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State Minister/Finance Eran Wickramaratne lays red carpet for investors

Posted on 02 June 2017 by admin

 


 01

  • Follows Mangala in wooing private sector 
  • Ranawaka calls on foreign investors to support Megapolis Project
  • Ravi K assures signed and sealed projects have State protection

 By Charumini de Silva

Newly sworn-in State Finance Minister Eran Wickremaratne on Wednesday wooed existing and potential foreign and local investors, inviting them to benefit from new business opportunities in Sri Lanka by banking on sound macroeconomics, fiscal management and a strategic geographical location.

Wickremaratne appeared to be on the same page as Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, who during the inauguration pledged to pursue trade agreements with a commitment to Sri Lankan interests and pledged to work with industry stakeholders. 

Wickramaratne closely mirrored this message at the packed ‘Sri Lanka Investment & Business Conclave 2017: Growth through Partnerships’, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in Colombo.

“We are doing things to basically liberalise the economy, take it forward with more investor friendly policies,” he added.

In terms of sectors, he said tourism, education, manufacturing, BPO/KPO and logistics had a tremendous investment scope while noting that agriculture and fisheries were underinvested areas.

Noting that Sri Lanka has 12 export processing zones (EPZ) across the island, Wickremaratne noted the way forward was to create more zones  under a public-private partnership basis which not only allows foreign investors manufacturing opportunities but also allows them to partner in the zone as well.

He said Colombo will be one of the most liveable cities in South Asia which is cleaner, orderly and comfortable where lifestyles can be enjoyed. “Relocation, head offices, regional offices — I think in Sri Lanka there is a wonderful opportunity.”

The Minister also said that leading economies like China and India have recognised the strategic location of Sri Lanka to be a great logistics hub in this part of the world, whether it is in the air or sea.

Furthermore, he stated that if foreign investors were planning to expand into knowledge-based areas there were sufficient professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and accountants in Sri Lanka as the country boasts of the most literate workforce in the region.

Commenting on the booming tourism sector, Wickremaratne said there is tremendous potential to develop ancillary services. “Tourism is not just hotels but recreation, theme parks and ancillary services.  There is a lot of scope there and Sri Lanka is open for it.”

While the Government aims to be the most competitive economy in the South Asian region, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka emphasised the urgency to boost the country’s economy with proper investments in physical, social and economic infrastructure.

In this context, he said the strategic policy framework of the Government would primarily revolve around key elements of strengthening governance, equitable economic growth and infrastructure development and improving competitiveness.

 “Foreign investment is an important element in Sri Lanka’s economic growth. A liberal and reformist investment climate, fast-growing economy, fast implementation of infrastructure network, global and local political recognition, strategic location and a transparent system of procurement are the positive factors which suggest that the investor community will consider Sri Lanka for investment,” Ranawaka added.

He called on foreign investors to support Colombo’s Megapolis Project and to be a part of the development process of the country.

Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake assured that once the investment projects were signed and sealed they would not be taken away despite governmental changes.

“One thing we will guarantee it is that this is rock solid. What is given will be never be taken. That is the level of consistency, coherency we can give to foreign investors,” he added.

Karunanayake said the new foreign policy is basically commercial diplomacy that is brought in to ensure Sri Lanka pushes its exports from the current $ 11 billion to $ 20 billion with product and market diversification.

“I am sure with the motivation that we put into our local and foreign investors, we will be able to see a much more robust approach before too long,” he stressed.

 

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Bank Of Ceylon Chairman To Be Removed Over Shady Deal

Posted on 25 December 2016 by admin


by Sujith Mangala de Silva – Courtesy: The Sunday Leader

The Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) is likely to be removed from his post over a shady deal which had caught the attention of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Bank of Ceylon Chairman Roland C. Perera and several others are to be removed from their posts over the sale of Seylan Bank shares owned by BOC. The sale of the Seylan Bank shares by BOC was reversed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week after it was found that proper procedure was not followed.

BOC had sold 13 million shares of Seylan Bank to a Japanese buyer.

An inquiry has been launched to see if the deal was part of a bigger financial fraud. The deal had taken place without the knowledge of the President, Prime Minister and Finance Minister.

