 3.5 billion before they
could be expended. Reserves, which at one time had
fallen to U.S.$ 1.2 billion, has since climbed-up to
U.S.$ 3.9 billion.
reserves are a conduit to attract investments, the
the foreign exchange market, G.o.S.L. continued to
defend the U.S. dollar by buying them at Rs. 114.80 per
unit, thereby preventing the greenback from falling.
Foreign holdings up 3,100%
Foreign Treasury Bond holdings increased by 3,100% week
on week to Rs. 112,530 million in the week ended
Wednesday, mainly on account of the nearly U.S. one
billion inflow to the bond market recently.
stock market also reacted positively to these events,
witnessing investor activity across the board on Friday,
i.e. retailers, high networth individuals, institutions
and foreigners actively pursuing stocks.
benchmark A.S.I. gained by 3.1% week on week (w.o.w.) to
2,601.50; while the more sensitive M.P.I. gained by 4%
to 2,964.49 in the week ended Friday. Daily average
turnover in the period under review increased by 81.2%
w.ow. to Rs. 685 million.
However net foreign outflows w.o.w. increased by 60.4%
to Rs. 126.2 million.
number of articles in this newspaper as well as in
others carry stories these days of banks and other
financial institutions expanding their presence in the
country’s Northern and Eastern Provinces.
are making their physical presence felt in those areas
by opening branches, to seize the financial
opportunities that have sprung up as a result of the
liberation of the North and East from the clutches of
terrorism after 26 long years.
hard headed bankers and players in the financial
services sector, they know that the 280,000 refugees
currently living in camps in the North due to the
screening and demining requirements not being completed
as yet, will, naturally, not stay in those camps for
than later they will return to their homes in the Wanni
once the screening and the demining processes are over,
and will start to get on with their lives.
the interim, their family members overseas, mainly in
the West and in Australasia will be remitting them
monies, primarily through acceptable lines of channel,
i.e. through the banking system, to help them with their
day to day affairs
refugees are not beggars by any long chalk. In fact
Dialog has established a telecoms tower in at least one
of those refugee camps, knowing fully well the
commercial benefits of such an investment and the
presence of financial institutions in those areas show
that they are reaping the rich dividends of remittances
and savings of those peoples..
funds for rehabilitation and reconstruction works and
investments into irrigation, agriculture, fisheries,
tourism, education, health, roads, highways, water and
power and such like are obtained for the North and East
(NE), it will open a new vista of development in the
country, last seen during the accelerated Mahaweli
project that created the Victoria, Randenigala, Rantembe,
Maduru Oya and Kotmale hydro-electric power projects,
nearly three decades ago.
Government appears confident of obtaining the necessary
monies for such development works in the NE from China
and India, the new economic powerhouses, a banker told
this reporter, when senior bankers had a meeting with
the President several weeks ago.
Mahaweli and the development and economic growth that
went therewith as a result, was because of aid from the
West, and the new wave of development that is expected
to be unleashed on the island, is apparently going to be
driven by the East, according to the Government.
Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, together
with the Uva, are the three poorest provinces in the
the NE together are mainly dominated by the minority
Tamils, who form the overwhelming majority population in
the North, the Uva however is largely dominated by the
majority Sinhala population of this island.
peace after 26 years of conflict has created a complete
paradigm shift in the country, creating opportunities
for development and progress, right throughout the
length and breadth of this island, and not just confined
to one or two corners only.
the likes of Lal de Alwis, President of the National
Chamber of Commerce telling this reporter that the world
is coming out of recession, he therefore seemed to think
that the country’s tourism industry, long shackled by
the 26 year old terrorist war, thankfully now passed,
will take-off next year.
the Government being cash strapped, and thereby not
being able to help this sector financially, the need now
is to attract foreign investments into this theatre.
High bank interest rates in the local context are also
not conducive to attract domestic investments into this
the Cinnovation Group controlled by a Nepali investor,
leading the way, by eyeing Hayleys’ stakes in all but
one of the hotels which are jointly run by the
Hayleys-Jetwing partnership, now reaching its end, after
an innings spanning 18 years, is an eye-opener that the
way forward is to provide easy access for foreign
investments into this sector.
opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector need no
golden beaches, mountains, streams and rivers, jungles
and its historic places, not least its friendly peoples,
encapsulated in so small an area, all makes this island
to be an attractive place for tourism.
Government and B.o.I assistance, to help the private
sector to fully exploit this industry, is the need now.
island’s foreign missions too should be sounded to give
its wholehearted support to this industry, not only for
tourism promotion, but also to attract investments into
this sector here.
