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Sweep ticket fraud

Sweep ticket fraud

At a wayside sweep ticket counter at Olcott Mawatha, Pettah, bystanders are furiously scratching the surface of a ticket hoping for a windfall. On closer examination it’s not the normal tickets sold by the National Lotteries Board but fake ones. The modus operandi is to sell 10 tickets in one sheet at Rs. 10 each [...]

BMW, Benz possible for Ministry Secretaries

Top public officials including Ministry Secretaries are in luck’s way with their monthly vehicle entitlement being increased to a maximum of Rs. 425,000 (excluding VAT) effective October from Rs. 300,000 earlier.  The new September 19 directive – Treasury circular 1/2016 (1) – which also covers officers of equal rank was issued by Treasury Secretary Dr. [...]

Hopes of depositors fade over early solution to CIFL crisis

The hopes of depositors of the failed Central Investment and Finance Ltd (CIFL), lifted last week with the arrival of German investment group to revive the company, are turning to despair, a week later.  Depositors say they have been sidelined from key meetings the 5-member delegation of Vandell Financial Services SA, Germany has had so [...]

Seven offers for Mattala

Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) has received seven offers from mainly European-based aviation related firms interested in managing operations at what has been called the world’s emptiest airport.  The MRIA called for Expressions of Interest (EOI) in June from investors to undertake investments and commercial operations of the facility located in Hambantota through the Transport [...]

Capital gains – on again, off again!

Stock market stakeholders can toast the decision to (re)-scrap the capital gains tax on Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) transactions.  Sources close to the Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake told the Business Times that the Treasury has decided to do away with the decision to impose capital gains on CSE transactions at the forthcoming budget with ministry [...]

Let the games begin ….

Let the games begin ….

A battle is brewing on the tea plantations. It’s not about brewing a nice cup of tea but the government and the privately-run regional plantation companies trading accusations as a 150 year-old industry faces its worst nightmare: Closure!  With the economy taking many twists and turns in a troubled war-and-finally-peace environment that once relied on [...]

Sri Lankan government wants to regulate e-commerce

Sri Lankan government wants to regulate e-commerce

It was announced recently that the Sri Lankan government wants to introduce regulations for the local e-commerce industry. Sri Lanka is a country that relies on exporting various goods and services to generate income. Among this income is what we as a country have managed to propagate through the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. [...]

Sri Lanka prepares for possible power shortage by 2018

Sri Lanka is preparing for a possible power shortage by 2018 while approval has been granted by the electricity sector regulator to the Ceylon Electricity Board’s 2015 -2034 Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP), a senior official said.  The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) has insisted that the power plants listed [...]

Affordable luxury hotel for visitors in Colombo Fort

Affordable luxury hotel for visitors in Colombo Fort

A building which was in complete ruins in the heart of Colombo has been transformed into a city business and tourist hotel to cater to large numbers of foreigners arriving in the country following the formation of the new government, said the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake at the gala opening of the ZMAX Fairway [...]

No short-cuts in life for regular gardener Dian Gomes

No short-cuts in life for  regular gardener Dian Gomes

IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN: Plant a tree today, especially if you live in Colombo, so that you can do your bit to see that our beautiful city does not become a concrete jungle. This is sage advice from Dian Gomes, the constant gardener, whose first-hand experiences with nature serves as a reminder that success [...]

Sri Lanka seeks investors for Paranthan Chemicals, Kahatagaha Mines

Sri Lanka is seeking investors for Paranthan Chemical Company and Kahatagaha Graphite Mines under Public Private Partnership (PPP) and has called for Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to resurrect these units, a senior Industry and Commerce Ministry official confirmed.  Northern-based Paranthan Chemical Company (previously Paranthan Chemical Corporation) is to be revitalised with the construction of damaged [...]

First-ever book on BPO in Sinhalese

The first ever book on Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the Sinhala language titled ‘Sinhalen BPO’ has been authored by Yasas Vishuddhi Abeywickrama.  It has been published by Vijitha Yapa publishers. It explains the BPO sector in a simple language so that school children, school leavers, young job seekers, parents as well as any other [...]

Greener pastures beckon Ceylon Tea estates

Greener pastures beckon Ceylon Tea estates

PEDRO ESTATE, Nuwara Eliya – An eerie silence pervades Sri Lanka’s aesthetic tea estates that are dotted today with only a few women using their agile fingers to pluck two leaves and a bud. But unknown to them strong undercurrents, due to low leaf prices, are in boardrooms of management companies to steer the future [...]

Ceylon Tours: Top of the world for 70 years

Ceylon Tours: Top of the world for 70 years

It is 1946. The world has gone through a cataclysmic change and was in transition with a number of new countries being formed. Ceylon would soon regain its own identity after centuries of colonial rule, piggy-backing on India’s independence struggle. In Colombo a liner docked in at the port and waiting to greet passengers was [...]

Contractual vs Consultative Transition – Case of Himalee and Allwin

Contractual vs Consultative Transition – Case of Himalee and Allwin

Himalee Dairy Farm Products (Pvt) Ltd is a popular brand and well-established player in the dairy processing sector with a range of products that reach consumers through diverse market channels including supermarket chains. Allwin Steel (Pvt) Ltd started as a family-owned business in 1984 in Valaichchenai, Batticoloa district as a partnership with four employees. The [...]

