Committee of the Sri Lanka - Maldives Bilateral Business Council
Seated from Left: Samantha Ranatunga - Chemical Industries (Colombo) Plc, Niral Kadawatharatchi - Freight Links International (Pte) Ltd., Jayantissa Kehelpannala - John Keells Holdings Plc, Ali Hussain Didi - High Commissioner for Maldives, Hussain Hashim - Malship (Ceylon) Ltd., Tikiri Ellepola - Aitken Spence Travels Ltd.
Standing from Left: Priyantha Bandara - Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Shenali Panabokke - Eastern & Allied Agencies Ltd., Nick Nicolaou - HSBC, Lilakshi de Mel - Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and Priyantha Kolonnage - Pyramid Wilmar (Pvt) Ltd.
Not in picture - Ajitha Pasqual - Seylan Bank Plc, Kevin Edwards - E.B. Creasy & Co. Ltd., Dilshan Wijewardena - Nestle Lanka Plc
The Third Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka - Maldives Bilateral Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was held on 28 October, 2010 at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Colombo. Addressing the gathering, Patron of the Council, Ali Hussain Didi, High Commissioner for the Republic of Maldives in Colombo emphasised the importance of streamlining the regulatory framework in Sri Lanka and joint tourism promotion between Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives. He further invited the business community in Sri Lanka to invest in Maldives in the health and education sector.
Jayantissa Kehelpannala, Immediate Past President of the Council during his speech urged the council to look beyond the horizon to make the Council a dynamic force that will be active in the frontline of the many business opportunities that are emerging in both our countries and in the SAARC region. He further stated that Trade between Sri Lanka and the Maldives has been bumpy but seen significant value over the last five years. Throughout the period, exports from Sri Lanka to the Maldives have been higher than imports to Sri Lanka, resulting in positive balance of trade between Sri Lanka and Maldives. However, during 2009, exports have drastically decreased mainly due to the global financial crisis. However, imports from Maldives to Sri Lanka have shown a slight increase during the period under review. The tourism sector has shown a slight increase in 2009 amounting to 31,890 tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from Maldives compared to 31,458 in 2008.
The newly appointed President of the Council, Hussain Hashim during his brief remarks stated that based on the performance indicators mentioned, there is a strong sense of responsibility that lies on the council to actively further develop trade performance for the betterment of these two "island nations" in the SAARC region. Hashim thanked the outgoing office bearers for setting high standards for the council and requested the support of the newly appointed committee to implement the way forward strategy of the Sri Lanka - Maldives Bilateral Business Council with special emphasis on joint tourism promotion, Education and HR Development, lobby with the respective Govt. Institutions in Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives through the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to reciprocate on harmonising tariff structures based on the findings of the study carried out by the council for export of fruits and vegetable from Sri Lanka to Maldives and import of value added Fisheries products to Sri Lanka from Maldives, venture into technology transfer from Sri Lanka to Maldives for Agri sector development in inhabited islands, using hydro phonics and other advanced agro development techniques. Output of this initiative will be marketed to resorts in the Maldives.
The following Committee was appointed for the period 2010 - 2011 at the Annual General Meeting -
Office Bearers - Hussain Hashim - President, Tikiri Ellepola - Vice President, Niral Kadawatharatchi - Vice President
Committee - Ceylon Biscuits Ltd., Chemical Industries (Colombo) Plc, Eastern & Allied Agencies, E.B. Creasy & Co. Ltd., John Keells Holdings Plc, HSBC, Nestle Lanka Ltd., Pyramid Wilmar Ltd. and Seylan Bank Plc