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Vibrant discussion on ETCA

Vibrant discussion on ETCA

From left: (STBC President) Amal Fernando, Gamini Nanda Gunawardana, Asoka Abeygunawardana and Harsha De Silva enjoying a light moment. Pic by Anuraddha Bandara

Decision to re-appoint Arjuna lies in President’s hands

Decision to re-appoint Arjuna lies  in President’s hands

Will the Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran be re-appointed for a new term when his current term expires on June 30th?  This is the question uppermost in the minds of many in Colombo’s political, business and social circles.  Though former Governor Nivard Cabraal’s tenure of office courted lot of controversy and questionable deals some [...]

ETCA: Legal framework will allay fears of Indian takeover

ETCA: Legal framework will allay fears of Indian takeover

The Sri Lankan government will not rush blindly into an agreement with India and present the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) as a fait accompli paving the way for Indian control over local industries was the reassuring pledge given to worried professionals by a senior minister this week.  Dr. Harsha De Silva, Deputy [...]

15 % deposit interest for senior citizens blocked

The payment of 15 per cent interest rate for senior citizens above 55 years of age for their deposits in Licensed Finance Companies is unlikely to get off the ground due to financial implications relating to the relevant 2016 budget proposal, official sources said.  Certain negative affects in the implementation of the proposal were highlighted [...]

Sri Lanka to streamline debt management

Sri Lanka is to streamline and strengthen its debt management amidst rising debt totalling Rs.7.18 trillion (US$55.19 billion) at the end of March this year, official sources disclosed.  According to Finance Ministry officials, the government will borrow up to Rs.519.9 billion ($3.5 billion) from foreign sources via syndicated loans, sovereign bonds and sukuk (Islamic) bonds [...]

At least 75,000 families affected, 91 missing in Sri Lanka’s worst floods last month

At least 75,000 families  affected, 91 missing  in  Sri Lanka’s worst floods last  month

Around 302,000 people in 22 districts in Sri Lanka have been affected due to the torrential rain and floods, according to the latest situation report from the Disaster Management Centre of Sri Lanka. The number of families affected is close to 75,000 with 104 deaths, 31 injured, 99 missing and damage to property totalling over [...]

Denmark and Malaysia are good examples of innovation for Sri Lanka to emulate

Denmark and Malaysia are good examples of innovation for Sri Lanka to emulate

If Sri Lanka is to prosper in line with the other developed countries in the world, this week’s innovation summit provided many examples – Denmark and Malaysia in particular where both countries are reflecting the ideas of the citizens in their policy planning.  Further, three major corporates in Sri Lanka – Holcim Lanka, Jetwing and [...]

Shame, shame, shame

For the umpteenth time, the Finance Ministry has once again begun wavering on the much-awaited 15 per cent interest on deposits in finance companies for senior citizens which was announced in the 2016 Budget.  In an April 23, 2016 story headlined “15% interest finally for senior citizens”, the Business Times quoted Treasury Secretary R.H.S Samaratunge [...]

Malaysia’s Khazanah eyes investment in Lanka Hospitals

Khazanah Nasional Berhad (Khazanah), the strategic investment fund of the Government of Malaysia has shown interest in buying majority shares in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC (LHCL), should the government decide to divest these shares, officials said.  This follows their visit to Sri Lanka to hold discussions with key government officials early last month. “They ideally [...]

CBA marks 46 years of business

Ceylon Business Appliances (CBA) recently marked 46 years of continued business, also handing over long service awards to loyal staff. In a media announcement, the CBA said it enjoys a solid reputation in Sri Lanka as a leading manufacturer/supplier of a broad range of office products, banking solutions and technical support services.  Long service awards [...]

Commercial Bank secures Chinese loan

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC (Commercial) recently secured a commercial loan from a Chinese bank, the result of a visit by a high-level delegation of bankers to China in mid-February led by Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran.  Five other banks – Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, HNB, Sampath and Seylan were part of the [...]