BOC Employees’ Union President S. P. Jayaratne said that deals of this nature must be conducted with the approval of the President, Prime Minister, Finance Minister or subject Minister Kabir Hashim as the BOC is a government owned institution.

The government owns 22.5 per cent of Seylan shares while the remaining shares are owned by the BOC and Sri Lanka Insurance.

The sale of the BOC shares reduces the stake the government has on Seylan Bank.

Sources said that the BOC has not been earning the expected profits under the current management and this has been of concern to the government.

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Nanda Fernando is MD at Sampath Bank

Posted on 13 September 2016 by admin

 

 

Nanda Fernando

 

Sampath Bank has appointed Nanda Fernando as its new Managing Director. Fernando was the Chief Operating Officer, prior to this appointment.

With a banking career that spans 35 years, he also function as a Director of SC Securities, a subsidiary of the Sampath Group of Companies.Having dynamically contributed to the strengthening of Sampath Bank for almost 29 years, his appointment as the new Managing Director will see the application of multidisciplinary competencies to further establish the Bank as a benchmark financial institution in Sri Lanka.

An Associate member of the Institute of Bankers in Sri Lanka, he possesses a Master’s Degree in Business Administration specialiszing in Marketing.

He is also a qualified Four Bead Leader Trainer and a past District Commissioner of the Sri Lanka Scouts’ Association. 

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Visa opens up branch in Sri Lanka to boost electronic payments

Posted on 25 August 2016 by admin

L to R - Anthony Watson, Country Manager, Sri Lanka, Visa_ Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa and T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa

L to R – Anthony Watson, Country Manager, Sri Lanka, Visa_ Chris Clark, Group Executive, Asia Pacific, Visa and T.R. Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, India and South Asia, Visa

Aug 25, 2016 (LBO) – A global leader in payments technology, Visa today announced the opening of a local office in Colombo and the appointment of Anthony Watson as the Country Manager for Sri Lanka.

Visa has been present in Sri Lanka since 1989 and has consolidated its position as a market leader.

Speaking at the media briefing Group Executive of Visa Asia Pacific, Chris Clark said the payments industry is undergoing a rapid change with new technologies and innovations changing the way people pay and get paid.

“Visa is at the forefront of this change collaborating with financial institutions, merchants, governments, startups and developers across the world to create the commerce experiences of the future,” he said.

“We value the long standing relationship we already have with our clients and partners in Sri Lanka and are excited about the future, to bring new innovations to Sri Lanka.”

Speaking at the event Group Country Manager of Visa India and South Asia T.R. Ramachandran said Sri Lanka is a priority market for Visa in South Asia and one where we see tremendous opportunity for the growth of electronic payments.

He said by establishing a local office and appointing an in-market country manager we’ll be better positioned to support our clients, partners and merchants to realize this growth and deliver the benefits of electronic payments to consumers and businesses across the country.

Visa Country Manager Anthony Watson said he is going to focus on growing the electronification of commerce as we transition cash payments to electronic payments across the country.

“In doing so, we will be providing Sri Lankan people with easier and more secure access to their funds, supporting local businesses to grow, encouraging tourism and helping to stimulate economic growth,”

“I’m excited to be on the ground here in Sri Lanka and I’m looking forward to working closely with our clients, businesses and the Sri Lankan government to achieve this vision,”

“I am both honored and excited to be establishing Visa’s office in Sri Lanka as I believe electronic payments can have a truly profound impact on both the people of Sri Lanka and the country’s economy.”

Watson has been associated with Visa since 2009, joining as the Senior Client Relationship Manager handling Visa Processing services in Australia and New Zealand.

In 2011, he moved to Visa’s Singapore office to lead the prepaid product development and infrastructure across Asia Pacific and then headed the Product Development & Strategy for the same region, before his appointment as Country Manager Sri Lanka.

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments.

It operates one of the world’s most advanced processing networks VisaNet which is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants.