World Bank (W.B.) in a presentation made on the
country’s education sector on August 19, said that the
war used to shave off 2-3% of the country’s G.D.P.
the war end has positioned the economy to take-off, let
not this opportunity be lost.
regard to this W.B. seminar on education, a Government
official speaking at this event, appeared to belittle
the importance of English.
Asoka Hewage, Director Bilingual Education, National
Institute of Education, imputed that a wholly English
education to the children of this island would create
misfits, with a number of such educated, ending up being
of mentally unsound minds.
is typical of that proverbial “frog in the well.” While
the rest of the countries in South Asia, knowing the
importance of English, is giving it pride of place in
their schools’ curricula, Hewage however appeared to
belittle the importance of English at that seminar.
Singapore develop by giving pride of place to the
Chinese languages? The majority of Singapore’s
population is of Chinese origin.
she thinks that Singapore is an unequal comparison
because of its smallness, both geographically as well as
population wise compared to Sri Lanka, she should look
at Malaysia, which, despite all of its not too
pro-Western noises, which were quite pronounced when
Mahathir Mohamed was Premier, has still made English
compulsory in their schools.
country is wealthier, Sri Lanka or Malaysia?
narrow minded thinking by educationists such as Hewage
are allowed to dominate the country’s education sector,
Sri Lanka will be forever wallowing in the mud, while
the rest of the world surges forward, the peace dividend
being of no consequence.
Expands to Jaffna
Extending its footprint and consolidating its efforts to
serve all Sri Lankans, Sampath Bank recently opened its
Jaffna branch office. The first banking house, hitherto
unrepresented in Jaffna, to enter the Peninsula since
the conclusion of the war, the Sampath Bank branch is
located in Jaffna town, where, with the exception of the
three most senior staff who possess regional experience,
the bank is exclusively staffed by qualified local
residents and offers customers a varied and
comprehensive banking service.
Products and financial services include savings
accounts, business and personal current accounts, fixed
deposits with higher interest rates, foreign currency
accounts, personal and housing loans and leasing
facilities. The bank will also offer special gift
schemes and rewards for customers that open savings
accounts and fixed deposits within the first month of
Sampath Bank Marketing & Deposits Assistant General
Manager Tharaka Ranwala said, “The opening of this new
branch office is part of Sampath Bank’s efforts to
achieve a national presence by extending our services to
all parts of the island, and also to follow to the
fullest the President’s vision of Uthuru Wasanthaya. By
becoming the first bank to enter the Jaffna Peninsula
since the conflict end, Sampath Bank hopes to assist in
empowering the people by rebuilding livelihoods and
stimulating development in the region. Prior to the
start of operations, bank representatives met with local
business and community stakeholders in order to ensure
that we provide customised banking solutions that
support the growth of our clients.
Keeping food fresh long
Leading the LG Health Plus range of products is the
innovative Green Ion Door Cooling Refrigerator which has
been designed to keep food fresh longer, retain natural
proteins and vitamins and preserve the taste of food,
keeping all the goodness intact.
Genuine “Door Cooling System” for which only LG has an
international patent, has vents on the interior door
panel as well as the sides of the cabinet which allow
cool air to be replenished faster every time the fridge
is opened and closed. This speeds up the cooling process
and shuts off the compressor quicker with huge
reinforce its already efficient energy saving and
innovative Door Cooling Refrigerator, LG has introduced
another unique feature for retaining enhanced food
freshness. Green Ion Technology uses a ventilation
system coated in catechins, a green tea extract, to
deodorize the refrigerator. This combined with a
negative ion generator kills food-spoiling bacteria and
fungi, effectively resulting in 5.7 times less fungi
after seven days compared to conventional models. The
green catechins keep food fresh two and a half times
longer than normal fridges. Catechin is directly
extracted from green tea leaf and is non-toxic and of
natural antibiotic substance which is not harmful to
human beings. Catechin is known to slow the process of
ageing and is effective in restraining the spoiling of
understands the importance for you to get the best value
from your food and the best value for your money and
have developed cutting-edge technology to make your
refrigerator help you achieve these goals. LG’s Smart
Compartment Technology with Anti-Bacteria Seal prevents
moulds entering and spoiling the food. The seal which
acts as a shield to keep food healthy and hygienic is
located in the gasket which is washable. The Cell Fresh
Crisper is designed to control the moisture level of
fruits and vegetables to retain freshness and strengthen
Health Plus range of products, designed to provide
greater comfort and convenience and save more time and
energy consists of many more unique products such as
inverter air conditioners, steam washing machines, dish
washers, microwaves, in-built appliances and ovens which
could be viewed at Abans showrooms islandwide, now
available on interest free easy payment terms to suit
Chandula to Washington
National Bank (H.N.B.) Marketing & Retail Banking Deputy
General Manager and Banking With the Poor Network (BWTP)
and Lanka Financial Services for Underserved Settlements
(LFSUS, UNHABITAT project) Chairman Chandula
Abeywickrema will speak on Microfinance at the Global
Youth Enterprise Conference to be held from September
29-30 at George Washington University, Washington D.C.
