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Asgi Akbarally appointed Amãna Bank chairman

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Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally has been appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amãna Bank upon the retirement of the Bank’s Founder chairman Osman Kassim. Leaving a strong legacy in the Islamic banking industry in Sri Lanka, Osman Kassim retired from Amãna Bank having completed the maximum 9 year statutory period of holding a directorship in a Licensed Commercial Bank as per CBSL directions. Despite retiring from the bank, Osman Kassim continues to be one of the bank’s top 10 shareholders.

Asgi Akbarally joined the Board of Amãna Bank in July 2020 as the nominee director from Akbar Brothers, taking over the position vacated by Tyeab Akbarally, who also retired upon completing the maximum 9 years of directorship as per CBSL regulations.

Asgi Akbarally is an Executive Director of Akbar Brothers (Pvt) Ltd, one of Sri Lanka’s largest diversified corporates, globally renowned for its tea exports. Asgi Akbarally holds directorship in multiple subsidiaries and affiliates of the Akbar Group covering sectors such as Manufacturing, Property Development, Hotels & Leisure, Healthcare, Power Generation, Packaging & Printing, Logistics and Environmental Services. He is the Managing Director of Renewgen (Pvt) Ltd and chairman of Windforce (Pvt) Ltd, Hermitage Resorts (Pvt) Ltd, Uthurumaafaru Holding (Pvt) Ltd Maldives, Lhaviyani Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and Cocoon Investments (Pvt) Ltd Maldives. He is also a director of Alumex PLC.

Asgi Akbarrally is currently the Honorary Consul of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordon. He holds a BSc Degree in Industrial Engineering from the California State University and is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Certified Professional Managers. A classic car enthusiast, Asgi Akbarally has authored a coffee table book on “Classic and Vintage Automobiles of Ceylon” and is the Patron of the Classic Car Club of Ceylon.

Commenting on his retirement and appointment of the new Chairman, the Bank’s outgoing Chairman Osman Kassim said “Serving Amãna Bank as its Chairman since inception has been a great honour, specially seeing firsthand how the Bank has grown amidst various challenges to where it stands today. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my fellow retiring directors Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail who completed the regulatory tenure of 9 years in 2020. They have been great pillars of strength to the Bank since its formation. I am happy to welcome Asgi Akbarally to take over the stewardship of the Bank. It is heartening to know that Asgi, whose business acumen and experience gained through building and guiding a homegrown company to become a world renowned tea brand, will be leading the Bank’s forward journey. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the other Board Members, CEO Mohamed Azmeer, the Management Committee and Staff of the Bank for their continuous contribution, dedication and commitment towards the Bank’s growth and wish them all the best in taking Amãna Bank to greater heights.”

Also sharing his views newly appointed Chairman Asgi Akbarally said “Amãna Bank will be truly indebted for the visionary thinking and guidance of its Founder Chairman Osman Kassim. Stepping in to fill this void will be no easy task, but I am thankful for the foundation laid, from which we eagerly look forward to build upon to achieve the Bank’s strategic goals and continue making our ‘People Friendly’ banking model available for all Sri Lankans with wider reach and accessibility.”

With the recent changes, Amãna Bank Board of Directors constitute as follows : Ali Asghar (Asgi) Akbarally(Chairman), Rajiv Nandlal Dvivedi, Pradeep Dilshan Rajeeva Hettiaratchi, Aaron Russell-Davison, Mohammed Ataur Rahman Chowdhury, Syed Muhammed Asim and Khairul Muzamel Perera bin Abdullah.

Amana Bank PLC is a stand-alone institution licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange with Jeddah based IsDB Group being the principal shareholder having a 29.97% shareholding of the Bank. The IsDB Group is a ‘AAA’ rated (S&P, Moody’s & Fitch) multilateral development financial institution with a membership of 57 countries. In June 2020 Fitch Ratings Sri Lanka declared an upward revision of the National Long Term Rating of Amãna Bank to BB+(lka) with a Stable Outlook.

Amãna Bank does not have any subsidiaries, associates or affiliated institutions, other than its unique flagship CSR venture, the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.  Retiring directors Osman Kassim, Tyeab Akbarally, Harsha Amarasekera and Jazri Magdon Ismail will continue to serve as trustees on the ‘OrphanCare’ Trust.


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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka

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SLT-Mobitel, the nation’s ICT and Telecommunications Service Provider recently partnered with Spotify, to mark their launch in Sri Lanka. Spotify is a paid premium music streaming app which allows subscribers to listen to music to their hearts content. Both, SLT-Mobitel Post-Paid and Pre-Paid customers will now be able to enjoy Spotify by activating a monthly recurring subscription or one-time subscription plan and access unlimited music streaming and downloading facilities.

The subscription charges will get added to the user’s customary billing, where payment will be deducted in real time. Starting from the payment date, the user will be able to access Spotify and download their favourite songs, for the next 30 days. Users who sign up for their first monthly subscription will receive an additional one month, courtesy of Spotify. The one-month subscription plan is not applicable with one-time subscription plans. SLT-Mobitel data rates, depending on the user’s respective broadband charges, will apply.

Spotify also has some exciting features that will provide SLT-Mobitel customers with the opportunity to listen to ad-free music, access millions of uninterrupted music under one platform, play any song they like, anywhere they go, and also be able to enjoy their music offline.

