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Coca-Cola installs mega rooftop solar panels in green energy drive

Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd (CCBSL) successfully installed one of the largest single location rooftop solar projects in Sri Lanka at its facility in Biyagama, as part of the company’s pledge towards sourcing renewable energy, and combating climate change through the reduction of its carbon footprint by approximately 1.94 Mt per annum.

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Apple overtakes Amazon to become world’s most valuable brand, while Tesla is the fastest-growing

Apple has overtaken Amazon to become the world’s most valuable brand for the first time in five years, according to a global report.
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Mymed partners with Keells to provide enhanced healthcare services to the public

With a pioneering vision to provide timely and trusted prescription medication service to the Sri Lankan public, Mymed.lk has become an essential part of peoples' lives in the face of a pandemic.

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LOLC Finance introduces credit card for pensioners and state sector employees

LOLC Finance – Sri Lanka’s largest Non-Banking Financial Institution (NBFI), has introduced a credit card named 'Savi', exclusively designed for pensioners and state sector employees across Sri Lanka.

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Dialog Axiata Powers The ‘Top 50’ Professional and Career Women Awards by WIM

As an avid supporter of bridging gender disparities whilst empowering women in the workforce, Dialog Axiata PLC (Dialog), Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider joined hands as Platinum Sponsor on the 10th anniversary of WIM’s (Women in Management) foremost annual event the ‘Top 50’ Professional and Career Women Awards, to recognize and celebrate individual and corporate achievements of trailblazing women leaders in Sri Lanka for the year 2020.

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'Market Access Assistance' initiative for companies facing funding issues

Sri Lankan companies have not been able to harness maximum benefits of a state sponsored Market Access Assistance programme designed to empower entrepreneurs due to lack of funding, an Auditor General's recent report has revealed.
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Sri Lankan Airlines and BMICH join hands towards MICE tourism sustenance

Sri Lankan Airlines together with the country’s premier meeting, events, and function hosting venue BMICH, have come together to promote MICE tourism in Sri Lanka.

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Central Bank eases restrictions of discretionary payments by licensed banks.

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has eased the restriction of discretionary payments including payment of cash dividends by licensed banks.

The monetary authority has reassessed the restrictions, and on 19 January 2021 permitted licensed banks to pay cash dividends and repatriate profits after completion of the audit of the financial statements for the year 2020.  

When deciding payment of cash dividends and repatriation of profits for the year 2020, licenced banks are expected to consider assets growth, business expansion and the impact from COVID-19 pandemic, CB said in a media release.  

Further, licensed banks were required to refrain from engaging in share buybacks and increasing non-essential expenditure, while exercising extreme due diligence and prudence when incurring capital expenditure until 30 June 2021.

Deteriorating asset quality and the associated higher credit costs are expected to keep banks’ profitability lower in 2021 than pre-2019 levels, despite improvement from 2020 profitability.CB said.

Previously, the Central Bank, on 13 May 2020 decided to restrict certain discretionary payments of licensed banks, such as declaring cash dividends and repatriation of profits, engaging in share buy backs, increasing management allowances and payments to the Board of Directors until 31 December 2020 with a view to strengthening the liquidity and capital positions of licensed banks under exceptional circumstances amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banks are emerging largely unhurt from the pandemic due to regulatory forbearance measures on capital and liquidity, moratoria, leniency on recognising loss provisions and large amounts of liquidity made available for on-lend as well as to backstop borrowers from defaulting.

However, the Central Bank called on licensed banks to take into account capital requirements under Basel III, expected asset growth, business expansion and the impact of the pandemic when deciding on the payment of the cash dividend.

“Licensed Commercial Banks shall also refrain till 30 June 2021 from buying back its own shares, increasing management allowances and payments to Board of Directors, exercise prudence and refrain to the extent possible from incurring non-essential expenditure such as advertising, promotions, gift schemes, entertainment, sponsorships, travelling and training.”

The circular also insisted banks exercise due diligence and prudence when incurring any capital expenditure.

Fitch ratings in a special report titled ‘Sri Lanka Banks Report Card 2020’, released in December warned sluggish economic activity, external and domestic vulnerabilities, muted private credit growth and the sovereign’s weakened credit profile are significant downside risks to the operating environment for Sri Lankan banks.

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Techwire Lanka clinches awards at ‘National ICT Awards – NBQSA 2020’

The National Best Quality Software Awards (NBQSA) Provides recognition to the outstanding achievement of individuals and organizations in Sri Lanka that have developed high-quality ICT products.

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‘PinTheBiz’ from Softlogic Life – to promote Sri Lanka’s struggling small businesses

Using an innovative approach to support small businesses around the country, Sri Lanka's fastest growing life insurance provider Softlogic Life, has launched a disruptive thought-provoking campaign, 'Pinthebiz'. The campaign encapsulates Softlogic Life's deep commitment to enhance the wellbeing and quality of life of all Sri Lankans by embracing and utilizing technology to innovate disruptive solutions.