Sense International (M.S.I.), a global leader in linking
youth to microfinance is organising this conference.
conference will focus on the nearly 1.5 bn., world youth
population, where nearly 90% live in developing
this year Abeywickrema was also invited to speak at the
Asian Development Banking Institution, at a conference
organised by the Asian Bankers Association with the
Alliance for Financial Inclusion on commercial banks’
role in creating access to people at the bottom of the
pyramid in Tokyo in March 2009 and also at the South
East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) Research and Training
Centre at the 5th SEACEN/ABAC/ABA/PECC Public-Private
Dialogue for the Asia Pacific Region in Bangkok on post
crisis capacity building, promoting financial inclusion
and lending to SMEs which was held from July 27- 28.
year Abeywickrema was invited by the Harvard Business
School to speak at the Harvard Asia Conference on
financial inclusion and the role that technology can
play in creating access to the people at the bottom of
the pyramid. He was also invited to the Wilton Park
conference in London as a special invitee speaker on the
theme financing low income housing and the role of
Another first by the leader
Telekom is the first company in Sri Lanka to be People
Capability Maturity Model (PCMM) Level III certified,
and now joins the league of top companies practicing
People-CMM across the globe such as Wipro, Tata
Consultancy Services, Citibank and Ericsson to name a
few from the regional and global arena.
recent achievement reinforces Dialog’s continued
commitment to develop and enhance skills and
capabilities of its service personnel.
is an organisational change model developed by Carnegie
Mellon University’s Software Engineering Institute.
Dialog received certification at Maturity Level III for
demonstrated compliance with international standard by
way of establishing and maintaining best practices with
respect to the management and development of its
workforce in the sphere of service delivery.
Telekom Group Chief Customer Officer Group Service
Delivery Ms. Sandra De Zoysa said: “We are honoured to
have been granted PCMM Level 3 Standard for Human
Capital Development best practices in the field of
service delivery. This recognition goes to demonstrate
the skill and competency of our service team. I’m
confident that Dialog’s service team is second to none
and People-CMM along with the many international awards
they have won goes to prove that Sri Lankan service
delivery professionals are among the best in the region.
Our focus on best practice has been driven by our desire
and commitment to deliver a world class service
experience to our valued customers.”
$ 500,000 aid for fisheries
Spanish Government has provided funding of US$ 521,799
for the implementation of a project titled ‘Minimum
standards for fish handling and reduced post-harvest
losses in selected tsunami affected communities’ in Sri
is in response to the need for quality improvement of
fish handling and the reduction of post harvest losses.
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry sought the
assistance of FAO in this regard. This will be
implemented over a 12 month period that began in June
2009 by the Ministry, Fisheries Department and Ceylon
Fishery Harbours Corporation, while FAO provides
operational and technical support.
Higher education gateway
Institute of Vocational Studies (Pvt) Ltd., (IVS)
Dalugama,Kelaniya was formed to fill the aspirations of
youngsters going abroad for their studies.
sendd students to Bangladesh, India, UK and Singapore,
giving opportunities to study medicine, engineering,
(computer, electronics, mechanical, telecoms and
chemical), business management, accounts, hotel
management, English and social science.
speciality of this institution is that its charges are
relatively lower than that of other such institutions.
gives the chance to study in Bangalore University, Rajiv
Gandhi University (Affiliated PESIT Institute), NRI
Institute India, Sambhram University of Science and
Technology Bangladesh and Rayat London College
affiliated to Wales university UK, ERC College, Auston
Institute and FTMS Global Singapore.
Managing. Director Mrs. Vijitha Mallika Senanayake is a
Lumumba University graduate. Her experience as a
student of a foreign university has greatly influenced
in starting her institute to give the same knowledge and
education to Sri Lankan students too.