As a bank that takes pride in its Sri Lankan roots, Sampath Bank has always appreciated the immense value generated by the tank (Wewa) systems in and around the country and its ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme is a committed endeavour to restore the traditional irrigation networks that were constructed by the ancient kings of Sri Lanka.
The ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme is a part of Sampath Bank PLC’s community capacity building initiatives that aims to provide sustainable solutions to ensure a dependable supply of water for dry zone farmers to cultivate their paddy land and harvest both the Yala and Maha paddy seasons, annually. Through the project, the Bank aims to promote organic farming as a viable means of maintaining a sustainable livelihood through agriculture. Furthermore, this project contributes to the Bank’s triple bottom line as it enriches the lives of the community in the area, improves the water capacity of the tank and develops the surrounding eco-system and empowers agri-entrepreneurs by making them financially inclusive.
A structured undertaking to rebuild the tanks that have suffered neglect and ruin due to the passage of time, the ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme has seen the restoration of seven tanks to date namely; Udamaththala Wewa in Lunugamwehera (2001), Ilukpelassa Wewa in Thanamalwila (2002), Konketiara Wewa in Hambantota (2002), Dematawa Wewa in Panduwasnuwara (2014), Halmillakulama Wewa in Nochchiyagama (2017), Ambagahawewa in Kahatagasdigiliya (2018), Dhanyawa Wewa in Divulankadawala (2018) and has just broken ground on its latest project, the Kindagalla Wewa in Bibile.
Located in the Kokunnewa area in the Monaragala district, the Kindagalla tank has a surface area of 15 acres and currently provides water to 62 acres of paddy land, benefitting 60 farmer families. Post restoration the tank will supply 262 acres of farming land with water, thereby directly benefiting 260 families. The restoration work will be executed under the supervision and technical expertise of the Agrarian Development Department in Monaragala with the villagers forming most of the labour force.
The ground-breaking ceremony was preceded by several cultural and religious observances in order to invoke blessings upon the project. The ground breaking was conducted to the chanting of Pirith by religious leaders from the village temple and saw the participation of representatives of Sampath Bank, several government officials from the area, customers, members of farmers associations, village leaders as well as members of the community.
Speaking about the Bank’s ‘Wewata Jeewayak’ programme, Thusitha Nakandala, Group Chief Human Resource Officer of Sampath Bank PLC said, “It is challenging for the villagers to shoulder the entire burden of renovating and reconstructing these tanks. This task requires a lot of responsibility and such a meticulous process may affect the lives and livelihoods of the people residing in the area. Right from the inception, we have been working with government authorities and local communities to restore tanks around the island. Together with technical support from the Department of Agrarian Development and Department of Irrigation, we are very proud to be able to restore these tanks, thereby uplifting the lives of the people in the area and enabling a return to a historic and effective irrigation system.”
Currently, the tank’s bund has been damaged and its height is not enough to maintain the required water capacity for both seasons. Furthermore, the tank’s spill has been damaged, thereby greatly reducing its water retention capability. The restoration work which includes excavation of the tank and rebuilding of the tank bund and spill, is estimated to take approximately three months.
Sampath Bank’s CSR activities display a strong commitment to serve the community and generate sustainable benefits for the country and its citizens while supporting the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. The Bank considers CSR to be an ingrained aspect of its operations and has constantly gone above and beyond the natural obligations which govern its activities in the ordinary course of business. With proven expertise and professionalism in banking and finance, Sampath Bank’s CSR efforts will be central towards economic development and the growth of individuals and society at large.
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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.