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Sri Lanka is a hidden gem with highly talented and valued people: CISI UK 

The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, the leading global professional body for securities, investment, wealth and financial planning professionals with UK headquarters, has relocated to its new office premises in Sri Lanka at 345, R.A De Mel Mawatha, Colombo 03.

The Sri Lanka office functions as the Institute’s international operations centre, providing support to all CISI’s international operations. CISI Sri Lanka is a fully functioning representative office of CISI UK and is comprised of all corresponding business functions including Business Development, HR, Customer Support, Learning and Development, Marketing, Finance and IT departments.

Chairman Sir Alan Yarrow Chartered FCSI said: “Our Colombo team is composed of both highly skilled and highly valued staff. They are a great example of Sri Lanka’s well educated, adaptable workforce and this has helped the successful integration of our London based operating units. We have been able to find sophisticated technical skills resulting in a workforce of extremely skilled professionals delivering professional qualifications.”

The CISI Sri Lankan office predominantly deals with operations for APAC and the Middle East with the call centre servicing members and students throughout the region.

Crystal Martil, Operations Manager and the first ever CISI Sri Lankan staff member said: “When the Institute began its operations in Sri Lanka in 2011, we had only five staff members. Today we have 36 employees and we outgrew our current premises which is why we had to move.

“Almost all UK departments have some of their staff located in Sri Lanka and our increasing links and visits between offices enable us to understand cultures and people, which contributes to our continuous transformation from a London based professional body to a global organisation.”

Chief Executive Simon Culhane Chartered FCSI said today: “Sri Lanka should not be seen as a repository for cheap unskilled labour; it is a hidden gem with high quality, highly talented and highly valued people.”

The Chief Guest, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne said: “The development of human capital is one of this government’s strategic goals, so I am particularly delighted to be here at CISI and witness what can be achieved. The CISI has tapped into just a fraction of our highly skilled talent pool, we have much more to offer.”

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Pidilite unveils LKR 200 million adhesive manufacturing plant in Sri Lanka

Pidilite Lanka Pvt. Ltd., a JV between Pidilite and Macbertan Pvt. Ltd. strengthening its presence, unveiled a new state-of-the-art adhesive manufacturing plant in Polgahawela in North Western Province of Sri Lanka.

Pidilite Lanka has earmarked over LKR 200 million as an investment towards the plant. Spread over four acres, the plant will further strengthen Pidilite's position in the adhesive market in Sri Lanka and enhance its market share. This will be an environment-friendly plant with zero-discharge.

Pidilite, one of Asia's leading adhesive and construction chemical companies began its journey in Sri Lanka 10 years ago and today, Sri Lanka is one of Pidilite's key global contributors.

"Our strong user-connect and deep market understanding enabled us to identify market gaps and offer unique, need-based solutions. The new facility is a testament to our commitment to Sri Lankan market. The plant will initially manufacture adhesives, under the household brand Fevicol® and enhance the availability of our range across industries.  This plant will contribute significantly to import substitution and also provide employment opportunities in this region," said MD Pidilite Industries Ltd, Bharat Puri.

Pidilite's well-known brands in Sri Lanka include FEVICOL, the high-performance range of adhesives and Dr. FIXIT, an advanced range of waterproofing solution for healthy homes.

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Chandrin Fernando Receives Prestigious Chairmanship of CIMA MESANA Regional Board

Chandrin Fernando, former CIMA Sri Lanka Board Member received the prestigious Chairmanship appointment for CIMA’s Middle East, South Asia and North Africa (MESANA) Regional Board recently.Fernando will oversee the MESANA Regional Board comprising 28 countries. Previously, he held the post of Vice Chairman of MESANA.

Fernando’s service history within CIMA is an illustrious one including serving on the Sri Lankan Board as a Board Member during the period 2014-2016. Prior to this, in 2015 Chandrin was chosen to represent Sri Lanka as a member of the Global Market Committee. However, due to the Global Market Committee and Sri Lanka Regional Board being dissolved in 2016, he was invited to join the MESANA Board where he served as the Vice Chairman.

Previously, Fernando has also served other important leadership roles including being elected to the CIMA Sri Lanka Board as the Chairman of the Employer Relations Committee 2014, as a Member of the Student Development Committee in 2013 and contributing to the Marketing and Promotions Committee within CIMA Sri Lanka Division in 2008. 

He also holds multiple memberships in professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) UK, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants UK and the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) UK. 

