30th AGM of Ceylon Chamber’s Sri Lanka – Pakistan Business Council

The 30th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka – Pakistan Business Council (SLPBC) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was held on 27th September, 2022 at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo with the presence of His Excellency Major General (Rtd) Umar Farooq Burki, High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka as the Chief Guest who is also the Patron of the Council.

Mr. Somasundaram Deivanayagam, Managing Director, Eswaran Brothers Exports was re-elected as the President of the Council at the AGM for the term 2022/23.

Acknowledging the efforts of the Council in facilitating bilateral trade and investment, Mr. Deivanayagam highlighted the need to enhance Sri Lanka’s trade balance, saying the Council ‘strongly recommends the establishment of a Committee with representatives of Key Government Institutions to implement steps that needs to be taken to promote trade and expansion of investment opportunities between the two countries and also focused on several areas of mutual interest including sharing technical knowledge’.

H.E. Umar Farooq Burki said the High Commission of Pakistan through its Trade and Investment Wing would continue to support the SLPBC’s efforts in this arena. While highlighting that Pakistan’s exports to Sri Lanka have increased to over US$ 63 million in July-August 2022, compared to US$ 51 million of the same period in FY 2021-22, imports from Sri Lanka faced an almost 29% decline during this period.

The decline in Sri Lanka’s exports can be attributed to the ongoing economic situation in the country. He added that as a result of efforts, the government of Pakistan has lifted the blanket import ban on non-essential items in order to address the balance of payment issue. The ban had also affected major items from Sri Lanka such as coconut and coconut products, tamarind, cosmetics, personal care and kitchen products and the exports of these items from Sri Lanka have now resumed.

The High Commissioner also briefed the participants on the devastating flood situation in Pakistan which has caused huge loss of life, livelihoods and infrastructure while affecting more than 33 million people in the country. He further extended his heartfelt gratitude for the outpour of concern, support and prayers from the people and government of Sri Lanka. He requested the Sri Lankan business community to come forward and donate generously for the flood victims of Pakistan, during this great hour of need.

Mr. Kaushal Rajapaksa, Proprietor, Kalhari Group of Companies and Mr. Shaameel Mohideen, Chief Executive Officer, Spillburg Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. were re-elected as the Vice Presidents of the Sri Lanka – Pakistan Council for the period 2022 – 2023, while Mr. Azmy Mohideen, will serve as the Immediate Past President and Mr. Rohitha Tillekeratne as a Hony. Member. Akbar Brothers (Pvt) Ltd.,  DMW Ventures Pvt. Ltd.,  M.A. Razak & Company Pvt Ltd.,   MAC Holdings Pvt Ltd. and  Rhino Roofing Products Ltd. were elected to serve on the Committee for the period 2022 – 2023.

Considering the outstanding services rendered by the Past President, the Sri Lanka –Pakistan Business Council conferred  Mr. Azmy Mohideen as an Honorary Member of the Council at the AGM.

The Sri Lanka ‐ Pakistan Business Council was inaugurated in August, 1991 under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to promote bilateral trade, tourism and investment between Sri Lanka and Pakistan and it serves as the recognized representative of business sector. The membership is open to companies already doing business with Pakistan or interested in venturing into Pakistan. To join the membership of the Council, contact the Secretariat at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce by E-mail businesscouncils@chamber.lk

Seated Left to Right
Indhra Kaushal Rajapaksa, Vice President, His Excellency Major General (Rtd) Umar Farooq Burki, High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, S. Deivanayagam, President, Shaameel Mohideen, Vice President and Lilakshini de Mel, Secretariat of The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
Standing from Left to Right
Yogeswaran Yogaratnam, Akbar Brothers, Rohitha Tillekaratna, Merchant Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., Ehab Razak, M.A. Razak & Company, Indika Rajapaksha, Rhino Roofing Products, Azmy Mohideen, Lanka Commodity Holdings (Pvt) Ltd., Wasantha de Silva, DMW Ventures Pvt Ltd. and Gayan Maddumarachchi, MAC Holdings.