Nov 282013
Middle-income status may push private sector for pension schemes: Cabraal
Sri Lanka’s private sector may have to look at models for superannuation and pension schemes in order to cope with the changing macroeconomic fundamentals, as Sri Lanka moves towards the middle-income country status, according to Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

“It is now time for all companies to realize that they will have to move into superannuation schemes a lot more seriously than they have done in the past.

We are in an era in our country where you will see interest rates coming down as a result of inflation moderating. We are looking at macro conditions that will ensure that inflation will stay in single digits, so interest rates will be much lower than what we’re used to,” Cabraal stated.

Delivering an address at the recently held Best Corporate Citizen Awards, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Cabraal warned that the time of depositing funds in finance companies and banks alone would no longer be sufficient to maintain a viable pension fund for Sri Lanka’s retirees.

“In such a situation, we will now have to look very carefully at what our pension products and superannuation schemes are going to be because the time when you could just put money into finance companies and banks may not be as attractive as it once was in the past.

When looking at employee relations, companies should also reflect on the new trends that the economy is taking and prepare themselves for these new trends in Sri Lanka’s economy,” Cabraal cautioned.

He added that the Sri Lankan corporate sector must also extend a holistic approach in employee and customer relations, as part of the efforts towards becoming responsible corporate citizens.

“Companies must look at the inherent manner in which they deal with employees and customers. We brought a customer charter for the banks and many embraced it willingly and they embraced it as part of the transition to a new level of development and service.

Companies also must tell their employees, customers and the public what their benchmarks are. It’s always a good thing to talk about your values and make sure the employees abide by those values as well, while also being conscious of their responsibility to be sensitive to religious, ethnic and national practices,” Cabraal advised.

“Sri Lanka’s success in the economic field has largely been achieved without damaging the environment of our country. Today, we recognize companies for their contribution to the people, planet and profit. All three are equally important. All of you are in the field for profit but these are highly interconnected ideas. The more we realize this, the more we will respect the role of the three Ps,” he noted.

Nov 082013
CCC urges businesses to make use of CBF
The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) to be held from November 12 to 14 in Colombo within the ambit of CHOGM, would definitely provide the Sri Lankan businesses the prospect of harnessing new as well as expanding their existing business dealings to a greater level, a media statement by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) stated.

It further said that for the 600 local businessmen accredited to participate in the CBF, it is the most opportune networking forum in their own home country, which the participants should strive to reap maximum benefit from.

There are over 500 overseas senior businessmen who have registered to participate at the CBF.

“This is definitely an excellent progressive step to being facilitated with exposure to a large number of international top businessmen to assist further economic development within individual Organisations as well as at a national level”.

All accredited local participants will be issued their accreditation badges this weekend – Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November – which could be collected from the CHOGM secretariat at the BMICH.

Each of the participants has also been provided with a web-address along with an access password, through which they would have access to all the registered overseas Delegates at CBF.

This is to facilitate the local and overseas Delegates to make their own business appointments, prior to meeting at the CBF. Any Delegate who has not received this access code and password may contact the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Oct 022013
Hemas appoints two new independent directors

Hemas Holdings PLC yesterday announced the appointment of two top professionals, Dr. Anura Ekanayake and Dinesh Weerakkody, as independent directors to its board.
Dr Anura Ekanayake is a past Chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and a former Chairman of Industrial Association of Sri Lanka and of the International Natural Rubber Council based in Kuala Lumpur.
He has had an illustrious career in the public service as a Senior Economist of the Mahaweli Authority, Director on the Boards of the State Plantation Corporation and JEDB, Director of Planning to the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Director General of the Ministry of Public Administration.
He continues to serve as a member of the Governing Board of the Institute of Policy Studies and is a Member of the Sovereign Rating Advisory Committee of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
A Fellow of the Institute of Certified Professional Managers, he has a B.A. (Hons) and M.Sc (Agriculture) from the University of Peradeniya, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the Australian National University.
He currently serves on the boards of several listed and private companies.
The current Chairman of Commercial Bank, a former Chairman/CEO of the Employees’ Trust Fund Board of Sri Lanka and a Director of DFCC Bank 2003-2011,  Weerakkody serves and has served in a number of government and private sector boards. He is also a Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka Chapter.
During a long and illustrious career, Weerakkody was also Advisor to the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka from 2002-2004 and has served in many Cabinet Sub-Committees and national level committees on Economic Affairs, International Affairs and Labour Management.
A Graduate in Business Administration, an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants United Kingdom, Fellow Member of the Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka, and Professional Member of the Singapore Human Resource Institute, he obtained an MBA from the University of Leicester, England.

Jul 312013
Ceylon Chamber lauds govt’s ‘free ports’ initiative
Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has welcomed the initiative by the government to declare Sri Lanka’s four main ports, Colombo, Hambantota, Trincomalee and Galle as ‘free ports’.

“The Chamber welcomes this initiative to declare Colombo and Hambantota as free ports and Katunayake, Koggala and Mirijjawila Export Processing Zones and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport as bonded warehouses with significant tax concessions being offered for stipulated investments, subject to achieving defined export targets,” a CCC statement said.

It further stated that the CCC has always stood for the need to increase Sri Lanka’s exports and make Sri Lanka an export-centric nation to sustain a high growth momentum.

The statement also noted that time and again the chamber has highlighted the facilitation support required from the government to encourage exports.

 “We believe that this initiative lays the foundation for a paradigm shift in our economy to boost investments and exports, at a time when the Asian giants China, India and Japan are actively exploring opportunities to invest in Sri Lanka for varying reasons,” it said.

The declaration entitles enterprises which are 65 percent foreign-owned and operating through the specified areas for wide tax exemptions, including provisions under the Customs Ordinance and Exchange Control Act.

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