Currently, Fernando is the Chief Executive Officer at Arpico Finance Company PLC, the second oldest finance company in Sri Lanka. With his visionary leadership, the company has spearheaded several new initiatives. Within a short span of two years since taking over the mantle of CEO, Fernando has been instrumental in successfully transforming and doubling the company’s asset book. 

With over ten years of experience in the financial services industry, Fernando is recognised as a financial expert, especially in the non-banking financial sector. He is also highly conversant with the industry’s regulatory framework.

Fernando holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) from the University of Sri Jayawardenapura and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK).

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Tripartite MOU between BOI, EDB, BUSINESS FRANCE to promote manufacturing & infrastructure investments

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka and Business France yesterday.

The BOI Chairman Dumindra Ratnayake said: “This MOU is a very positive development since it will help to increase in the future investment in areas such as manufacturing and infrastructure. It also has to be seen in connection with the FTAs that Sri Lanka has entered into with India, Pakistan and Singapore and will sign in the future with China. These FTAs give market access to goods produced in Sri Lanka.”

“Another important development is Port City with many opportunities for construction and other investment in the future.”

Ratnayake also said that the agreement will help to strengthen relations and facilitate trade and investment with France in the future.

Indira Malwatte Chairperson of the EDB stated “France is the 6th largest market for Sri Lankan exports to the European union.” She added “Sri Lanka is to launch the National Export Strategy and this will also generate greater interest in our products. Currently we are promoting Ship and Boat building, spices to be used in the manufacture of perfumes and cosmetics and of course the IT sector.” Sophie Clavelier, Head of Business France South Asia, stated “We must ensure that this MOU must live and must work together in developing certain niche areas that Sri Lanka has to offer. One area which I would like to see develop is the Agro Sector where Sri Lanka has lot of potential.”

She added that a country such as Sri Lanka should not look at competing with giants economies such as India but that “Sri Lanka should be developing niche sectors that are quality orientated. We should not look at large but at quality and high end sectors.”

Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said: “The MOU will enhance the economic co-operation between Sri Lanka and France. We are currently focusing on expanding French exports as well as Sri Lankan investment in France.”

“There are certain areas where l see many possibilities. For example the French side could be interested in developing Sri Lankan ports as France has many leading shipping companies. I also see opportunities in the development of tourism.”

“This is an area where France has considerable experience and in 2020 our country will attract 120 million tourists in the course of the year. Other areas that very promising are co-operation in the financial sector and also we are currently involved in the development of mini dairies.”

Under the Agreement the parties are to exchange information and provide mutual support for the benefit of their clients and also to promote economic growth in both Sri Lanka and France. In addition the MOU seeks to encourage each party to promote the image of the other country and support FDI from its nationals to the other country.

It is also important to note that each party is responsible for its own costs of operation. The agreement will be in effect for a period of two years and would be automatically renewed unless notice is given by one of the parties.

The MOU also covers intellectual property rights and the use of trademarks and logos of their signatories. There is also mechanism for consultation between the signatories of the MOU.

The MOU augurs well for future expansion of tourism, trade and investment from France to Sri Lanka.

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Ceylon Petroleum Corporation seeks alternative to Murban crude for October

Sri Lanka's Ceylon Petroleum Corp is seeking to buy an alternative to its usual purchases of Murban crude oil, a tender document showed on Tuesday.

It is requesting for 700,000 barrels of the alternative crude to Murban on a delivered basis into Colombo, the document stated. Murban is produced by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co in the United Arab Emirates.

The cargo is for delivery over Oct. 20 to 24 and the tender closes on Aug. 14, with offers to remain valid for two weeks.

The company would like to do a price comparison with other crude oil grades to gauge the competitiveness of buying Murban and will decide if it will switch to another grade based on the price offers, a company official told Reuters, declining to be named as he was not authorised to speak with media.

"The refinery is able to process different types of crude," the official added.

Murban is low density, or light, oil with a sulphur content of only 0.74 percent that is considered low compared to other Middle Eastern crudes. The grade is prized for its high yield of middle distillate fuels such as kerosene and diesel fuel when refined.

Sri Lanka was a regular importer of Iranian oil until Western sanctions were imposed in 2012, when Colombo sharply reduced its purchases of crude from the country and later switched to imports of other Middle East grades such as Oman and Murban.

Separately, the country's sole 50,000-barrels-per-day refinery completed a planned maintenance in April and has no immediate plans for another soon, the official said.

