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Empowering the young

Empowering the young

Sandra Wanduragala, Founder of Selyna Handlooms, chats with a young ‘customer’ at her shop in Fife Road, Colombo. Her journey of empowering rural women is captured in a profile piece inside (see Page 4). Pic by Amila Gamage

TUs flex muscles over GSP+

Trade unions, unhappy like many other groups that backed the government and President Maithripala Sirisena into office, are flexing their muscles over Sri Lanka’s application for the resumption of GSP + concessions, demanding that the country complies with ILO conventions prior to concessions being given. Local unions led by the Free Trade Zones & General [...]

SEC,CSE to meet Treasury on EPF and ETF funds

The Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF)’s suspension of investments in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) a year ago in the wake of the pump and dump era 3-4 years ago, has forced authorities to lobby the Treasury for both agencies to return to a lacklustre market. Official sources said the reason [...]

Sri Lanka 2017 Budget over-estimates tax revenue

Sri Lanka 2017 Budget has over-estimated the tax revenue making the task of tax collection authorities ‘challenging’ and in this context the government should consider additional measures if planned revenue didn’t come in, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Finance (COPF) has warned. The committee has evaluated and analysed the 2017 budget revenue and expenditure proposals [...]

Anarva – boost for health tourists

Siddhalepa Ayurveda Resorts and Spas will be opening doors on Christmas Day, December 25 to the Anarva hotel in Mt. Lavinia hoping to increase medical tourism into the country. Siddhalepa Group Managing Director Asoka Hettigoda said that they had made an initial investment of Rs.1.5 billion but had gone beyond Rs.2 billion with price escalations [...]

Hooray … It’s a holi-holiday

Hooray … It’s a holi-holiday

For lovers of music, you must be familiar with the strains of a popular Boney M song, “It’s a Holi-Holiday”, which I heard on the airwaves this week. December is generally a relaxed month when everyone looks forward to a season of cheer, relaxation and holiday. And for those who love a jolly, good drink, [...]

Airbnb backs off fight with governments, offers policy suggestions

Airbnb backs off fight with governments, offers policy suggestions

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 7 (Reuters) – In a moment of peace-making with regulators, Airbnb on Wednesday released a set of policy suggestions for governments that are considering new laws for home- and apartment-renting. The document, which comes on the heels of concessions with cities including New York City, offers suggestions for collecting lodging taxes from [...]

Facial recognition available to public for first time on mobile

REUTERS, Dec 6 – For the first time ever, anyone can use real-time facial recognition technology on their phones to recognise people and unlock information about them – changing the way we communicate and connect to each other. Never before has technology combined augmented reality and artificial intelligence within smartphones, and now it’s available for [...]

Public enterprises resurrection gets off the ground next year

 APublic Enterprises Development Bill is to be presented in Parliament early next year to resurrect loss-making state-owned enterprises (SOE) and set up a Public Enterprise Board with top executives sourced from the private sector, a senior official of the Ministry of Public Enterprises Development told the Business Times. The restructuring of SOEs would be done [...]

Transparency, accountability and good governance tips for a great financial report

Transparency, accountability and good governance are vital for both public and private sectors and also interconnected to a country’s growth and sustenance, according to Lasantha Wickremasinghe, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka). He made this statement at the 52nd Annual Report Awards finale held at the Waters’ Edge [...]

Asia Siyaka wins Silver at CA Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards

Asia Siyaka wins Silver at CA  Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards

Asia Siyaka Commodities won the Silver Award for service organisations at this week’s CA Sri Lanka Annual Report Awards held in Colombo, commendable as it was the first time that the company had entered this competition. Incorporated in 1998 as a private company and listed in the Colombo Stock Exchange in 2012, this new accolade [...]

Nehemiah Consultants partners with Block3 Creative

Nehemiah Consultants, said to be one of the fastest growing public relations agencies in the country, recently entered into a partnership with Block3 Creative, a dynamic young digital media agency to enhance their portfolio of services. The agreement was signed between Founder/Managing Director of Nehemiah Consultants Sanura Gunawardana and Co-Founder/Managing Partner of  Block3 Creative Inzamam [...]