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Once again, BOC among World’s Top 1000 Banks and ranked No. 1 in Sri Lanka

Posted on 20 July 2016 by admin

 


UK magazine ‘The Banker’ revealed Bank of Ceylon as the No. 1 Bank in Sri Lanka among the World’s Top 1000 Banks in its July 2016 issue. Untitled-1

BOC has won many accolades and recognition in the recent past including the title ‘Strongest Bank’ in the country given by ‘Asian Banker’ for the strength of its 2015 balance sheet, the Gold Award as the winner of the National Business Excellence Awards Ceremony and being named the ‘No. 1 Brand in the Country’ for the eighth consecutive time.  It was able to reach its second trillion by gaining Rs. 1 trillion deposits in 2016. 

The first trillion in assets was achieved in 2012 and BOC is set to reach its third trillion in the near future. Breaking its own record set by its 2014 profit before tax of Rs. 20.3 billion, it earned the highest-ever profit made by a single Sri Lankan business entity, which is Rs. 25.3 billion PBT in 2015. This was a 25% growth over the previous year. 

BOC owns a strong balance sheet comprising robust savings deposits in both local and foreign currencies and currently holds the largest foreign currency deposit base. Based on the Stable Outlook of the Bank, Fitch Rating Lanka ranked the Bank of Ceylon at AA+ (lka), which is the highest rating awarded to a local commercial bank and ICRA (lk) awarded it an AAA rating, which is the highest credit quality rating issued by ICRA Lanka.

With nearly 77 years of trust and stability in the Sri Lankan banking industry, the Bank of Ceylon has led the industry, shaping its landscapes on par with the international banking industry.  

‘The Banker’ is one of the premier banking and finance magazines in the world and has been so since its inception in 1926. The benchmark Top 1000 Banks list has been compiled by the ‘The Banker’ since 1970. Its database holds comprehensive financial data, news feeds and executive contact data on the leading banks in every country and its ranking sets the industry standard for measuring bank performance and strength.       

“Being able to hold the title as the leading Sri Lankan bank in the World’s Top 1000 Banks list is truly a privilege and an honour. As always we have moved forward on a steadfast track as an exemplary bank in the country’s financial industry. It is my duty to thank all our stakeholders including our customers and the Government of Sri Lanka at this juncture for encouraging us throughout these years to reach such heights,” stated BOC Chairman, State Counsel Ronald C. Perera.   

“We have been always driven by the motive of bringing the best out through every task we carry out as the leading bank in the country. It is my duty to thank my committed staff for all their hard work that was put in to get achievements such as this,” stated BOC General Manager D.M. Gunasekera. 

BOC has understood that it has to go beyond mere multichannel strategies to approach today’s customer and to deliver the service they expect. Therefore it has developed more agile operating models that are customer-centric and provide profound solutions for all our customers coming from all walks of life. 

With the expansion in banking services it enriched its network connecting all branches and all other customer touch points through a single system at the end of 2004, enabling customers to transact through any branch seamlessly. 

Adding much sophistication, BOC began its ‘transformation’ process in 2014 to deliver a best-in-class banking service to its customers. Under this project the bank has established state-of-the-art branches to extend its services to its customers. 

BOC introduced the ‘SmartZone’ concept in selected branches across the country, enabling its customers to enjoy 24-hour access to banking services. These SmartZones consist of cash deposit machines that enable the customer to deposit, transfer or withdraw money at any time. 

Addressing the social need of sophisticated and secure digital channels for banking, BOC upgraded its online banking facility along with its newest feature ‘SmartGen,’ where the traditional passbook has been replaced through emails and SMS alerts and also enabling the customer to walk into any BOC branch without producing identification to transact as the customer image is stored in the centralised system at the time of opening the account. 

Being more customer-centric, BOC opened up its Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter accounts, enabling its customers to approach and feel the bank more closely.   

As of today, BOC’s local market reach consists of 626 branches, 15 SME centres and 550 ATMs and CDMs which are spread throughout the country and currently serve customers ranging from individuals from all walks of life to corporate businesses. 

BOC is the Sri Lankan bank which pioneered the penetration of the international market. It has branches in Chennai, Male and Seychelles and a banking subsidiary in London which was established in 1949. It also has representatives in several countries, especially those in which many Sri Lankans work as expatriates.

BOC has also built a foreign correspondent banking network with over 860 foreign banks and exchange houses. The commitment and dedication BOC has shown towards its country and people over these years have made it truly the ‘Bankers to the Nation’.

Courtesy: DailyFT (Sri Lanka)

Daily FT

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