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3rd week running: Elder citizens wait for elusive 15%

More than three weeks after the Government promised a higher interest on deposits of Sri Lanka’s senior citizens after last month’s interim budget, the offer remains an elusive promise. It has caused a lot of anxiety among elder citizens, some calling the Business Times for news on any forward movement. Treasury officials are still to [...]

Stalled talks on Krrish resume tomorrow

Indian-based Krrish Group will be returning to Sri Lanka next week for discussions with the new government on the long delayed controversial multi-million rupee Krrish Transworks Tower project, a top official said. Krrish, since May 2013, is yet to make a final payment of Rs.589. 7 million to close the four acre land lease deal. [...]

DFCC–NDB merger awaits government stance

While both DFCC and NDB see the merits of merging with each other, they are awaiting further communication from the government on this matter, according to officials. “We (two banks) both see some merit in consolidation, but we want to get an indication on the Treasury’s stance on this matter as the government is a [...]

GK protests return to haunt authorities

GK protests return to haunt authorities

Depositors of Golden Key staged a protest in front of the Golden Key office building at R.A. De Mel Mawatha, Colombo this week urging the authorities to revoke the Central Bank’s action plan for repayment. Pic by Nilan Maligaspe shows a protestor carrying a placard which also accuses former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal [...]

Exclusive island of 48 hectares off Hambantota nears completion

Sri Lanka’s map is set to change in the South with the Hambantota port city project island with a land mass of 48 hectares nearing completion. Despite the hype in Colombo, Hambantota has been silently completing the port city project by filling earth in the Indian Ocean to add an island to the Sri Lankan [...]

SEC seeks new DG

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) today advertised for a new Director General, less than a month after appointing its new Chairman Thilak Karunaratne, sources said. “The new commission comprising Marina Fernando, Dili Wijewardene, Suresh Shah, Ranel Wijesinghe, Rajeeva Amarasuriya, P. Samarasiri (Senior Deputy Governor Central Bank) and Sajith Attygalle, representing the Treasury, had decided [...]

Army-run hotels may be discontinued

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is unlikely to allow the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) continue its hospitality service running hotels enticing tourists, the government said on Friday. Sports and Tourism Minister Navin Dissanayaka told the Business Times that the PM was “not into the army doing business.” He noted that in terms of an economic model [...]

“Robin Hood” or “Saradiel” may be misunderstood

Subsequent to the downfall of King Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Presidential polls held on 08.01.2015, the new “Maithree” government led by (President) Maithripala Sirisena and (Prime Minister) Ranil Wickremesinghe started work immediately under the promised “100 Day Programme.” In order to regularise the promised concessions such as cheaper consumer goods and services to the public [...]

No relief for senior citizens on new interest rates

Delays in implementing the budget-approved higher interest rate of 15 per cent for deposits of senior citizens strongly suggest the existence of quite a few teething problems in the new administration. Dozens of senior citizens have been sent from pillar to post in the past three weeks in their bid to ascertain from banks whether [...]

Tamper-proof seals bar Sri Lankan retail shops from adulterating coconut oil

Tamper-proof seals bar Sri Lankan retail shops from adulterating coconut oil

Coconut, including coconut oil, has been an essential element of Sri Lankan food. It also has its share of controversies particularly in the debate over the health aspects of coconut oil. But that appears to have been sorted out over time and, after much research, is now considered an oil with health benefits. Research shows [...]

Asian Alliance Insurance introduces new product – Click2Claim

Asian Alliance Insurance introduces new product – Click2Claim

Asian Alliance Insurance said this week it was introducing its “Click2Claim” Motor product that is expected to revolutionise motor insurance in the country. With a simple Click2Claim, motor customers will be able to intimate their claims to Asian Alliance, avoid any inconvenience associated with an accident, and promptly be informed of their claim settlement. “Asian [...]

Softlogic on target with new ODEL mall, Kandy hospital and Movenpick Hotel

The Softlogic Group which acquired Sri Lanka’s popular fashion retail group ODEL last year has a lot on its plate this year with three more projects; the mega Odel mall in Colombo, a hospital in Kandy and a hotel in Colombo. “We are building our Kandy Hospital and Movenpick while the 5-star hotel located next [...]

Hambantota port explodes with thumping losses in bunker fuel sale

Purchase of bunker fuel for the Hambantota port has stopped as it had incurred losses amounting to US$16 million since it commenced operations in June 2014. Newly appointed Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Dr Lakdas Panagoda speaking with the Business Times said bunkering at the Hambantota incurred losses. The authorities found that bunkering was [...]

Governance in unlisted public limited companies

The article written by a reader that appeared in the Business Times on February 8th under the caption “Good Governance should be in all companies, not only listed one” was good reading material. I am in agrement with the writer in his analysis as how directors in control of such companies operate and pay themselves [...]