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Qatar airways increases capacity to Colombo with A350s

With the last week’s launch of A350 aircraft to Sri Lanka Qatar Airways has increased its daily capacity to Colombo by 15 percent with the launch of its A350 aircraft, an airline spokesperson said. 

The airline will provide an additional 195 seats per day to supplement the increased travel demand to and from Sri Lanka.

The ultra-modern Airbus A350-900 aircraft features a total of 339 seats, with 30 Business Class seats and 309 in Economy Class. Due to the extra-wide cabin design, passengers on board are offered unparalleled comfort in both cabins, with fully-lie flat beds in Business Class and spacious seats in Economy Class.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said, “We are delighted to bring the A350 to Colombo, to further accommodate the robust demand from both leisure and business travelers. Colombo is our gateway to one of the most vibrant cities in South Asia, and we are thrilled to enhance our offering and continue to demonstrate our long-term commitment to Sri Lanka.

“Qatar Airways continues to offer its passengers the best service in the sky, and is pleased to seamlessly connect even more of its customers from the capital of Sri Lanka through its hub Hamad International Airport (HIA) to the rest of the world.”

Qatar Airways flies to Colombo four times daily from its home and hub in the State of Qatar, HIA. The airline’s passengers can enjoy seamless connections to more than 150 business and leisure destinations around the world.

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Nestlé responds to growing milk demand in Sri Lanka with A+

Nestlé aims to capitalise on growing demand for milk in Sri Lanka with the launch of its UHT full cream milk product A+.

Made with fresh milk “sourced from approximately 20,000 Sri Lankan farmers”, the product is said to offer “nutrient-packed goodness, a rich creamy taste and convenience all in one”.

Nestlé said that Sri Lanka’s dairy industry is an emerging one, with a relatively low milk supply. It added that its collaboration with local milk farmers has helped develop the sector to produce enough milk for its products, including Nespray Fortigrow full cream milk powder, Milo ready to drink and Milkmaid.

nestle 1Nestlé Lanka vice president of ambient dairy Ruwan Welikala said: “Nestlé started with dairy-based products over 150 years ago and we still benefit from this expertise today. The Nestlé name on a product is a promise of quality and that’s why we ensure our milk is perfect right from the start.

“We train all of our farmers to produce milk to the highest quality standards and nurture the milk sourcing process every step of the way, ensuring that what reaches our consumers is nothing but the best.

“Our consumers already benefit from a range of world-leading dairy products through Nestlé and we’re proud to offer yet another world-class product made with local milk.”   

Nestlé Lanka managing director Shivani Hegde added: “Our ambition has always been to grow communities along with our business, to offer value to our consumers as well as for society.

“We’re proud to launch yet another product that not only meets the nutritional needs of our consumers but also contributes to the livelihood of local Sri Lankan farmers. Nestlé A+ is yet another product that demonstrates our company purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future.”

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Dialog partners with Eros International to provide 20,000 hours of original Indian content

Eros International’s over the top (OTT) platform Eros Now has launched in Sri Lanka on Dialog Axiata. This association allows users to seamlessly browse through over 20,000 hours of original Indian content in over 10 languages.

Available via the Dialog ViU app, Eros Now gives subscribers access to a high-quality content library which comprises of over 11,000+ movies with multi-language subtitles, originals, music and entertainment shows in High Definition (HD).

Additionally, along with a vast library of diverse content, the app will allow users to curate movie and content playlists, receive personalized recommendations, view content offline and sync all devices for a superior viewing experience.

Users may download and subscribe to Eros Now using the Dialog ViU app, available on the Play Store, wherein which they will be charged a monthly fee of Rs. 100 +tax for subscription.

Speaking on the launch, Dialog Axiata Senior General Manager – Global and Content Services Mangala Hettiarachchi said, “Dialog has always strived to provide customers with the best video experience on the best streaming network in Sri Lanka.

Dialog ViU has allowed approximately 1 million customers to access the best of local, regional and international entertainment, and we are proud to exclusively partner with Eros Now, to give Dialog ViU users further access to an impressive content catalogue of Indian blockbusters.”

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Marvels of Sri Lanka at OTDYKH Leisure 2018

The island country of Sri Lanka comes again to the leading Moscow tourism fair, OTDYKH Leisure, ready to show to industry professionals and public the marvels that await the visitor in this enchanted land of golden beaches, rising waves, misty mountain, fascinating fauna and flora and the warms smiles of their people.