40 colonial buildings in Fort to be redeveloped, PM says

40 colonial buildings in Fort to be redeveloped, PM says

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry began tourism ahead of many other countries but its tourism promotion has been lagging behind, according Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, when he made the keynote speech at the 50th anniversary celebrations of Sri Lanka Tourism at the BMICH in Colombo last week.  “We are looking not merely at volume but I [...]

Labour Ministry to lead ILO’s “Future of Work” Initiative in Sri Lanka

The Ministry of Labour and Trade Union Relations is playing the lead role in the Future of Work (FOW) Initiative launched by International Labour Organisation (ILO) last year, and its implementation here.  Ministry Secretary Gotabaya Jayaratne, speaking at a recent workshop, said that the Ministry will take the lead to develop a road map to [...]

A ticket to ride in the Megapolis

Are we being taken for a ride? This was the question raised with moves favouring a Light Rail Transit (LRT) mode of transport within the proposed Megapolis meeting opposition from some experts who believe buses should remain in the picture too.  A seminar on ‘Re-Thinking Transport in the Megapolis’ this week threw up stiff opposition [...]

LankaClear celebrates a decade of T+1 cheque clearing

LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd, the company that operates LankaPay – the National Payment Network of Sri Lanka and functions under the supervision and guidance of the Central Bank, recently celebrated its 10th year anniversary of launching their revolutionary Cheque Imaging and Truncation System (CITS). CITS handles all the domestic interbank rupee cheque clearings in the country. [...]

Small and medium enterprises key to this year’s World Islamic Economic Forum

Small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and micro financing concepts will dominate the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) agenda when the grouping meets in Jakarta this year.  “One of the unique feature of the World Islamic Economic Forum is that we do not touch on religion or politics in our deliberations,” said the Chairman of [...]

Gala awards night to recognise 30 winners of Cinnamon Travel Blogger Awards

Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts in partnership with the national carrier SriLankan Airlines are gearing up for the up-coming Travel Bloggers Conference on June 7th at Cinnamon Grand in Colombo. The success of the first conference in 2014 has paved the way for an even bigger experience this year as the conference is set to be [...]

“15% for Rs.1.5 mn deposits by senior citizens”

I refer to the story which appeared in Business Times on March 27, 2016 regarding the provision of 15 per cent interest on a deposit of Rs. 1.5 million for senior citizens in finance companies.  It is a case of “No Action – Talk Only” (NATO).  It seems implementation of this scheme is a difficult [...]

3 top corporates show interest in Hilton

Three top Sri Lankan corporates, two representing the garment sector and one in tea – have shown interest in a stake at state owned Hotel Developers PLC, the owning company of Colombo Hilton, officials said.  They said that while officially these three companies haven’t expressed interest to the Ministry of Public Development which is to [...]

Microimage Mobile Media unveils latest version of flagship radio automation solution in Singapore

Microimage Mobile Media recently shared its vision for the future of radio broadcasting at Broadcast Asia 2016 in Singapore.  The latest version of the flagship radio automation solution mStudio offers radio broadcasters the capability to redefine the way radio is experienced by listeners. The new version takes radio to a distinctive level by enabling broadcasters [...]

Treasury warns SOEs against paying PAYE tax of employees

Some Sri Lankan state-owned enterprises (SOEs) have been guilty of paying the PAYE (Pay As You Earn) tax of its employees from company funds – without deducting it from the workers’ wages.  The issue was raised at several meetings of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and instructions were issued by the committee for SOEs [...]

Lanka annually imports upto Rs. 100 mn in pulses

Sri Lanka annually imports between Rs. 70 million to Rs. 100 mn worth of pulses and lentils annually with the food fast becoming a staple diet for many locals.  “Pulses and grains were introduced to Sri Lanka historically and today pulses have become a staple in Sri Lankan households as a result. Their imports rising [...]

