NDB and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce boost the Tea sector


The picture shows Samantha Ranatunga, MD of CIC and Vice Chairman of CCC, Chatura Rodrigo, Research Economist of IPS, L. H. D.  Shantha Lal,  President  of the Sabaragamuwa Chamber, C. J. Gunaseela, Director and Past President of the Sabaragamuwa Chamber and Indrajit Wickramasinghe, Chief Operating Officer of NDB at the panel discussion, facilitated by Dr. Anura Ekanayake, Past Chairman of CCC.

NDB together with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and the Sabaragamuwa Chamber conducted a special business forum in Ratnapura targeting the Tea sector; with the objective of fostering linkages between Colombo based enterprises and regional businesses. The workshop conducted by industry heavyweights and specialists was received with much enthusiasm by those in the sector; and was attended by a majority of the private tea factory owners and tea small holders in the Ratnapura and Kalawana areas.

Welcoming the guests and the participants to the business forum, Rajendra Theagarajah, Chief Executive Officer of NDB said "Regional economic growth is vital for propelling the national economy towards its growth targets and thus regional business forums such as this are significant in their contribution to this end. Such forums enable knowledge sharing and provide new learning experiences especially to the benefit of regional SMEs. The objective of today’s forum is to facilitate a dialogue between the key players in the tea industry of the region and several well-known industry specialists and professionals; to share the best practices and related insight for further development of the industry. Both NDB and CCC place a lot of weight upon financial inclusion and the development of regional SMEs and we hope to conduct more programmes of this nature in time to come".

Chatura Rodrigo, Research Economist of the Institute of Policy Studies triggered an insightful discussion about the current status of the economy and its implications and opportunities for regional businesses to contribute to the national economy. NDB shared knowledge on Finance in the areas of access to capital, long term business planning and business sustainability at the forum, introducing a range of customised financial solutions offered by the Bank for the tea sector; especially to the benefit of tea small holders.

Improvement of energy efficiency in small tea factories was another timely and relevant topic discussed at the forum, led by D. D. Ananda Namal, the Past Chairman of Sri Lanka Energy Managers Association (SLEMA) and Director General of National Engineering Research and Development Centre (NERD). Revelations of a recent study conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on the subject were shared with the participants along with useful and practical tips for improvement of energy efficiency in small tea factories.

The workshop closed with a panel discussion on ‘the way forward for increasing regional contribution for national economic growth’ led by the distinguished panellists; Samantha Ranatunga, Managing Director of CIC and Vice Chairman of CCC, Chatura Rodrigo, Research Economist of Institute of Policy Studies, L. H. D. Shantha Lal, President of the Sabaragamuwa Chamber, C. J. Gunaseela, Director and Past President of the Sabaragamuwa Chamber and Indrajit Wickramasinghe, Chief Operating Officer of NDB. The discussion was facilitated by Dr. Anura Ekanayake, Past Chairman of CCC, providing the opportunity for participants to raise concerns, expand knowledge and get clarifications on their queries. The programme having enabled fellowship and networking amongst the industrialists of the region, received an overwhelming response from the participants.

Given its deep roots in SME Banking, NDB firmly believes that SMEs form the backbone of the country’s economy. With a rich heritage in SME financing, NDB is fully geared and committed to help this sector to maximise the opportunities in the market. Therefore, in addition to SME lending, the Bank has initiated programmes such as this workshop to enhance the knowledge and skills of regional entrepreneurs to help them overcome the emerging challenges when conducting business. In a challenging business environment, NDB believes in continuous support to the SME sector by way of advisory, drawing out expertise from within NDB and the industry to empower SME entrepreneurs.

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