OTDYKH Leisure 24th edition is proud to confirm that will count again with the enchanted presence of Sri Lanka. This Island country has so many natural, historical, cultural and patrimonial values to offer the visitor that the attendants of the exhibition will not have time to taste all of them. Along with the marvels of the country, the stand of the Sri Lanka Tourist Promotion Bureau will present this year (until this date) fourteen tourist companies, from travel and hotels to luxury resorts, and more could be added before end of the inscription date.

Set in the Indian Ocean in South Asia, Sri Lanka has a history dating back to the birth of time. It is a place where the original soul of Buddhism still flourishes and where nature’s beauty remains abundant and unspoiled.

Few places in the world can offer the traveler such a remarkable combination of stunning landscapes, pristine beaches, captivating cultural heritage and unique experiences within such a compact location. Within a mere area of 65,610 km2 lie 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites; 1,330 kilometers of coastline – much of it pristine beach – 15 National Parks showcasing an abundance of wildlife, nearly 500,000 acres of lush tea estates (producers of the famous Ceylan Tea), 250 acres of botanical gardens, 350 waterfalls, 25,000 water bodies and much more.
Island of magic and holiday experiences

An island of magical proportions, once known as Serendib, Taprobane, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, and Ceylan. If golden beaches, rising waves, misty mountains, mighty elephants, stealthy leopards, giant whales, a majestic past, lovely tea and warm smiles could sum up a country, that would be Sri Lanka.

With many sites and scenes bottled up in to a small island, a traveler could be riding the waves in the dawn and admiring the green carpeted mountains by dusk. Sri Lanka provide an array of holiday experiences from sun kissed beach holidays to a marathon of wildlife watching, adrenaline pumping adventure sports and pilgrimage to some of the oldest cities in the world.

The smiles and hospitality of Sri Lanka are as famous as its spicy food, exotic fruits and array of sweetmeats found nowhere in the world. With so many cultures living next to each other life continues among a series of festivities throughout the year, an ideal recipe for fun and leisure.
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Nearly 1600 km of palm fringed coastline made Sri Lanka the ideal destination for beach lovers. Windsurfing, kayaking, yachting, water skiing, scuba diving or just lazing for the perfect tan, Sri Lanka offers it all.

The two monsoon winds providing rain to the two corners of the country at various periods, makes Sri Lanka’s beach holiday a year-round prospect. The north east winds make the south western coast sunny and the sea calm from November to March. The South West winds make the East Coast waters quiet with the constant sun shine happily in agreement. The best Southern beaches include Tangalla, Beruwala, Mirissa, Bentota and Unawatuna with options including chic boutique hotels, glowing coral reefs, gentle sandbars and undiscovered corners of paradise. 

Heritage, Culture and Patrimony

Man-made reservoirs expanding along the horizon, stupas that reached the sky and functioned as data transmitters, palaces atop rocks adorned with intricate sculpture, water gardens, futuristic landscaping technologies and star gates are just few of the engineering feasts of the ancient Sri Lankans.

Enriched with Buddhism brought from India nearly three thousand years ago Sri Lankan engineers and artisans created some of the most breath-taking structures in the old world. Built with bricks and carved with stones; these creations found in the ancient cities of Sri Lanka continues to amaze the world.

With a recorded history of nearly 2500 years and an unrecorded history of at least another 2500 years, Sri Lanka is home to many legends including of Kings who rules over universe, dagger nailed people, believed to be a sub species of humans and technological advancement that seems to be equal to divine intervention. Certain researchers even speculate that some of these structures could be built by extraterrestrial beings!

Questioned by OTDYKH staff about the top three popular local destinations for Russian visitors, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (TOB) precisely answered: Beaches at the South and West Coasts, Kandy region and Sigiriya.

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Sigiriya mountain seems like a landing platform from air. A creation of genius master builders or a testimony of extra-terrestrial intervention? An American TV production team explored the site and questions the long lost mysteries of an ancient marvel. 

Speculations apart, the truth is that with so many tales of Kings who constructed mega structures involving technologies sometimes beyond our comprehension, extinct species so exotic that it fueled up the imagination of generations and wars fought with such might that they found their way to religious mythology of neighbor countries, Sri Lanka’s folklore is a treasure trove to the curious.