Robotic Prosthetic Arm developed by University of Moratuwa to help war victims

Robotic Prosthetic Arm developed by University of Moratuwa to help war victims

In the background of Sri Lanka’s once-raging civil war and the casualties arising out of it, a group of final year students and faculty members of Department of Mechanical Engineering at University of Moratuwa (UoM) has, for the first time, developed an artificial robot-arm to assist amputees.  Presently, various research groups all over the world [...]

Over 22 mln people enslaved in South Asia, new report says

An estimated 45.8 million men, women and children around the world are today trapped in modern slavery – 28 per cent more than previously estimated, a new report has stated.  They are enslaved through human trafficking, forced labour, debt bondage, forced or servile marriage or commercial sexual exploitation, according to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, [...]

Canada provides humanitarian support to Sri Lankan relief efforts

Canada has provided Canadian $310,000 (approximately Rs. 35 million) in support to humanitarian relief efforts in Sri Lanka in response to the May flooding and landslides, the Canadian High Commission (CHC) said this week. This funding, disbursed through the Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF) and the Emergency Disaster Assistance Fund (EDAF) of Global Affairs Canada, [...]

Nawaloka Air Services awarded franchise by SriLankan Aviation College

SriLankan Aviation College has appointed Nawaloka Air Services as its franchise partner. The new partnership intends to expand Aviation training countrywide, providing invaluable opportunities for young Sri Lankans in all four Provinces to embark upon rewarding careers in the global air transport and hospitality industries, the airline said in a media release.  The franchise agreement [...]

CICT – first terminal operator in Colombo to use e Boat Notes

Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) has become the first terminal operator (out of three) in the Port of Colombo to implement ‘e Boat Notes’ in collaboration with Sri Lanka Customs, breaking new ground in efforts to reduce paper in export documentation, the company said in a media release last week.  Officially termed an electronic CDN [...]

Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund’s annual return increases to 9% in dollars

The Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund (CDBF) that invests in Sri Lanka Dollar Sovereign Bonds and Bank Bonds has recorded a 9 per cent p.a. annualised return in US dollar terms up to May 17, 2016.  Ceylon Asset Management’s Economic Advisor and Director, Rainer Michael Preiss in Singapore said in a media release, “The CDBF has [...]

Commercial Bank backs rainwater harvesting project at Girandurukotte for 25 families

A pilot project seeking a practical method of combatting the spread of Chronic Kidney Disease of an unknown origin (CKDu) in Sri Lanka’s dry zone has been supported by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon.  In a media release, the bank said that based on the premise that harvested rain water would be a viable and [...]

CB to phase out finance firm restrictions on public deposits mobilisation

Faced with concerns and opposition from finance companies, the Central Bank (CB) is now phasing out its plan to restrict finance companies from mobilising public deposits, instead of a ‘one-shot’ implementation.  CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran told the Business Times that the CEOs of finance firms had explained their difficulties to him at the discussion some [...]

Vikings eye Sri Lanka riches with government blessings

Vikings eye Sri Lanka riches with government blessings

The Vikings have landed in Sri Lanka. Truly. It might have been said in jest at this week’s ceremony to inaugurate the Norway Business Association Sri Lanka that the formidable raiders of yore had even come as far as the Island of Serendib, but their presence today is a given, and unlike their forebears they [...]

Mihin Lanka promotes tourism in Lahore

Mihin Lanka promotes tourism in Lahore

Mihin Lanka recently partnered with Aitken Spence Travels to promote tourism to Sri Lanka from Pakistan. With Mihin Lanka offering 5 direct flights a week between Pakistan’s capital, Lahore and Colombo, this route is an affordable choice for Pakistani’s looking for the complete holiday experience, the budget airline said.  As a part of this promotion, [...]

CEAT to invest Rs 800 million to increase radial capacity by 75%

CEAT to invest Rs 800 million to increase radial capacity by 75%

CEAT Sri Lanka has announced it will invest Rs. 800 million over the next 12 months to substantially expand its radial tyre manufacturing capacity in the country to supply growing local and export demand.  The company, which currently has a 30 per cent share of the radial tyre market and supplies nearly half of Sri [...]