Some forced marriages in finance firms to end in separation

Some small finance companies which were, literally, ‘forcefully’ paired off by the Central Bank (CB) in the last regime in a bid to reduce the firms in this sector are gearing for a separation as their ‘couplings’ have failed, officials said.  At the time small companies were encouraged to merge or promoted to join with [...]

SL Govt. to invest Rs. 20 bln in Homagama’s Techno City

The government together with the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development is to invest Rs. 20 billion to build a ‘Techno City’ which will house five major technology institutes at the proposed Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) in Homagama. This was stated by Minister of Science, Technology and Research, Susil Premajayantha at the launch [...]

Arjuna Herath on top IFAC committee

Arjuna Herath on top IFAC committee

Following a rigorous nominations process, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) this week announced the appointments of three outstanding members of the global accountancy profession to lead important committees supporting the profession across the world: Monica Foerster as Chair of the Small and Medium Practices (SMP) Committee; Arjuna Herath as Chair of the Professional Accountancy [...]

Commercial Bank launches new series of ‘Cash Deposit & Withdrawal’ machines

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon has launched a new generation of machines that offers several new advancements on the standard ATMs and deposit machines, including cash deposits that are credited instantly.  In a media release, the bank said it will be installing ‘Cash Deposit & Withdrawal’ machines in stages within its 251 strong branch network. [...]

Fast and furious the Porsche way

Fast and furious the Porsche way

KATUKURUNDA: My teammates are all talking about how great it feels to go from 0 to 100 kilometres in three seconds. I have no option but to grit my teeth and floor the accelerator when it comes to my turn. The 911 Turbo is a beast. I can feel all the 540-horsepower on tap surging [...]

Government encourages solar panels on rooftops to overcome power crisis

Government encourages solar panels on rooftops to overcome power crisis

The Government is encouraging the public to install solar panels on rooftops and bare lands of houses, religious places, hotels, businesses, factories and cinemas to overcome the burgeoning power crisis.  The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) is running short of power due to high prices of oil and coal, said Lakshman Jayasuriya, Managing Director of Alpha [...]

Start-ups : Not just a buzzword with the 5th Disrupt 2.0 – FutureX

While we prop the spirit of Silicon Valley as the carbon copy of entrepreneurial feat, the reality is that entrepreneurs exist everywhere. In countries such as Sri Lanka, surviving on the streets of Colombo as a vendor is a daily exercise in the entrepreneurial spirit if you consider Pettah, an example that requires ingenuity, spirit [...]

First Lankan hi-tech rubber industry team for advanced int’l training flies out Sunday

First Lankan hi-tech rubber industry team for advanced int’l training flies out Sunday

The first ever batch of Lankan rubber industry PhDs, scientists and R&D personnel seeking latest international rubber know-how will fly out today thanks to the efforts of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.  “My Ministry is an implementing partner in Government’s Rubber Master Plan. These training opportunities are provided as part of this Master Plan” [...]

Transparency in Government Securities market further improves

Under a programme of more transparency, commercial banks have joined the Bloomberg electronic bond trading platform for government securities secondary market transactions with effect from September 15. Prior to this, all primary dealers joined the platform on August 1.  “Therefore, now all primary dealers and banks undertake trades among them in the platform and report [...]

“Travails of a bus and rail commuter”

I read with interest the article under the above heading about Kishu Gomes’ attempt to use public transportation in Colombo which appeared in the September 11 issue of the Business Times, and wanted to respond.  As an urban transportation expert and expatriate Sri Lankan I have a detached but still interested perspective on Colombo’s urban [...]

VAT amendment delay threatens IMF’s second tranche

The disbursement of the second tranche of IMF 1.5 billion dollar Extended Fund Facility (EEF) this year might be under threat if there is a delay in passing the VAT amendment Draft bill in parliament. IMF mission Chief Jaewoo Lee told reporters in Colombo on Friday that the government should expedite the legislative process of [...]

No vehicle tax changes in 2017 budget

Vehicle taxes imposed through the 2016 budget will not be changed in the coming 2017 budget. The current taxes on vehicle imports will remain as it is for two years.  President of Vehicle Importers Association of Lanka (VIAL) Indika Sampath Merinchige told a media conference in Colombo on Wednesday that this assurance was given by [...]

UNP and SLFP join hands to present moderate budget

The Sri Lankan government has begun preparations for a moderate budget for 2017 incorporating two sets of proposals to be put forward by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP) ministerial committees.  President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed a committee headed by Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama to draft the set of [...]

Sri Lanka to link with globe for logistics hub

The government is looking at linking up with India’s port development plans to form a US$500 billion economy.  Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing the second day of the Colombo International Maritime Conference (CIMC) at the Galadari Hotel on Thursday said that Sri Lanka will support India’s “Sagara Mala” programme of India by using para diplomacy [...]

National Centre for Aging proposed in new elders’ policy

National Centre for Aging  proposed in new elders’ policy

Sri Lanka’s population is rapidly aging and according to projections the share of the population aged 60 years and more will increase to 29 per cent by 2050 from 12 per cent currently and 16 per cent in 2020. It will reach its peak at 34 per cent in 2080, according to the Ministry of [...]

Ten professional jobs threatened by advances in big data and machine learning

Ten professional jobs threatened by  advances in big data and machine learning

1. Healthcare Some aspects of a doctor’s job can now be done by computers. For example, surgeons already use automated robotic systems to aid with less invasive procedures. IBM’s Watson proved it can diagnose lung cancer from analysing MRI scans much more reliably than real people. In addition, the UCSF Medical Center recently launched an [...]

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