As for the Russian visitors, according with TOB, the flight program for 2018 is by Emirates, Quatar, Fly Dubai and Turkish airways airlines. Also, charter flights operated by tour operators. Target arrivals for  2018 is 70,103 visitors, a growth rate of 15.5%.

Port and airport development is also creating the potential for Sri Lanka to become a key transport and tourist/transit hub for Asia. The completion of the Hambantota Port and the Colombo Southport Expansion will increase the capacity to take advantage of the country’s strategic location on the major international shipping lanes.

World-class Producer

Despite its small size Sri Lanka is a global leader in many fields and is had been known worldwide for its choice gems and cinnamon since the turn of the last century. Today, the country produces the world cinnamon and is one of the world’s top cinnamon exporters.

The jewelry world knew Sri Lanka for its beautiful and valuable gemstones. ‘Rathnadeepa’ or the ‘land of gems’ was used as a synonym for the country and even today the Sri Lankan gems specially the Ceylon blue sapphires are celebrated worldwide for their distinctive color and luster.

Yet it is the Ceylon tea, which the world identifies the country by. Introduced in the 19th century by Colonial British, Sri Lanka is recognized by many consumers for producing the world’s best tea.

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Ceylon Tea made in Sri Lanka still continues to be the favorite of the tea lovers worldwide. 

Quality Garments and Hi Tech

Meanwhile the country’s position as global leader in producing quality garment products for leading brands in Asia, Europe and the USA, is making the term ‘made in Sri Lanka’ a statement of quality. Sri Lankan apparels re-launched as ‘Garments without Guilt’ is guided by principles of protecting workers rights, proving quality working environments and upholding equal opportunities beyond gender and disability. Garment producers thrives to protect the environment while doing away with discrimination and the stringent labor laws and children rights Sri Lanka ensures that no children as involved in producing the garments.

The country is also in the forefront as an IT hub in the South Asian region, only surpassed by India. Sri Lanka’s position as a rising software exporter had been established by the great achievements of local companies in the global arena. Their recent achievements include the development of world class capital market solution and development of medical invoice system, widely used in many parts of the USA and Europe.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) Information Economy Report for 2012 listed Sri Lanka s country that has a software industry with a high export market penetration. The industry is predicted to reach a revenue value of US$ 2 billion by the year 2020. By the way, nearly 270 scientists from Sri Lanka are working today at NASA, establishing the name of their country in the firmament of the space frontier. 

The land of the Ayurveda

Last but not least, Sri Lanka is the Land of the Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest forms of healing, Ayurveda — derived from the Sanskrit words for life (ayuh) and knowledge or science (veda) — originated in India more than 3,000 years ago and soon spread to Sri Lanka, where Sinhalese kings established Ayurveda treatment centers in the ancient cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
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The basis of Ayurveda is the belief in a combination of five basic elements which form three types of energy or dosha within the body: vatha (a combination of air and space); pitha (fire and water) and kappha (earth and water). Ayurvedic practitioners believe that illness arises when these dosha are out of balance, and work to restore harmony. Comprehensive treatment not only includes massage, herbal baths, oil treatment and a special diet, but also involves meditation, yoga and music to help the mind and soul.

The pharmacopoeia of Ayurvedic preparations includes an amazing range of leaves, roots, bark, resin, spices and fruits, with familiar ingredients such as black pepper, ginger, cinnamon bark and sesame oil joined by many more esoteric items. There’s everything from aloe to zedoary, with such exotica as black cumin, blue water lily and white poppy seed.

The combination of herbs, diet, massage, hydrotherapy and oil treatment is used to treat everything from stress to diabetes, migraine, asthma, arthritis and high blood pressure. Ayurveda specialists will tell you that this form of treatment also helps boost the immune system, promotes a general sense of well-being and even helps delay the ageing process.

With many in the West turning from medicine which treats only the body, towards a more holistic approach, Sri Lanka has become destination for those seeking solace in the Ayurvedic principle of body, mind and soul. In addition to a range of treatments, Ayurvedic resorts offer yoga, meditation and lectures and the chance to learn how to cook food according to Ayurvedic principles, as well as excursions to nearby places of interest.

Summarizing the Sri Lanka tourism industry, as said by the Tourism Promotion Bureau, there are three facts that made the country and increasingly popular destination: Authenticity, Compactness and Diversity.

