Nepali exhibitors impressed by SAARC Fair
Jagath Savanadasa, President Sri Lanka – Nepal Business Council
“We were very impressed by the range of products that the SAARC
Fair exhibited. The number of exhibitor stands especially from
the biggest of the SAARC members, India and Pakistan too was
equally impressive. More than any other factor the Fair enabled
my own products to be exposed on a wide scale. The interest they
evoked too was pleasantly surprising”.
This was the observation made by a young entrepreneur from
Nepal, Munindra Sakya, commenting on the Trade Fair.
Evidently Sakya had brisk sales of his exquisitely carved
products of a wide range. Similar views were expressed by some
other exhibitors from Nepal especially those who displayed shoes
and other leather products. Nepal had ten stalls at the Fair.
Hopefully it is an indication of return to normalcy in that
A meeting convened by the Ambassador for Nepal in Sri Lanka
Durga Prasad Bhattarai at the Embassy in Kynsey Road on
September 1, enabled all those present to share the views
expressed by several members of the business community from
Nepal, who had participated in the SAARC Fair which was held at
the BMICH from August 28 to 31.
The government officials present at the meeting included Dinesh
L Gupta, Acting Executive Director of the Trade and Export
Promotion Centre, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies of
the Government of Nepal.
There were two main objectives in holding this meeting. One was
to have a feed back on what the Nepal business sector
representatives felt about the Sri Lankan market, and examine
prospects for conducting trade with the country. The other was
to have a face to face meeting between the exhibitors and
members of the Sri Lanka Nepal Business Council.
There has been a much felt need for improving and expanding
trade and investment between Nepal and Sri Lanka, as interaction
between two in this respect had for long being virtually
dormant. This was to an extent due to civil unrest and violence
in Nepal – the haunting bugbear of economic activity. Though Sri
Lanka too had a similar experience, her economic activity had
largely been unaffected as reflected in the surge of growth seen
in recent years.
Among those who were present from the Sri Lankan side were: Hony
Secretary, Sri Lanka- Nepal Business Council and Finance
Director of the “ Island” Newspapers Ltd, Lakshman Perera,
Director of Malibans, Bertie Wickramapala, Carlo Ponnampalam,
Chandra Ediriweera of Ceylon Tours Ltd, Nimal Piyasena of Y.R.
Piyasena & Co. and Hector Abeysirigunawardena.
Also present on invitation was Palitha Wijewardena whose
expression of interest in investing in a Hydro Power Project in
Nepal was timely and promising.
The company Wijewardena represented Lanka Transformers Ltd, was
into power generation locally. It was also keen to venture into
Nepal since Nepal had considerable water resources.
The meeting identified the following potential areas for mutual
ventures and issues that needed to be sorted out to achieve
- Tourism: To set about the task of establishing joint
ventures and collaborations. In this regard resumption of
direct flights between Katmandu and Colombo was a prime
- The establishment of sales outlets by Nepalese
manufacturers in collaboration with local counterparts.
Among the product sectors of promise Nepal, Buddhist –
oriented handicrafts and leather products like shoes.
- The establishment of a “Nepal House” in Colombo which
will inter alia be a marketing and Sales Centre for Nepal in
Sri Lanka besides showcasing such products on an ongoing
- The exploitation of trade potential following likely new
developments covering the SAARC Corridor and Highway
interlinking all SAARC nations.
- As a measure of cementing further ties, it was decided
to mount a Trade Mission to Nepal and, vice versa promote a
mission from Nepal to visit Sri Lanka.
- A further important aspect was the holding of a single
Country exhibition of Nepali products in Colombo and also a
single country exhibition of Sri Lankan products in
- Some of the Nepali exhibitors were of the view that
sufficient information especially relating to taxes that are
payable when products exhibited are sold, should be
available in advance to such exhibitors in the future.
Quite apart from the above the visitors seemed fascinated
by the splendid natural as well as man made beauty of
Colombo and the suburbs, which also dispelled their
illusions about Sri Lanka being a country torn by violence.
Despite the heavy downpours during the last few days, they
also said that it had made Colombo greener, cleaner and
sets up Glaucoma Unit at Panadura Sight Hospital
Chartered Bank (SCB) has addressed the increasing risk of
glaucoma related blindness in the country, by setting up an
exclusive Glaucoma Unit at the Lions Gift of Sight Hospital,
Panadura. Equipment valued at Rs 3.25 million was handed
over to the hospital by CEO, Clive Haswell, as part of the
Bank’s long term commitment to eradicate curable blindness
in Sri Lanka.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the
world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
People over 60, family members of those already diagnosed,
diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted are most
at risk. Glaucoma is detected through the use of specialised
equipment and, if left unchecked, will lead to progressive
loss of sight. Glaucoma is a condition that is irreversible
and as such, the burden on early detection is greater.
The Visual Field Recording Analyser helps identify the
gradual reduction in the angle of vision caused by Glaucoma
and can be treated and controlled in accordance thereafter.
The Visual Field Recording donated by SCB is only the third
of its kind in Colombo.
