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Govt should promote local business, partner with them - Harry Jayawardena

The new government should promote local business entrepreneurs and look at entering into joint venture partnerships with local companies rather than offering 100% of projects to foreign companies, said Sri Lankan business magnate and investor Harry Jayawardena.

He was speaking at the Business Today Top 30 awards ceremony on Monday night at Shangri- La Hotel Colombo. “Sri Lanka should not go with the Begging bowl to countries seeking loans. “What I am saying is not to discourage foreign projects but give more support to encourage and egg on local enterprises which has all the resources and talent to match any foreign projects,” he said.

Jayawardena also disclosed that his company, Melstacorp PLC, paid over Rs. 65 billion as taxes last year. “Future governments must ensure that relief be granted to people who are struggling for life. Unfortunately there seem to be little or no time to address their issues.”

Having introduced the Business Today Passionate segment in 2017, the organizers also honored four enterprising business leaders for their continued investment in the country’s future and confidence in the economy.

The Business Today TOP 30, 2017-2018 and Business Today Special Recognition award ceremony was held under the patronage of Chief Guest, Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka. The event was also graced by Venerable Galboda Gnanissara Thero, Chief Incumbent of the Gangaramaya Temple.

John Keells Holdings retained its Number One ranking for the ninth consecutive year in the Business Today TOP 30, 2017-2018. JKH has constantly maintained its position with a resilient growth momentum and investment strategy.

Hatton National Bank retained its position at Number Two with a focus on becoming a future ready digital bank. Commercial Bank of Ceylon once again ranked at Number Three, reflecting decades of consistent growth. Diversification and a growing regional presence ensured Lanka Orix Leasing Company retained its position at Number Four. Steady progress and capitalization on opportunity ensured Sampath Bank climbed to Number Five. Consolidating its position as the converged communications leader, Dialog Axiata ranked at Number Six. Ceylinco Insurance raised five positions to Number Seven, with a performance propelled by diverse business sectors.

A momentous operating year saw Melstacorp retain its position at Number Eight. Central Finance Company climbed to Number Nine with a strong performance through diversification. A robust balance sheet with greater investment drove Vallibel One eight positions to Number Ten.

Acknowledging the contribution made by visionary individuals to the economy, this year, Business Today also presented Special Recognition to four eminent individuals.

Sohli Captain, a gentleman businessman and philanthropist, has consistently invested in the Sri Lankan economy. Never seeking the limelight, Sohli Captain and his companies are the largest shareholders of John Keells Holdings and Chemical Industries Colombo (CIC).

Renowned for his business acumen, Indra Kumara Silva, Chairman, Indra Traders, is a pioneering major shareholder of Sampath Bank and also holds significant shares in Commercial Bank.

Alexis Lovell, Group Chairman, Ben Holdings and Chairman of UB Finance and National Asset Management have contributed to the Sri Lankan economy with much-needed investment and leadership. Damitha Ramanayake, Founder and Group Chairman, DAMRO was recognised for his perseverance, innovative thinking and for creating a Sri Lankan brand that has an international outlook.

(Daily News)

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