Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council (SLMBC) of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday, 10th July, 2018 at the Hilton Colombo Residences. Counselor Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Waheed, from the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives was the Chief Guest at the event.
Mr. Niral Kadawatharatchie, the president of the SLMBC, called the meeting to the order and welcomed the chief guest, members and the invitees. A copy of the Annual Report was presented to Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Waheed. Mr. Kadawtharatchie, in his speech, emphasized on the new taxation policy that the Maldives Government is going to introduce, and stated that the Council is going discuss the matter with the Embassy, about the possibility of signing a double taxation agreement with the Maldives government which will result in tax relief to the business community of Sri Lanka, doing business with the Maldives. Mr. Kadawatharatchie thanked the two Vice Presidents, the Committee and the Chamber Staff, and wished good luck to the newly appointed Executive Committee for their future activities.
As the Chief Guest to the AGM Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Waheed, from the Embassy of the Republic of Maldives congratulated the newly elected president, Vice Presidents and other Committee Members and said: “I am confident that under the leadership of President of the Council, this council will aim to strengthen trade ties between Sri Lanka and Maldives, and continue the good works laid out by the previous president of this Council. Hence, I wish to thank the previous president and his team on their commitment in pursuing the goals of this Business Council.
The trade relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka represents a relationship with a rich historical background. Our people share commonalities in culture, language, religion, folk tradition, music and dance bearing testimony to the intensity of contact between our people for several centuries. Trade relations also dates back to hundreds of years. I believe that it was the geographic proximity between our two countries and (economic) need that brought our forefathers to the shores of Sri Lanka, with whatever little they had to trade with the Sri Lankans, thus helping us become trusted friends and close trading partners from ancient times.
But today, the trade patterns of both Sri Lanka and Maldives have undergone massive changes, and our bilateral Trade Relations cannot stop at Maldives fish only). Our Business relationships have become multidimensional and is progressing on a number of fronts – including Trade, Tourism, Education, Health as well as Social and Cultural Cooperation.
The fact that there are more than 100 registered companies in the Sri Lanka-Maldives Business Council proves the significance of our trade links. Today Sri Lanka exports close to 40 types of products to the Maldives. The most important being agricultural products like fruits, vegetables, dried ice, insecticides, pharmaceuticals, electrical goods, construction products and of course Sri Lankan tea. Even today, dried fish and canned tuna remain as Sri Lanka’s leading imports from the Maldives. As you know, the economy of Maldives is an open economy based on free enterprise. Presently our economy is stable and is growing at 6.4% annual growth rate. GDP per capita income is more than 9000 dollars with the contribution of massive infrastructure developments, especially with the addition of new resorts in the last 4 years.
Maldives is heading towards major economic transformation under the visionary leadership of His Excellency President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayyoom. I therefore take this opportunity, to invite all interested Business investors to join us in our economic transformation. I am sure that there are huge opportunities to invest in, in the Hotel Industry, Construction and Infrastructure Development and the IT Industry, to name a few. Our Embassy here is more determined to strengthen the Bilateral Trade between Sri Lanka and Maldives. In this regard, we assure our support to the Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council to work towards achieving mutual trade benefits”.
Mr. Devinda Lorensuhewa, Deputy General Manager- Marketing, Kalani Cables PLC was elected as the President of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council for the year 2018/2019. Ms. Shenali Panabokke, Director of Eastern & Allied Agencies Ltd and Mr. Kevin Edwards, CEO, E.B. Creasy & Company PLC were elected as vice presidents. Mr. Niral Kadawatharatchie, President/CEO, Freight Links International (Pvt) Ltd will serve the Committee as the immediate past president. As for Committee Members of the council for the year 2018/2019, Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd, CMA CGM Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Cinnamon Hotel Management Limited, Marine Transport Services (Pvt) Ltd, Nestle Lanka PLC, Ocean Trade and Logistics (Pvt) Ltd, Puritas (Pvt) Ltd, Pyramid Wilmar (Ltd) were appointed.
Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council 2018/2019
Seated (Left to Right)
Ms. Shenali Panabokke – Vice President, Mr. Mohamed Ahmed Waheed – Counsellor for the Republic of Maldives, Mr. Devinda Lorensuhewa – President, Mr. Kevin Edwards – Vice President, Ms. Ayoni Rangala – Secretariat, Mr. Niral Kadawatharatchie – Immediate Past President
Standing (Left to Right) – Committee Members
Mr. Rasika Pushpakumara – Cinnamon Hotel Management Ltd, Mr. Tikiri Ellepola – Aitken Spence Travels (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. B K Sudesh Mendis – Ocean Trade and Logistics (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Priyantha Colonnage – Pyramid Wilmar (Ltd), Mr. Manjula Marasinghe – Marine Transport Services (Pvt) ltd, Mr. Manura Wickramasinghe – Puritas (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Ikram Ghazali – CMA CGM Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, Mr. Bandula Egodage – Nestle Lanka PLC
Photo gallery – 10th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Business Council