Authenticity is the new wave of tourism in Sri Lanka with a strong focus in providing unique concepts through experiences and what we call “emotion” to our clients. The intention is to go beyond typical tourist movements and introduce concepts relating to local lifestyles, elements of our culture, engagement with local people. It is a place one could experience more natural resources rather than the man made.
Compactness – With only 65,610sqkm land mass, the entire island of Sri Lanka can be explored within a few days. Even the longest distance across the country can be covered within a few hours and if you are flying within one hour. Even a busy traveler can see most parts of the country within a short period of time due to this second advantage which is being compact.

Diversity, the third and the biggest advantage is the unparalleled diversity of our tourism product. Sri Lanka is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region, as it contains mixture of golden beaches, rare unique natural wildlife, breath-taking landscapes and a rich cultural heritage. Despite its relatively small size, Sri Lanka possesses a high level of bio-diversity due to its wide range of geographic and climatic variations.

Sri Lanka, the natures treasure chest is the home to one of the oldest civilizations in the world. Its written history exceeds 2550 years. Its pre-history consist of planned cities, magnificent palaces, and expansive man-made reservoirs, stunning temples and monasteries, green gardens, hard to believe monuments and works of art are characteristic of the rich and jubilant lives the celebrated monarchy of Sri Lanka lived. And is one of the most delightful countries in the world to visit. Winner of the World Travel Awards 2017 as Asia’s best destination.

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Sampath Bank launches Blockchain Gifting App

Sampath Bank, the third largest private sector bank in Sri Lanka, has launched a blockchain person to person gifting mobile app.

The new app, called Sampath igift, will enable all account holders at the bank to gift money, between 100 LKR ($0.63 USD) to 10,000 LKR ($63 USD) per gift, to anyone in their smartphone’s contact list. The maximum amount that can be gifted in a day by an account holder is 100,000 LKR ($630 USD). It also allows account holders to include personalized messages with text, selfies, emoticons, stickers and more, to their friends and family, with the gift.

The app is currently available on the Google Play Store and will soon be available on the Apple App Store. Recipients who have the app installed on their smartphone will get an in-app notification when they receive gifts through Sampath igift. They can retrieve the gift and deposit the money to their account at Sampath Bank or any other bank in Sri Lanka. In the event the recipient does not have the app on their device, they will receive a SMS with a link to download the app and access the gift.

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Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal to bring local traders to the global market

Sri Lanka unveiled one of the biggest initiatives in its international trade history when the Department of Commerce launched the World Bank supported Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal (SLTIP) today in Colombo.

“Our business community and other stakeholders will be provided with a useful tool to find the information necessary to facilitate their import-export activities”, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.

Sri Lanka’s TIP was unveiled today at the Kingsbury Hotel by Minister Bathiudeen, Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson and World Bank Senior Trade Specialist Marcus Bartley Johns

World Bank backed Trade Information Portal (TIP) across the world provide information that traders need to import and export goods, including information on permits, laws and taxes. 

TIPs provide the much needed transparency which leads to lower trade costs and improved predictability, and it is a key objective of international agreements like the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). 

“The Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal aims to change the country’s business environment. With access to the right information at the right time, local businesses can confidently venture into international  markets and help Sri Lanka’s economy realize a prosperous future", Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson said.

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Microsoft aligns with John Keells IT to bring SAP to life

Microsoft has entered into a strategic partnership with John Keells IT in an effort to accelerate digital transformation strategies across both Asia Pacific and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions.

The Sri Lanka-based provider and Microsoft have been partnering since 2012, with the IT consultancy the site of the vendor's first-ever Office 365 deployment in-country.

As part of this partnership, the tech giant will host SAP S/4HANA on Microsoft Azure, representing John Keells' first-ever deployment on the platform and one of the first in the Asia Pacific region to deploy SAP S/4HANA on Azure.

"SAP HANA on Azure will give John Keells IT a joint ecosystem that brings unique insights and rich product integration to help their customers make the most out of running SAP solutions and applications in the cloud — accelerating their performance, productivity, and innovation with seamless enterprise-class support,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, country manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives.

"John Keels IT has been at the forefront of digital transformation and innovation and we are happy to have them as our partner and see them driving this transformation across Sri Lanka and beyond."

This is part of the consultancy’s efforts to realise its bi-modal IT strategy as part the push towards digital transformation.

"Building innovative and transformative solutions based on a bi-modal strategy and design thinking philosophy requires collaboration, co-innovation and co-creation,” added Ramesh Shanmuganathan, executive vice president and group CIO John Keells Group and CEO, John Keells IT.

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