Proposals to be called for Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service

A ferry service between Colombo and Tuticorin would soon be a real possibility with the Colombo Shipping Corporation (CSC) planning to call for local and international bids under PPP (public-private partnership) on or before January 15, 2017. CSC officials said the plan, part of a SAARC initiative, is likely to receive support from the Asian [...]

Sandra’s goal: Enriching and empowering rural women

Sandra’s goal: Enriching and empowering rural women

LIFE DOWN FIFE ROAD, COLOMBO -  This is about handloom helping build lives, no run-of-the-mill story. It is about a special person who through the old and ancient art of weaving is empowering women all over the island to stand strong, proud and independent. Sandra Wanduragala, 59, is on the verge of a handover. Her [...]

Global and local recognition for HSBC/IUCN restoration of tank system

Global and local recognition for  HSBC/IUCN restoration of tank system

HSBC and IUCN joined hands in 2012 to restore the Kapiriggama Tank Cascade system under HSBC’s Global Water Programme. Now, almost four years from its commencement this partnership has changed lives of many for the better. It was also recognised at the Best Corporate Citizen Awards hosted by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce under the [...]

“Tea industry lost in new budget proposal”

With regard to the news item under the above heading which appeared in last week’s Business Times, my view is that the tea industry has not got lost based on the budget proposals but has been wondering in the wilderness for the past many years. The unfortunate fact is that the people in charge of [...]


“Hilton eyes more properties in Sri Lanka”  In the above story which appeared on Page 8 of last week’s Business Times, a few typos appeared in the names – ‘DoubleTree’ and ‘Curio-A Collection. These paragraphs should read as: “Within Colombo they were looking at the possibility of another hotel likely to come under the Hilton’s [...]

VirtusaPolaris Colombo hosts second Sri Lanka Robotics Meetup

VirtusaPolaris Colombo recently hosted the second session of the Sri Lanka Robotics Meetup where Dr. Lilantha Samaranayake, Senior Lecturer, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Peradeniya and Dr. Ruwan Gopura, Senior Lecturer, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Moratuwa made presentations on cutting edge robotics technologies. Dr. Samaranayake spoke on “Affordable Industrial Robots [...]

Ayurveda, western treatment a focus for medical tourism

Sri Lanka wants to tap into the growing global business of medical tourism with plans to attract travellers to its western and indigenous medical practices. Sri Lanka is yet to develop this service offerings by obtaining the necessary international certifications, Export Development Board (EDB) Director General Jeevanie Siriwardena said at the commencement of the seminar [...]

PACE Institute wins RedHat overseas training partner award

PACE Institute wins RedHat overseas  training partner award

PACE Institute – Pannipitiya, – a RedHat Certified Training Partner in Sri Lanka, was honoured with the highly prestigious RedHat Overseas Training Partner of the Year -’Open Enrollment Revenue’ Award at the RedHat Training Partner Conference -2016 held at Vivanta by Taj, Bentota recently. Over 150 International RED HAT partners and delegates participated in the [...]

Windfall for Sri Lankan SMEs

As Sri Lanka works to towards building a million SMEs in its middle income bracket, it is also quietly bolstering the sector by directly intervening in one of the thorniest of issues-SME financing, according to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.. “Our government is working to make Lankan SMEs a strategic partner in its journey [...]

Canada and UNFPA- Sri Lanka join forces on gender project

The Canadian High Commission and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), as part of the ’16 Days of Activism in Sri Lanka’, co-hosted a panel discussion on December 7 on the importance of zero-tolerance for Gender-based Violence (GBV) within the workplace. Entitled ‘Engendering Change: Investing in a GBV-free Workplace’, the panel discussion brought together more [...]

China gives with one hand; takes away with the other

Government will go ahead with the Kurunegala- Habarana Railway line project entertaining an unsolicited an Chinese bid for the construction work, a major shift from its widely-proclaimed competitive bidding policy. Under the 5-year plan of ‘Let’s Awaken Polonnaruwa’ District Development Programme (2016-2020), the project for the construction of a rail track from Kurunegala to Habarana [...]

