Seated from left : Erandi Ponnamperuma - Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Niral Kadawatharatchie - Freight Links International, Charge D’ Affairs Khadheeja Najeeha, Embassy of the Maldives in Sri Lanka, Devinda Lorensuhewa - Kelani Cables and Shenali Panabokke - Eastern & Allied Agencies. Standing from left: Ikram Ghazali-CMA CGM Lanka, Kevin Edwards – E.B. Creasy & Company, Arulanandan – Finlay Insurance Brokers, Hussain Hashim – Malship (Ceylon) Ltd, Priyantha Kolonnage – Pyramid Wilmar (Pvt) Ltd
Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council (SLMBC) of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 25 August at the Hilton Colombo Residences and Charge D’ Affairs Khadheeja Najeeha from the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives was the Chief Guest at the event.
Welcoming members and guests to the event, President of SLMBC, Niral Kadawatharatchie said, “As we all know, the main objective of our Business Council is to promote trade and tourism between the two countries and also to facilitate investments. In this context, we have done well. If you look at the figures indicated in the annual report, you will see that the trade has increased from 10 billion in 2015 to Rs. 14 billion in 2016. The tourist arrivals in 2016 has also been increased from 90000 in 2015 to 95000 in 2016. It is just a 5% increase but hopefully it will be better in the years to come.
We have done well in both counts, but I would like to urge all our members in the Council to do more. The secretariat is actively involved in promoting trade, tourism and investments in the Maldives. One of the areas that we are actively promote is the trade exhibitions held in the Maldives. Our members are welcome to take part in the hotel Asia exhibition in the Maldives. We are more than happy to help any Sri Lankan company willing to participate in these exhibitions held in Maldives. This is one and easy way to promote trade. This method has been proven very successful”.
Delivering the key note speech, Charge D’ Affairs Khadheeja Najeeha said, “The close bond of friendship that the Maldivian people and the people of Sri Lanka share are unmatched. There are no two countries which are socially, culturally and economically closer to the Maldives than Sri Lanka. These close ties have been further strengthened over the years by none other than closer trade relations between the two countries. Maldivians have from time immemorial relied heavily on purchase of various products from Sri Lanka, and in return Sri Lankans have been fond of fish products from the Maldives.
“Today, this traditional merchant-to-merchant trade has been intensified over the decades in the form of supplying shipments in bulk and through various other services. Moreover, trade relations have been further strengthened by the significant increase of Sri Lankan investments in the Maldives and Maldivian business ventures in Sri Lanka.”
Niral Kadawatharatchie, President/CEO of Freight Links International (Pvt) Ltd was re-elected as the President of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council for the year 2017/2018.
Shenali Panabokke, Director of Eastern & Allied Agencies Ltd and Devinda Lorensuhewa, Marketing Manager – Exports of Kelani Cables PLC were appointed as the Vice Presidents of the Council and Tikiri Ellepola, Assistant Vice President, Aitken Spence Travels Ltd will serve the committee as the immediate Past President.
As Committee Members of the council for the year 2017/2018, A. Baur & Co. Ltd, CIC Holdings PLC, Cinnamon Hotel Management Limited, CMA CGM Lanka, E.B. Creasy & Company PLC, Finlay Insurance Brokers, International Construction Consortium, Malship (Ceylon) Ltd and Pyramid Wilmar Ltd. were appointed.