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Sri Lanka-Italy Business Council of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce holds AGM
The Executive Committee of the Sri Lanka Italy Business Council 2020-2021. Seated from left: Ayoni Rangala (Secretariat), Niranjan Dissanayake, Allegra Baistrocchi, Tyrell Roche, Janaka Gunasekera and Sonali Liyanamana. Standing from left: Dushy Jayaweera, Jonathan Suppiah, Kusal de Silva, Kulanthi Silva, Kishan Thomas, Rajeev Aloysius, Shamil Mendis and Ranjit Jayewardene. Not in the picture: Ambassador of Italy to Sri Lanka and the Maldives H.E. Rita Mannella (ex-officio)
The Sri Lanka Italy Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 21st Annual General Meeting on 3 September at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Allegra Baistrocchi, Deputy Head of Mission, Italian Embassy in Colombo attended the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Outgoing President Sonali Liyanamana stated that the two years certainly had been a difficult time for Sri Lanka due to events such as the Easter Sunday attacks and the COVID-19 pandemic. "Both have had an impact on our business and investor confidence. The economy has shown some resilience with little consequences in the financial markets. Celebration of the World Food Day, Members Annual Fellowship Dinner 2019, Donation of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to IDH Hospital and the initiation by the Council to conduct a series of webinars to boost economic relations between the two countries and support economic growth are some of the key activities carried out by the Council during the year."
Ms. Baistrocchi stated that this was the time for a renaissance. She highlighted that the Sri Lanka-Italy Business Council and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce together with the Italian Embassy would be looking to further deepen ties between the two countries not only in commercial aspects, but also in tourism, industrial cooperation, and investment through a series of initiatives that would be carried out virtually first and when conditions permit in person too.
"The first will be a series of webinars to promote and boost awareness and deepen knowledge of Italian manufacturing. Italy is the fifth largest manufacturer in the world. The Italian Government provides export financing tools for the benefit of the importers, which needs awareness in Sri Lanka as many are not aware of these benefits."
This series of webinars, with the support of the Chamber of Commerce, will start with a general introduction, then have sectorial encounters and will terminate with a more in-depth look at what financing SACE/SIMEST can provide.
The newly-appointed President Tyrell Roche stated: "All though there are obstacles faced in the last year and this year, the past Presidents and their teams had a smooth execution of all the events. With the appointment of a consortium of industry experts from different sectors as committee members to the Council, it will efficiently and progressively work towards achieving the growing demand for trade, investment and tourism developments.
"During my term as the President, I aim to strengthen relationships between the two countries, especially in the area of business. There are many investment opportunities in Europe; we need to look at the bigger picture and identify avenues such as renewable energy, e-commerce, medical tourism, research and development, innovation and technology. And also, we need to focus on construction, transportation, and real estate activities have in recent years been amongst the top 10 contributors to Sri Lanka's growth," said Roche.
Tyrell Roche of Lanka Tiles PLC was elected as the President while Janaka Gunasekera of A. Baur & Company (Pvt) Ltd. and Niranjan Dissanayake of Ferrero Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. will serve as the Vice President from 2020 through 2021.
Sonali Liyanamana of World Link Air Services Ltd. will serve as the Immediate Past President. Jonathan Suppiah from Inter Air and Sea Logistics (Pvt) Ltd., Dushy Jayaweera from Acorn Aviation (Pvt) Ltd., Kishan Thomas from John Keells Holdings PLC/Walkers Tours Ltd., Kulanthi Silva from NP Capital Ltd., Ranjit Jayewardene from Ranmal International (Pvt) Ltd., Shamil Mendis from Spear International (Pvt) Ltd. and Kusal de Silva from Sampath Bank PLC will serve as Executive Committee Members of the Sri Lanka-Italy Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. Rajeev Aloysius of The Autodrome PLC was named an Honorary Member of the Council.