Role of spirituality in management

Role of spirituality in management

In management we learn about task orientation, human touch and the middle path. Where would spirituality stand in management? To elaborate on this, one needs to know which level of spirituality is spoken about. What we often hear from task masters are:  It is your job and you must somehow do it  It is not [...]

Ayati centre for differently-abled children ready in 12 months

Ayati centre for differently-abled  children ready in 12 months

The Kelaniya University Medical Faculty’s  new centre dedicated to children with disabilities will open in a year’s time, it was disclosed last weekend. On Saturday, December 3 – also World Disability Day -, Ruwan Wijewardene, State Minister of Defence along with several others laid the foundation stone for the Ayati (Hope in Sanskrit) Centre for [...]

Mindset of state officials must change following RTI Act

There is a persistent  problem with regard to obtaining information from government departments for journalists let alone the public, said the Director General of the Government Information Department Dr.Ranga Kalansooriya.   He was speaking on the topic “Reporting on  Development, Poverty and Social Justice: Strengthening Media’s Role “at the Sri Lanka Press Institute at Kirula Road [...]

Aitken Spence/MBBL-Pathfinder and Norled AS to revive Indo-Lanka ferry service

A joint venture has been proposed to start a passenger/cargo ferry  connection between Colombo and Tuticorin. In the second stage, the project seeks to re-establish the  Talaimannar-Rameshwaram ferry link after a gap of three decades. Finally, a consortium would expand the Colombo-Tuticorin ferry service to Kochi, the major port city in the state of Kerala, [...]

70 per cent of Sri Lankans are shifting to indigenous medicine

While western medicine is one of the most sought after treatment for people around the world, 70 per cent of Sri Lankans are moving into indigenous medicine such as Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and traditional medicine. This was stated at a media briefing to announce the 4th International Conference on Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Traditional Medicine [...]

More hospitals in SL to be MTQUA certified

While there is a boom in medical tourism globally, lots of tourists are also visiting Sri Lanka for medical treatment. Sri Lanka should upgrade its medical tourism portfolio to international standards and obtain the necessary certification to attract more visitors seeking medical treatment, said Julie Munro, President of the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA). Ms. [...]

Holcim Lanka is now INSEE Cement

Sri Lanka’s most popular cement manufacturer, Holcim (Lanka) Ltd – acquired by the Thailand-based Ready-Mixed Concrete Manufacturing Company, Siam City Concrete Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Siam City Cement Public Company Limited, – had changed its name to INSEE Cement from December 1. The Holcim range of products in future will be marketed under the [...]

London Stock Exchange SL- A place to earn more than SL’s Prez & PM

London Stock Exchange SL- A place to earn more than SL’s Prez & PM

Want to earn more than the President and the Prime Minister (PM) of Sri Lanka? Well, the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) which opened its new state-of-the-art technology facility in Sri Lanka, headquartered in the TRACE Expert City in a precinct of Colombo would be just the place. Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe told the elite technocrati [...]

Thai-listed firm acquires 29.99% stake in Commercial Credit and Finance in $70 mln deal

Group Lease Public Company Ltd (GLPCL), a digital finance company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), has acquired a 29.99 per cent stake in Commercial Credit and Finance Plc (CCF) for US$ 70 million. The transaction valued at over Rs. 10.56 billion is one of the highest recorded on the Colombo Stock Exchange, [...]

Claridge Stockbrokers’ licence in the balance

Sri Lanka’s stock market regulator is to take action against Claridge Stockbrokers, part of Mackwoods Group over non-compliance with the broker’s licence now hanging in the balance, informed sources said. This drama started when Claridge brokered the sale of a 60.8 per cent stake in Agalawatte Plantations PLC owned by Mackwoods Plantations Pvt Ltd to [...]

Tiles and sanitaryware importers say budget’s good

The Tiles & Sanitaryware Importers Association (TSIA), a decades-old importers chamber, said it was appreciative with the Budget 2016 which provided support to tile and sanitary ware consumers all over the country. The Government has maintained, this time round, the duty and cess reduction for the import of tiles and sanitary ware and members of [...]