“We hope this equipment can provide early detection of
Glaucoma to those who would not otherwise be able to detect
and minimise the impact of this disease. We see it as part
of the next phase of our commitment to increase the support
that we have been providing the Lions Hospital and also in
line with the next phase of the Bank’s Seeing is Believing
programme,” said CEO, SCB, Clive Haswell.
SCB has been working closely with the Lions Gift of Sight
Hospital, Panadura, over the years, providing over 20
cataract operations a month, free of charge to patients who
could not otherwise afford the operations and aftercare.
Also providing equipment for Eye surgery to regional
hospitals, SCB has funded training of ophthalmologists in
Small Incision Cataract Surgery (SISC) as well as providing
them the micro instruments they require, training ophthalmic
theatre nurses and providing Eye-care training for over 175
Healthcare workers. At a grass roots level, volunteers
organised free Eye testing for the public through mobile Eye
Testing Units, regular refurbishment of the Ratmalana Blind
School, as well as reading and recording books for the
SCB’s work with the Lion’s Gift of Sight Hospital is part of
its Seeing is Believing (SiB) programme. SiB both helps to
build healthy communities and supports economic growth by
helping visually impaired people and also their dependants,
families and communities. SiB has progressively evolved from
curing Blindness, to Prevention, to building sustainable
Eye-care services and capacity.
As part of the Bank’s commitment to the WHO’s Vision 2020
programme, it has set a target to raise US$ 20 million in
funds for Eye-care projects across the world. The recipients
will be 20 cities targeted in key locations within the
Bank’s footprint and will benefit 20 million people.
Projects will target less advantaged populations, providing
Healthcare services. The projects will provide sustainable
solutions for all Eye-care needs from outreach and awareness
to spectacles and surgery.
“SCB is making a great contribution towards Eye-care in Sri
Lanka. Their commitment has been recognised globally and
here, in Sri Lanka too, we are indebted to them for the
commitment and assistance they have provided in expanding
these services to the truly underprivileged, through the
Lions Gift of Sight Hospital, “said Immediate Past
President- Lions International & Chairman LCIF, Mahendra
Initiated in 2003 and driven by the Bank’s employees,
‘Seeing is Believing’ is helping tackle avoidable blindness,
90% of which is found in the developing world, where the
Bank’s business is rooted. Globally SCB is now recognised as
the single biggest Corporate sponsor of avoidable blindness
projects around the world. SCB Sri Lanka is also the single
largest Corporate donor to Vision Care.
The urban focus of the programme reflects the increasing
incidence of avoidable blindness in cities, especially, as
urbanisation swells the numbers of people living in less
advantaged urban areas, where access to eye care is poor and
awareness around eye health is low.
The services will be comprehensive, delivering community eye
health education and awareness raising, together with a
range of interventions, from spectacle provision, to surgery
according to need. The services will also be sustainable,
designed to support marginalised and excluded populations
both now and in the future.
In the design and implementation of the programme, the Bank
is working with the International Association for the
Prevention of Blindness, the WHO and leading eye care NGOs.
launches “Express Your Vote”
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX)
and the world’s largest express transportation company,
today announced its support of “Express Your Vote”, an
initiative of the Overseas Vote Foundation (OVF), a
non-profit, non-partisan organisation dedicated to ensuring
an estimated six million overseas Americans have the ability
to effectively participate in the federal electoral process.
With FedEx supporting this initiative, Americans abroad in
89 countries will be able to access express delivery of
their absentee ballots between September 15 “ October 29 of
the 2008 election year. The innovative Express Your Vote
programme will provide American voters abroad the
convenience of online shipping, track and trace
capabilities, and proactive proof of delivery through the
Overseas Vote Foundation Web site, which has been developed
with the latest advanced automation solutions from FedEx.
Statistics from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s
2006 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act
Report” indicated that the third most common reason for
ballots being rejected and not counted was because the
ballots were returned to local election offices after the
“FedEx is committed to delivering innovative solutions to
customers all over the world,” said Rajesh Subramaniam,
senior vice president, International Marketing, FedEx
Services. “Teaming up with the Overseas Vote Foundation to
offer the Express Your Vote initiative is a natural
extension of our ongoing commitment to making strategic use
of our physical and digital networks to meet the needs of
“Overseas Vote Foundation is delighted to work with FedEx
Express to bring Express Your Vote to U.S. overseas and
military absentee voters in 89 countries,” said Susan
Dzieduszycka-Suinat, President and CEO of Overseas Vote
Foundation. “This initiative will bring tremendous value to
overseas and military voters who need access to the
unrivaled network and services of FedEx Express.”
The Spirit of the 8th ICAAP carries
Many of you remember the sensational 8th
International Congress on Aids in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP)
at the BMICH last year. The seeds of knowledge and awareness
which were sown were not limited to the Congress last year.
The force of trained volunteers gathered again on August
23rd, at the BMICH in the spirit of communalism and purpose
with the aim of serving their country further. The Movement
proposes to be a path breaking venture, which many of us
will look forward to in the coming months. The National
Volunteer Movement is being aided by the 8th ICAAP Trust and
facilitated by the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka.