Nestlé Lanka delivers stable and consistent performance in 2014

Nestlé Lanka delivers stable and  consistent performance in 2014

Nestlé Lanka PLC this week said it posted revenue of Rs. 32.9 billion for the year ending December 2014, up by 6.4 per cent from the previous year. Revenue for the last quarter to December was Rs. 8 billion. Company profit for the full year was Rs. 3.8 billion, up 14.2 per cent from the [...]

Hybrid car importers urge the government to extend the one month tax relief period

Individual importers of hybrid vehicles are urging the government to extend the one month tax relief period granted for them as it takes at least three months to arrive from abroad to the landing port in Hambantota. Excise duty on vehicles is imposed on IF value on its arrival at the port. The Treasury issued [...]

The Golden Key saga

Recently two TV channels interviewed Lalith Kotelawela, former Ceylinco Group chairman, with regard to the Golden Key (GK) saga. Soon after the collapse of GK he summoned all depositors to the BMICH and informed all present to give him time to settle each and every one in full – which I believe he would have. [...]

Intex Technologies says focusing on rapid expansion in Sri Lankan mobile market

Intex Technologies, one of India’s fastest growing mobile phones, consumer durables and IT accessories company, this week announced expansion plans in Sri Lanka. “There is a huge potential in the Sri Lankan smartphone market, we have seen it grow rapidly in the past one year and we see a great opportunity,” said Keshav Bansal, Director, [...]

Sri Lanka’s estate workers housing societies empower plantation community

Sri Lanka’s estate workers housing societies empower plantation community

Plantation workers and residents have been significantly empowered by the establishment of Estate Worker Housing Cooperative Societies (EWHCS) which provide them loans and access to many goods and services within their respective estates, as well as creating job opportunities. The EWHCS were first established in 1993, by the Plantation Human Development Trust (PHDT) (a tripartite [...]

ACCA sustainability reporting awards celebrate transparency, accountability

Sri Lanka’s most transparent, accountable and responsible entities will be rewarded for the 11th year in succession, when ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Sri Lanka hosts the ACCA Sustainability Reporting Awards on February 24th at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo. With Deputy Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion Eran Wickramaratne as Chief Guest [...]

Eran leads Sri Lankan investment promotion delegation for Singapore meetings

Eran Wickramaratne, Deputy Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion, last week led a delegation to Singapore to attend a series of events aiming at promoting Singaporean investment in Sri Lanka which was organised by Board of Invesments (BOI), Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Bank of Mizuho, Singapore. Members of the delegation from [...]

Government intervention in private sector wages could infringe on ILO conventions

The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) has raised a controversial issue, which is likely to stir up a hornet’s nest amongst workers and unions, by saying that the recent wage increases proposed in the January 29 budget will violate international conventions. At the National Labour Advisory Council meeting held recently, presided over by Justice and [...]

Kingslake introduces

Colombo-based Kingslake last week launched, a cloud platform for rapid application development (RAD) at an event titled “Reaching for the Cloud: Developing Powerful Next-Gen Apps” held in Colombo. Kingslake showcased how, an aPaaS (Application Platform as a Service) solution, is enabling anyone, anywhere to start creating powerful and innovative next-gen applications in the [...]

SL architects association urges Govt. to give it a permanent building

The premier body of architects in Sri Lanka which plays a dominant role in the building construction industry is without a permanent building of its own. Prof. (Ms) Chitra Weddikkara, President, Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) making the welcome address at the inauguration of the 33rd Annual Sessions of Architect 2015 drew the attention [...]

Etihad Airways helps in Sri Lankan education and health initiative

Etihad Airways helps in Sri Lankan education and health initiative

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has donated more than UAE dirhams 100,000 to underprivileged communities in Sri Lanka. A delegation from Etihad Airways visited Sri Lanka last week to present the donation, raised through a series of charitable initiatives in Abu Dhabi, the airline said in a statement. Abdul Hamid [...]

Top professionals join CIC Group

The CIC group has appointed top professionals – Dinesh Weerakkody and Amal Cabraal – to its boards in the organisation. Mr Weerakkody has been appointed to CIC Holdings PLC as an Independent non-Executive Director while Mr. Cabraal has been appointed as the non-Executive Chairman of CIC Feeds (Private) Ltd. Mr. Weerakkody is currently the Chairman [...]

Samarasiri is CB Senior Deputy Governor, two new directors appointed to Central Bank

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has opened two new departments focussing on risk management and audit aimed at minimising some of the problems in the past during the tenure of former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, official sources said this week. Kusum Dassanayake, who was attached to the Governor’s Secretariat as the Director, has been [...]

Social entrepreneurship to be popularised in Sri Lanka

Social entrepreneurship is to be popularised in Sri Lanka with the aim of uplifting the living standard of the marginalised sector and lower economic classes with little or no access to the resources needed to build their future. This initiative has been taken by Dr. Darin Gunasekera, the architect behind the setting up of first [...]

hSenid Mobile partners Ubuntu’s award winning Juju

hSenid Mobile Solutions has partnered award winning cloud orchestrator, Juju, an open source management tool developed by Canonical Ltd, the company that created Ubuntu, the Sri Lankan firm said last week. Juju uses the Charm Partner Programme to demonstrate software, integrate and scale up and/or down at the click of a button enabling customers to [...]