Lanka’s property market set to thrive

In recent years, Sri Lanka’s property market has been booming with greater demand for luxury properties. According to a media release by Lamudi, a global property portal focusing exclusively on emerging markets, housing prices in many provinces are increasing, especially in the Northern Province where a 23.47 per cent increase was reported in the Global [...]

TRAc – filling the HR gap in local hospitality sector

Increasing tourism related employment to 500,000 by 2016 is one of the key objectives of the Sri Lankan Tourism industry. Currently Sri Lanka is producing around 2000 trained hospitality staff a year. There is a huge need for qualified hospitality staff who can clearly understand the needs of the customer, then deliver.  This is where [...]

People’s Leasing & Finance PLC rings CSE Opening Bell to mark 20th anniversary

People’s Leasing & Finance PLC (PLC) rang the opening bell to commence trading at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) on Tuesday, as part of the company’s celebrations to mark two decades in the financial services industry.  PLC’s Deputy Chairman Pradeep Amirthanayagam, Directors – N. Vasantha Kumar, Johnson Fernando, M.A.M. Rizwan and CEO/GM D.P Kumarage participated [...]

Local investors say Chinese firms edging them out in opportunities in Colombo and Hambantota ports

Local businessmen interested in investing in and around the Colombo and Hambantota ports have been blocked because preference is being given to interested Chinese companies.  These issues were raised by an investor at the ‘Meet the Minister’ discussion organised by the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka in Colombo last week, with the participation [...]

CEB unions help in flood relief measures

CEB unions help in  flood relief measures

The CEB Engineers’ Union and other unions of Ceylon Electricity Board have volunteered to restore the household wiring systems in the flood affected areas to help them get back on to their feet and rebuild their lives.  For this purpose, Richardson Projects (Pvt) Ltd donated 100 domestic RCCBs (Trip Switches) for the campaign. CHINT (Pvt) [...]

1.5 mln kg of tea, factories hit by floods

Sri Lanka’s tea companies have been hit by the floods as a result of which approximately 1.5 million kg of tea have been damaged, a key official said.  About 24 tea companies had accrued losses on factory equipment including approximately 1.5 million kg of teas, Sri Lanka Tea Board Director General Anura Siriwardena told Business [...]

Evolving workplace strategies and their relevance to Sri Lanka

One of the key aspects of planning commercial real estate is to understand how the traditional workplace has been replaced by new working methods. The era of using desktop computers, having a permanent workstation, individual landlines, and making copious print-outs is likely to become out-of-date very soon as new workplace methods are introduced. It is [...]

Asia Asset Finance gains from gold loans and micro finance

Asia Asset Finance Plc (AAF) has made considerable progress in its business especially in gold backed loans and micro finance in its first complete financial year ending March 31 2016 after the company’s tie up with Muthoot Finance, a 128 year-old Indian family-owned firm, AAF officials said.  The company recorded Rs. 175 million profit after [...]

Cutting-edge insights for entrepreneurs and exporters

Cutting-edge insights for entrepreneurs and exporters at Kandy IT/BPM Week on June 11 With the aim of empowering budding Lankan entrepreneurs, the IT/BPM Export Forum and Entrepreneurship Workshop, facilitated by SLASSCOM’s Kandy IT/BPM Week, will provide valuable insights on leveraging the local ecosystem to build up successful companies and how to take them to the [...]

Enough meat to catch Entrust directors

There’s enough ‘meat’ to prosecute directors of the scandal-hit primary dealer Entrust Security (Entrust), a Central Bank (CB) official says.  ”We cottoned on to more than enough (doubtful) cash transactions to prosecute them,” a CB official told the Business Times. After the CB requested two commercial banks to look into personal accounts of some Entrust [...]

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