Hospitals, NSB, unite to promote better health
In order to maintain a high level of productivity,
attendance and punctuality within an organisation, it is
essential to ensure the good health of its staff. It is with
this end in view that two of the country’s leading Corporate
entities entered into a partnership recently.
Nawaloka Hospitals, the pioneer and leading private sector
health care provider, together with the National Savings
Bank, the leader in domestic and corporate banking in Sri
Lanka, established a new partnership whereby Nawaloka
Hospitals opened a Medical Centre at NSB headquarters for
their management and staff .
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Director/ General Manager
Nawaloka Hospitals, Professor Lal Chandrasena said that they
were looking forward to introducing innovative health care
facilities at the Centre and providing specialised customer
services in areas such as channel appointments, an in house
pharmacy, as well as consultations with well qualified
doctors and skilled nursing staff.
General Manager NSB, S.H. Piyasiri said that the initiative
to provide health care facilities at the Bank’s premises
would help them to achieve positive feedback from both
management and staff, while this new initiative of providing
medical facilities on site would not merely serve as an
added convenience, but improve productivity and enhance
cooperation and loyalty amongst employees.
The management of NSB together with Nawaloka Hospitals is
currently in the process of introducing such Medical Centres
at their main branches, thus spreading the message of good
health and Corporate Social Responsibility.
Group inaugurates special housing project at Kandana
A.S.P Group of Companies, pioneers in land sale recently
inaugurated its special housing project, “New Royal Gardens”
in Kandana, 100 metres away from Colombo- Katunayake
It was declared opened by Auxiliary bishop of Colombo, Rev.
Dr. Marius Pieris and a special blessing ceremony was
conducted on the land.
“New Royal Gardens” has 43 plots of land out of which 25 had
been sold. The Company offers 24 hours electricity and water
supply with a 20-30 feet stretched roads.
“New Royal Gardens” also features a play area for children
and a swimming pool enabling the residents to spend their
leisure time in a peaceful environment. The company also
provides 24 hour security and a special security wall is in
force to protect residents from burglars.
According to A.S.P Group of Companies, Chairman, A S P
Liyanage, the location of the land is very convenient for
future residents as it is located closer to Colombo- Negombo
road and a 24 hour bus service is available.
“The land is situated closer to Morawaththa junction next to
Kings Apparel Garment. It is the only land which had been
developed in the area with full facilities,” he said. “New
Royal Gardens” offer its future residents a peaceful
environment away from the hectic life of a metropolitan
area. A perch is valued at Rs.5 lakhs and upwards while a 15
year instalment payments are available for buyers and the
monthly instalment amounts to about Rs. 35 000.
This project has six to ten perches per plot and many of the
buyers hailed from different professions, “Many of the
buyers are professionals and the rest were bought by non
residents of Sri Lanka living in Italy,” Liyanage said.
He emphasised that “New Royal Gardens” is the ultimate place
for a family to live in a peaceful environment with 24 hour
security. A.S.P Group of Companies also offers a special
deal for prospective buyers, if any one wishes to trade
their plot of land to own a land at New Royal Gardens.
Amazing offer to farmers from
Brown & Company PLC recently initiated
an island wide promotion offering a free double door
refrigerator with every 45DI TAFE tractor purchased.
Starting from September 1, 2008, the promotion will go on
till October 31, 2008. This promotion is specially targeted
at farmers who will be cultivating this Maha season.
Speaking on this offer General Manager Agriculture, Battery
& New Business, Panduka Weerasingha said, “This is probably
the first time that such a valuable gift has been offered
for four wheel tractors. We believe that this promotion is
an ideal way of rewarding our loyal customers.”
Originated in India, TAFE, one of the four wheel tractor
imported by Browns which is well known for its fuel
efficiency, has a number of special features such as Live
Hydraulics, Duel Clutch, 47hp Simpson S 325 Direct Injection
Diesel Engine, Swing-up Bonnet and a modern design to
achieve excellent performance by being operator friendly.
Added to this, TAFE tractors have the advantage of being
compatible to high capacity equipment such as combined
threshers, disc ploughs, tine tillers, disc harrows etc.
This tractor’s versatility is seen through its use in both
high land & low land cultivation.
Browns agriculture organised training and demonstration
programmes using TAFE tractors to uplift the lives of the
farmer community by training them on operating, servicing
and maintenance of tractors and their implements. These
training programmes were carried out in areas such as
Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Anuradhapura, Kanthale. Currently
Free Service Campaigns on tractor maintenance, upgrading,
repairing and special technical advice are being carried out
An exhibition named Browns Krushi Udanaya, focusing more on
Agriculture started off recently in Kurunegala which on
going in Anuradhapura & will be stretched to areas such as
Polonnaruwa, Ampara, Matara and Galle. This exhibition
displays all kinds of agricultural machinery & supporting
Brown & Company PLC maintains a strong brand presence
amongst the agricultural community in Sri Lanka, having
pioneered agricultural mechanization since 1950’s. The
division currently dominates the market with its world
renowned two & four wheel tractor brands.