working on framework to invest in trees
Touchwood Investments Ltd has welcomed any Central Bank investigation
into their business and said the company was working with the regulatory
authorities to establish a framework to ensure that only credible
companies with the required resources offer to the public investment
products like trees.
welcomes departments like the Central Bank to investigate the system
under which we work so as to develop the long-awaited framework
under which companies like Touchwood should operate,” the
firm’s Chairman Roscoe Maloney said in a statement.
we employ in our business plan are those that have been enacted
and operating in many other countries for decades now. The product
we have developed and marketed is an investment in private forestry,
otherwise known as a managed investment,” he said.
investment is internationally regarded as one of the most profitable
and secure investments available, he said. The investor in a managed
investment owns the company’s products and employs the company
to expertly manage and maintain it. If the company suffers any financial
difficulty the investor can immediately take possession of the product
invested in, Maloney said.
is not last in line for funds distribution. This is the most unique
and secure aspect of the investment in our wood lots,” he
said. In the conventional method of share investment or a fixed
deposit investors do not have priority in case of a financial disaster,
other investments only our Mahogany wood lots give the investor
this magnitude of control over the investment. Our clients receive
not only a good return but also the ownership of the wood lots and
land as a collateral during the investment period.” Maloney
said the investment industry still does not understand the new industry.
project to be launched
Following the government’s E-Sri Lanka initiative, eServices
Lanka officials announced that Sri Lanka’s eagerly anticipated
electronic cargo clearance system is set to commence operations
from January 2003.
which has been on the drawing board for several years, was given
a boost in July this year, when Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister
Ravi Karunanayake spearheaded the $3 million project following the
long felt need for a national gateway for the import and export
Under this project,
a centralised switch known as an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
would be installed, incorporating what is known as UN/EDIFACT (EDI
for administration, commerce and transport) standards, which is
the standardised messaging system used across the globe, linking
various institutions such as the Sri Lanka Customs, the Sri Lanka
Ports Authority, Sri Lankan Airlines, Board of Investment, SAGT,
Shipping Lines and later on financial institutions.
of this project is to create a completely electronic cargo clearing
system, which would inter-link all relevant sectors and expedite
cargo clearance procedures.
of eServices Lanka Ltd Rohan Weerasinghe said that the international
messaging service used for this project would be incorporating both
EDI and the latest XML technologies to facilitate electronic document
interchange. “The EDI messaging service is accepted and is
adopted internationally,” he said.
said the primary technology partner in this project, Global eXchange
Services, is using the same advanced technology which it has successfully
implemented in Thailand and Hong Kong, which boasts of nearly 15
million e-transactions per annum.
said the electronic cargo clearing system would be launched in three
stages, the first being import cargo clearance in January, followed
by transhipment clearance and finally incorporating the export cargo
clearance system in the third stage.
A standard fee
of $4.50 would be levied on each e-transaction. eServices Lanka
will also link up all major importers to the system and would also
connect special bureaus, which will be set up to help importers
who do not possess the necessary IT facilities to communicate via
we hope these new bureaus will create a new industry in Sri Lanka,
to help small and medium scale importers to use this new technology,
and would undoubtedly benefit importers who cannot invest in the
necessary infrastructure,” he said. The EDI facility will
be accessible both through a dial-up mode and the Internet.
of Customs Sarath Jayatileke said that EDI would help reduce the
amount of documentation delays and expedite the release of goods
within a day.
He said that
through the facility, reputed traders with proven track records
would be able to clear their goods almost instantly through a green
light channel system, which will be incorporated in to the system.
He said the
beauty of the system is the fact that it allows any player to trace
a consignment of goods from the ship to its final destination, facilitating
transparency and accuracy. General Manger IT of South Asia Gateway
Terminals (SAGT) Upul Jinadasa, who is the secretary of the government
appointed Advisory Committee for this project, was of the view that
this system should have been installed in Sri Lanka 10 years ago.
“We’re glad that the government has shown great interest
in initiating this project, and the support of the trading community
in achieving our commercial objectives of an efficient cargo clearing
system, has been resounding.”
that it was true that each player did not possess the same levels
of technology. “This was one of the challenges that eServices
had to face. To link up all players using their existing technology,
instead of making them all invest in the latest technology.”