Govt. isn’t bothered about capital market, analysts say

The present government unlike the last isn’t bothered about the capital market. Look at all the recent taxes in the budget and you’ll know this to be true. Industry experts, analysts, et-all say that unclear policies and regressive taxation by the government implies only this – that in the government’s list of priorities, the development [...]

Stock broking licence ‘cold storage’ to happen soon

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has made a proposal to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for struggling stock brokers to ‘cold storage’  their licences following new rules in capital adequacy. The SEC on the recommendation of the CSE directed the implementation of a risk based Capital Adequacy Requirement (CAR) of 1.2 times the risk [...]

Global tea party among plans to mark 150 years of Ceylon Tea

The government has planned a global tea party in its missions around the world to celebrate 150 years of Ceylon tea amidst industry concerns over the limitation of 5000 acres of the lands owned/managed by the regional plantation companies (RPCs), which is a proposal in the budget. The ‘global tea party’ would be held in [...]

Crown Prince of Perlis invites Sri Lankan students

Crown Prince of Perlis invites Sri Lankan students

Step off the beaten track was the advice from no less a dignitary than a Crown Prince from Malaysia who led the pitch for students from Sri Lanka to join the University of Perlis, a small state in Northern Malaysia close to the Thai border. A delegation from UniMAP (University Malaysia Perlis) led by the [...]

SLT-partnered SEA-ME-WE 5 Submarine Cable System wins at the Global Carrier Awards

The consortium that developed the South East Asia, Middle East and Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5) submarine cable was awarded the “Project of the Year – Subsea Award” at the Global Carrier Awards on November 8 in Paris. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT), the country’s leading ICT Solutions Provider is a proud member of this consortium [...]

Asian Alliance General Insurance rebrands as Fairfirst Insurance

Asian Alliance General Insurance (AAGI) recently announced that it has changed the company name to Fairfirst Insurance Ltd. This name change follows the recent 100 per cent share acquisition of Asian Alliance General by Union Assurance General (UAG), which is a part of the Fairfax Group in Sri Lanka, AAGI said in a media release. [...]

Transparency urged in discussions on new Sri Lanka trade pacts

The national strategic approach is not visible in the approach of Sri Lankan policymakers and relevant agencies in pursuing discussions on ETCA with India, and on other proposed agreements with Singapore, China and some other countries, says a group of ‘independent’ economists. In an open letter to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe [...]

Merrill J honoured with top UK award

Merrill J honoured with top UK award

The man known as the teamaker – Dilmah Founder Merrill J. Fernando – was honoured in the UK with the FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism 2016 at a ceremony on November 30 at the Royal Automobile Club, London. The award recognises business ethics, emphasising his unique philosophy that making business is a matter of human [...]

World Bank approves $75 mln for SL’s social safety net scheme

The World Bank Board has approved a US$75 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to support Sri Lanka’s main welfare programmes by developing an integrated system to better manage the selection, administration, and payments to beneficiaries of the programmes. The project will contribute to improving the equity, efficiency and transparency of the social [...]

Microsoft’s YouthSpark encourages young talent with emerging technology

Talent, commitment, passion, love or call it what you like to define a bunch of young people who consistently keep tapping on their laptops while focusing with serious attention to win a competition. The event? Hour of coding’, a competition that puts to the test  the knowledge students have on computer science. Microsoft Sri Lanka [...]

New hospitality course for accountants

Tourism is set to be the second highest foreign exchange earner for Sri Lanka this year with expected earnings of US$ 3.5 billion with the number of arrivals topping 2.2 million. John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs, while addressing the launch of the Certified Hospitality Finance and Management Accountants (CHFMA) at the [...]

Vista Rooms simplifies corporate travel bookings, cuts travel costs by up to 20%

Corporates in Sri Lanka can now sit back and relax when it comes to business travel while Vista Rooms minimises hassle and streamlines the entire company’s travel itineraries via its one stop shop for corporate travel. Vista Rooms simplifies complex and troublesome booking procedures with a saving of 10-20 per cent on the cost incurred [...]

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