by Sanath Nanayakkare
The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID), cementing a relationship with Institutes of Directors (IODs) of India, Singapore and Malaysia and building good contacts and rapport with IODs of the United Kingdom and Australia, is planning to give more from its popular Board Leadership Training Programme to future corporate leaders in Sri Lanka.
SLID Chairman A.R Rasiah made this observation at Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo on Wednesday at the SLID Annual Membership Meeting (AMM) held with full in-person attendance, ensuring adherence to the guidelines set out by the health authorities.
The 8th AMM unanimously re-elected all office-bearers including Council Members to represent the interests of the Institute and achieve its desired outcomes amid unprecedented challenges in the year ahead.
Many high-profile corporate leaders, directors and professionals attended the event where Fabrice Cavallin, Managing Director of Nestle Lanka was the chief guest.
The AMM re-elected office bearers- A. R Rasiah, Chairman, M.O.F. Salieh, Senior Vice Chairman, Ms. Aroshi Nanayakkara, Vice Chairperson, M. P. Jayawardena, Immediate Past Chairman and Council Members – D. Rodrigo, Ms. N. Tambiah, R Abeysuriya, Vish Govindasamy, Prakash Schaffter, Dinesh Weerakkody and Ms. Aruni Rajakarier and Secretariat/ Secretary to the Council Ms. Radika Obeyesekere -CEO.
Speaking on the plans ahead Rasiah said: “SLID is now updating its popular Board Leadership Training Programme by revamping to take into consideration the modern changes and the “new norm” in the corporate world. I thank the IFC for its support and assistance given to us. SLID is now trying to build a regional relationship with IODs of India, Singapore and Malaysia while making good contacts and rapport with IODs of United Kingdom and Australia. Integration of global insights from these IODs will enrich our Board Leadership Training Programmes”.
“SLID from its humble beginnings has grown to be in stature and recognition in Sri Lanka today. The very fact there were many organisations willing to partner SLID in many ventures and the excellent response from members to be co-opted into various sub committees was certainly proof of the contribution SLID has been making. The theme of propagating Corporate Governance and training the potential and current directors were the main goals which have been carried out very well. SLID team travelled outstations regularly with the support of the local chambers to conduct seminars to promote Corporate Governance. However due to the current Covid-19 situation, this has been somewhat hampered. However the Secretariat, headed by new CEO, Ms Radika Obeyesekere was very active and conducted five webinars on important topics during the curfew period which were very well attended. Key sub committee forums; namely the audit forum headed by Suren Rajakarier, the Independent directors forum (INED) headed by Faizal Salieh and the recently formed Women Directors forum headed by Ms. Aroshi Nanayakkara have been active all along”.
Fabrice Cavallin Managing Director of Nestle Lanka illustrating his presentation with a video clip explained how Nestle Lanka dealt with the challenges during the Covid-19 situation and how the company empowered its staff by giving them visible leadership from the front, to identify and make the best of the new opportunities that arose with it.
Notably the SLID AMM approved by resolution, to ensure that women make up 25% of its Council Members.
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Unlimited music streaming platform in Sri Lanka
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
Sri Lanka using ‘sovereign power’ over economy: CB Governor
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.
CSE on the rebound; indices close positive
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.