SLT-Mobitel customers can select their preferred premium package under four categories; Individual, Duo, Family, Student. Each category has recurring and non-recurring plans. After one month of free streaming, the package will activate once the offer period terminates. While both, the Individual and Student premiums are limited to one account user, the Duo package offers two accounts and the Family premium is accessible through six accounts. To view Spotify plans, users can log on to https://spoti.fi/3aLWvce

 

 

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Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor

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by Sanath Nanayakkare

Anyone conversant with the elements of a political economy would know that Sri Lanka is using its ‘sovereign power’ to manage the different dynamics of the economy in a sustainable manner, Professor W. D Lakshman Governor of the Central Bank said on Wednesday.

“Some critics are saying that we adopt a so-called modern monetary theory. That’s not the case. In fact, Sri Lanka is using its sovereign power in a number of economic aspects to honour its external debt repayment commitments as well as to reduce its debt burden in the medium term as well as achieve resilient growth in the medium to long term, he said.

“We make policy decisions to boost our gross foreign reserves, meet our external debt servicing, to facilitate monetary expansion, to boost our GDP growth, to strengthen our current account balance and manage our domestic and external economic variables in a sustainable manner. This is not a modern monetary theory. This is an age-old tool used by central banks around the world when the circumstances demand it, he said.

“Certain trade-offs will be necessary when dealing with an economy which has a big fiscal gap to bridge. There are efforts to push Sri Lanka towards the IMF again which would in turn have influence on our policymaking. We have taken policy measures to stabilize the economy and we have adequate reserve levels to meet our debt repayments. Meanwhile, we are in negotiations with overseas central banks and multilateral agencies to further boost our reserve level and it would materialise within a matter of weeks,” he noted.

“One of the tools the Central Bank has introduced is in respect of repatriation of export proceeds into Sri Lanka and conversion of such proceeds into Sri Lankan rupees in order to strengthen the foreign exchange situation of the country,” he said.

The Governor made these remarks while delivering the keynote speech at a webinar organised by the Veemansa Initiative led by its Managing Director Luxman Siriwardene – the former Executive Director of Pathfinder Foundation.

The webinar revolved round the topic ‘External debt situation in Sri Lanka: Are we heading for a resolution or crisis?’

Professor Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage, Dr. Nishan de Mel and Dr. Ravi Liyanage were the other speakers on the panel.

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CSE on the rebound; indices close positive

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

CSE produced signs of a rebound yesterday with both indices closing positive, though turnover remained low. Central Bank Governor W.D Lakshman’s recent statement on managing foreign reserves gave some boost to the market yesterday, stock market analysts said.

 The index experienced a zigzag movement within the early hours of trading; thereafter, it recorded a slight up-trend as it reached its intraday high of 7,439. Later, the market witnessed a down-trend at mid-day, followed by a sideways movement and closed at 7,372, gaining 43 points during the month of February, market sources said. 

It is said the banking sector dominated turnover with a contribution of considerable  parcel trades in Sampath Bank, Commercial Bank  and HNB.

Further, the Commercial Bank’s impressive quarterly results during the recent turbulent period also built investor  confidence. Commercial Bank was able to register a18 percent net interest income when other banks were reporting a decline. Its share price increased by Rs. 3 or 3.5 percent. On the previous day, its shares started trading at Rs. 85 and at the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 88. Due to the positive growth results, the bank announced a Rs. 4.40 dividend per share, plus a Rs. 2 script divergent for every share.

Further,  Sampath Bank shares also appreciated in both crossing and retail. In crossings its shares appreciated by Rs. 1.At the end of the day they moved up to Rs. 154.50. In the retail market, its shares moved up by Rs. 2 or 1.3 percent. Previously, its shares fetched Rs. 154 and at the end of yesterday they moved up to Rs. 156.  

Amid those developments, both indices moved upwards. The All Share Price Index went up by 104.48 points and S and P SL20 rose by 67.78 points. Turnover stood at Rs. 3 billion with four crossings. Those crossings were reported in Sampath Bank, where 3.9 million shares crossed for Rs. 602.2 million, its share price being Rs. 154.50, HNB 375,000 shares crossed for Rs. 39.4 million, its shares traded at Rs. 105, Pan Asia Power 9.5 million shares crossed for Rs. 33.2 million, its shares traded at Rs. 3.50 and Access Engineering 1.2 million shares crossed for Rs. 28.2 million; its shares traded at Rs. 24.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Expolanka Rs. 450 million (10 million shares traded), JKH Rs. 205 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs. 199 million (34.9 million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs. 191 million (1.2 million shares traded) and Dipped Products Rs. 137.7 million (2.8 million shares traded). During the day 101 million share volumes changed hands in 18046 transactions. 

During the day, Expolanka, the biggest contributor to the turnover, saw its share price appreciating by Rs. 6.20 or 15 percent. Its share price quoted on the previous day was Rs. 41 and at the end of trading yesterday it moved up to Rs. 47.

Sri Lanka’s rupee quoted wider at 193.50/195.50 levels to the US dollar in the spot next market on Thursday while bond yields remained unchanged, dealers said. The rupee last closed in the spot market at 194.50/195.00 to the dollar on Wednesday.

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