He said that if each player were to acquire the latest technology,
it would have been a costly and time consuming exercise.
objective is to create a paperless situation, in which the delays
caused in physically obtaining so many documents from various authorities,
and the hazards of standing in queues would be completely eliminated.”
as Customs declarations would now be initially filled by a clearing
agent, and the data would then be shared amongst all relevant authorities
connected to the EDI system. Approvals and payments would also be
made through the system, saving considerable time for a clearing
agent who previously was required to physically visit the relevant
institutions and seek approvals and make the necessary payments.
said that it would take around 1 or 2 years for a paperless situation
to come about, due to the possible legal issues which could arise.
“The main thing is to get the EDI system operational and induce
such changes gradually, avoiding complications as far as possible.”
Customs Director and Chairman of the Advisory committee P.D.K Fernando
said that the customs staff had the necessary training and IT infrastructure
to initially adopt the new system, and would seek the help of external
consultants in order to constantly improve the department’s
resourcefulness of the facility.
talk show from Sri Lanka First
First, an apolitical business organization, has announced the launch
of a TV talk show on issues related to peace and the peace process.
It will be launched on Rupavahini on January 23, the first anniversary
of the cessation of hostilities between the government and the LTTE.
The show is
aimed at giving people a better understanding of the issues concerning
Sri Lankans as a nation, including the need for a bipartisan approach,
federalism and cultural synergies.
The Sri Lanka
First TV Show will feature a weekly panel discussion with well-known
and respected members of civil society across different professions.
From business leaders, academics, artists and musicians to sports
personalities as well as the general public.
Ms. Neela Marikkar,
spokesperson for Sri Lanka First said, “The Sri Lanka First
Talk Show will involve the public through interviews conducted across
the island. People’s opinions and viewpoints will be video
taped and played during the programme and also taken up for discussions
by the panelists.
will be trilingual, (English, Tamil and Sinhala) using the spoken
word and subtitles. There will be an equal language mix to ensure
it has an extensive reach.
After the first
telecast on December 23, the Sinhala programme will be aired every
Monday between 8.00pm and 8.30pm. The English programme will be
aired every Thursday commencing December 26 from 9.30 pm to 10.00pm
on Channel Eye and the Tamil programme will be aired every Monday
from 8.00- 8.30pm.
voted one of top 10 hotels
and Spa, a flagship of the Confifi Group, was declared as one of
the top ten hotels in the world by the UK’s leading up market
tour operator, Saga Holidays.
The Saga Annual Award Dinner 2002 was held recently at Hilton Paddington
in London when Stefan Furkhan, Managing Director of the Confifi
Group, was present to receive the award for the third place in the
top ten category of Travellers World, which was won by Eden Resort
Saga is one
of the UK’s biggest and most up market tour operators specializing
in holidays for mature clients. Saga Annual Awards Ceremonies are
held in recognition of those partners and suppliers who have achieved
extremely high standards and help achieve Saga’s customer
The awards are
purely based on the results of the questionnaires completed by customers
at the end of their holiday.
assists Hope Cancer Project
has become an official partner of the Hope Cancer Hospital Project,
which is spearheaded by the Sri Lankan cricketers, the company announced.
At a simple ceremony held recently at the Cancer Hospital in Maharagama,
Dilmah presented the Hope Project with a cheque for Rs 500,000,
bringing the company’s total contribution to in excess of
rupees one million, and formerly announced that they would adopt
Hope as their key corporate social responsibility project.
its association with Hope by supplying one hundred thousand cricket
posters for use as a project fundraiser. Dilmah’s contribution
is based on sales of Dilmah Tea in Sri Lanka, as well as, an outright
contribution by the company, innovatively linked to the Dilmah Cricket
With sales of
Dilmah Tea within Sri Lanka, Dilmah will donate one rupee for every
500 grammes of tea sold, which will provide the public with an opportunity
to contribute towards the success of this vital institution for
the benefit of all Sri Lankans. In effect, every consumer becomes
an active participant in the project.
To date, the
cricket players’ performances have earned nearly rupees quarter
million for Hope, which will be borne by the MJF Foundation. Dilmah
will also utilise its varied communication programmes to promote
the Hope Project. The company is looking to widen its support for
the project through other schemes in 2003.
The MJF Foundation
is a charitable arm of the MJF Group, which actively promotes the
welfare of the Group’s staff and workers, as well as pursuing
charitable projects with wider objectives. The Foundation sponsors
free breast cancer screening facilities at the National Hospital
in Sri Lanka and operates nutrition, health and education development