Sri Lanka’s premier business chamber completed 179 years of steadfast service to the nation yesterday, 25 March. This marks a commendable achievement for the organisation, which has continued to play a pivotal role in the business landscape of Sri Lanka, since its inception in the 19th century.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce was established in 1839. Between 1834 and 1837 a few Chambers of Commerce had already been established in the region – in Bengal (1834), Bombay and Madras (1836) in India, in Canton in China (1834), in Penang in Malaysia (1837) and in Singapore (1837). At the time, Ceylon was under British rule as were India, Singapore, Malaysia and a part of China. This group of Asian chambers are known to have been among the earliest to be set up anywhere in the world.
The decisive nudge to establish a Chamber of Commerce in Ceylon came from Governor Stewart Mackenzie who was keenly interested in promoting Ceylon’s agriculture and trade. Since then, the Ceylon Chamber has evolved and continues to represent the interest of diverse sectors of business, and continues to foster and protect the growing commerce of Ceylon.
In 1839 the Ceylon Chamber commenced with a membership of 11 and 179 years later, the Chamber counts a direct membership of 618 Members, 35 Affiliated Associations, and a cumulative outreach of over 8,500 companies islandwide.
Over the years, the Chamber has remained a proud institution whilst providing service and sound leadership to all industry and service sectors. The Chamber will continue to uphold its ‘Ten Principles of Governance,’ which stand for the development of the Sri Lankan industry at large. Being a responsible voice and a formidable advocate, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce truly is the “premier forum for business”.
Secretary General and its CEO Dhara Wijayatilake noted: “The reasons that inspired the formation of the Chamber 179 years ago, remain valid even today and it is with a sense of satisfaction that we note the achievements in realising the goals the Chamber has set for itself.”
This year the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce specially celebrates the launch of its revamped web platforms – chamber.lk, along with economy.lk and the launch of a new web portal bizinfo.lk, which are scheduled to take place shortly. It is excited to reveal the new platforms which will provide efficient means of dissemination of information, and deliver a more welcoming and resourceful experience to its users.