'PinTheBiz' calls upon the support and cooperation of all Sri Lankans to help promote small businesses that they patronize, by spreading the word and recommending goods or services that they have consumed and sharing positive feedback. All they have to do is to visit 'PinTheBiz.lk' and submit the pin location/address, shop category, shop name and a contact number of businesses of their choice. Users can also submit entries by sending an SMS with the text 'SME' to 1312, to receive a text message with a link to the PinTheBiz website. If an individual does not own a smartphone, they also have the alternative option of sending their submissions via an SMS to 1312, with the text 'HELP', upon which they will be contacted via telephone by a support center representative. All entries that are submitted will be tagged by PinTheBiz and mapped on Google Maps.

These business listings will then be accessible to the public by Googling the phrase 'PinTheBiz shops near me' to receive a curated list of shops in their near vicinity. The initiative hopefully will drive more customers to these small businesses and is expected to spur a strong spirit of community, where every purchase made will support the livelihoods of millions of our own country's people. The highly engaging initiative comes at a time of a global pandemic that has deeply impacted over a million local SME’s and in turn the livelihoods of a massive proportion of individuals and families in the country.

"Small businesses are at the heart of our communities and the key to millions of jobs. The COVID-19' pandemic has unfortunately had a crippling effect on the country's economy, in particular SME's. The proposition of PinTheBiz is to put our best foot forward to inspire all Sri Lankans to help those who are trying hard and support their local businesses at a time when they need it the most.” Softlogic Life Managing Director, Iftikar Ahamed stated.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up a significant part of Sri Lanka’s economy, with over one million SMEs accounting for approximately 75 percent of all businesses. These are found in all sectors of the economy and are estimated to contribute about 45 percent of total employment in Sri Lanka.

"SMEs are the backbone of the economy in terms of business potential, sustainable growth, employment, and technological innovation. They contribute nearly 45% of total employment opportunities to the country. It is imperative to do our utmost to support these resilient entrepreneurs to continue their operations and maintain livelihoods as well. As always, Softlogic Life continues to leverage the power of technology to accelerate growth and fuel innovation in our journey towards enhancing the quality of life for all Sri Lankan's. Therefore, the 'PinTheBiz' campaign will provide a platform for people to not only engage with us but to actively be part of this cause," Ahamed continued to state.

According to a recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the COVID-19' pandemic left a massive two-thirds of SMEs in the country reporting a decrease in demand for their products or services, while almost three-quarters reported decreased sales, with companies in the agriculture, manufacturing and construction sectors hit the hardest, followed by the services sector. Eight out of ten SMEs experienced difficulties meeting operating expenses and had some shortfall in debt repayment or ability to meet financial obligations due to COVID-19.

As Sri Lanka’s fastest-growing life insurer, Softlogic Life is known to have led many industry-first initiatives through a blend of creativity and disruptive innovation such as one day claims settlement, worldwide cashless hospital settlement product integrating more than 60 local hospitals, offering Life insurance via mobile through a partnership with Dialog Axiata PLC a completely paperless digital underwriting solution, and a bundle of digital first initiatives to elevate the standards of Sri Lanka by bringing together world-class solutions that improve the experience of insurance for our customers .

The company’s unwavering commitment to the Sri Lankan people has seen it reach over a million Sri Lankan lives insured through an exceptional portfolio of innovative life insurance solutions at the right time and the right place where people needed them the most. Their latest initiative is testament to Softlogic Life’s commitment to enhance the lives of all Sri Lankans, by fostering indelible growth and economic resilience within the nation.
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FCCISL set for the 24th Sri Lankan Enterprenuer of the Year Awards

The grand finale of the Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year Awards - 2019  will be  held on 4th of March 2021 at BMICH (Main Hall) from 3.00 pm – 6.00 pm subject to health regulations of the Ministry of Health, the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) said.

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Colombo Dockyard to build a high tech vessel for Orange Marine of France

The Government of France has pledged to continue its assistance to further bilateral business and explore new avenues for business cooperation with Sri Lanka.

This assurance was given by Ambassador of France in Sri Lanka Eric Lavertu, when he visited the Colombo Dockyard PLC recently.    

Colombo Dockyard PLC is engaged in the construction of a high technology vessel for Orange Marine of France.

The vessel is especially designed and equipped for sub-sea cable lay and repair operation duties worldwide.

As the leader of the shipbuilding industry in Sri Lanka, Colombo Dockyard continuously proves its excellence through successful securing and execution of shipbuilding projects worldwide and is one of the front runners of Sri Lankan industrialisation.

It operates in joint collaboration with Onomichi Dockyard Company – Japan, who owns a stake of 51% of Colombo Dockyard PLC.

The Ambassador undertook this visit as part of the recent contract inked between the Colombo Dockyard and Orange Marine – France.

The Colombo Dockyard paid a tribute to Ambassador Eric Lavertu, State Minister Jayantha Samaraweera and the Economic Counsellor for their support extended in view to the finalisation of the contractual documents under special approval in November 2020.

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