CB officials who failed to take action to stem CIFL collapse must be punished by law, depositors say

Depositors of the failed Central Investment and Finance Ltd (CIFL) are planning to stage a protest on March 3 along the round-about leading to the Kotte Parliament with the participation of all the members of the CIFL Depositors Association (CIFLDA) in a bid to awaken politicians to their plight. K.W. Gunawardena, President, CIFLDA told the [...]

Labour shortage on estates? Follow the Endane Estate contract plucking model

Labour shortage on estates? Follow the  Endane Estate contract plucking model

ENDANE ESTATE, Kahawatte – Many Sri Lankan regional plantations have been facing a daunting problem during the past two decades – a dearth of workers – which adversely affected the production of tea. A few years back tea estates were teetering on the brink of collapse due to a loss of production coupled with rising [...]

Finance Minister to mediate between GK company directors and disgruntled depositors

The new government is to intervene in the settlement of the Golden Key repayment fiasco just as disgruntled depositors of one of the aggrieved associations and GK company directors are at loggerheads levelling allegations against each other. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has convened a meeting of GK directors and representatives of three GK depositors associations [...]

Navin banks on “new thinking” to turn around Sri Lanka Tourism

Sri Lanka Tourism has an untouched US$15 million in promotional funds since last year that is likely to be used for direct marketing with less participation at international trade fairs. Sports and Tourism Minister Navin Dissanayaka in an interview with the Business Times on Friday at his Sports Ministry office in Colombo said they have [...]

Sri Lanka asks public input to probes on tourism, sports irregularities

Sri Lanka Tourism and Sports Ministry has established a 3-member committee to pursue and explore irregularities that had taken place in these two sectors in the past five years, an announcement in the media stated this week. The ministry had made a public appeal in this regard for any member of the public or official [...]

Tourism and Lankan trees

Tourism and Lankan trees

The Government and the tourism industry have teamed up under the “One Million Tree Stories” project by Rotary International to get tourists to sponsor a tree for US$1 through the HNB at the Bandaranaike International Airport for transit passengers or HNB branches islandwide or through the Rotary tree website to pay online targetting both present [...]

Forbes Travel Guide announces 2015 Star Ratings

Forbes Travel Guide recently unveiled its 57th list of worldwide Star Rating recipients, including 18 new Five-Star hotels, 46 new Four-Star hotels and 26 new hotels in the recommended category, a media release issued by the company stated. As Forbes Travel Guide expands its ratings worldwide, the number of Five-Star hotels now totals 115 — [...]

Development of Sri Lankan condos and apartments could erode hotel margins – report

The construction of Sri Lankan condominiums and apartments in urban areas would intrude into the hotels’ portion of Foreign Guest Nights, eating into their margins, analysts say. The availability of informal sector hotel rooms (approximately 11,700 according to the Institute of Policy Studies) will pry tourist contributions away from the city hotels, a Bartleet Religare [...]

Sri Lanka tourism is an industry targeting $8 bln revenue

Sri Lanka tourism is an industry targeting $8 bln revenue

Sri Lanka tourism is a US$ 8 billion revenue targeted industry which is today just $1.7 billion, according to newly-appointed Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Rohantha Athukorala. He told the Business Times on the sidelines of the ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ (tourism trade fair) media briefing held in Colombo on Thursday, that “If [...]

Jaela resident invents massage machine to soothe tired muscles

Jaela resident invents massage machine to soothe tired muscles

Not only in Sri Lanka but the world over many lives are lost due to lack or inability of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness. Modern lifestyles and the stress that accompanies it have been identified as the main problems Physical fitness is the key to a healthy life and a body massage is [...]

Crisis-hit F&G and PDL get wakeup call after two years

Depositors of the crisis-hit Ceylinco Finance and Guarantee, Real Estate Company Ltd and Property Developers (Pvt) Ltd (F&G – PDL and RECL) received a wakeup call this week with the announcement of an entry of a foreign investor backed by a payment plan made by the Independent Association of Depositors of F & G – [...]

Central Bank monthly policy review on Feb 24

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s monetary policy review for February will be issued on the morning of Tuesday, February 24 after the Monetary Board meets the previous day, Monday, officials said. This is the second meeting of the board after Arjuna Mahendran, an experienced banker, took over the helm of governor at the banking [...]

MTD Walkers PLC buys real estate developer

MTD Walkers PLC, the integrated infrastructure and engineering solutions provider, recently completed the 100 per cent acquisition of Wincon Development Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd for a consideration of Rs.2.17 billion, marking its foray into real estate and property development. MTD Walkers PLC raised Rs. 2.42 billion on the recently oversubscribed rights issue, the company said. Wincon [...]

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