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Up, up and away!

Up, up and away!

A Chinese construction staff worker takes a picture of a plane taking off just before work began last week on the overlay of the BIA runway. Pic by Indika Handuwala

Line ministries to handle mega projects

Sri Lanka’s latest procedure of approving all mega projects including infrastructure and environmentally-sensitive projects is to be changed on a directive by the president. Currently all mega projects come under a few, powerful ministers. Considering the crucial nature of such projects for the future of the country and individual livelihoods, President Maithripala Sirisena has issued [...]

All systems go for Krrish square project construction

The US$ 650 million-Krrish square project construction is now underway following the final payment (about Rs. 690 million or US$5.3 million) plus fines for the delayed payments being made, top officials of the Board of Investment (BOI) and Urban Development Authority (UDA) confirmed to Business Times (BT). Krrish Transworks Colombo (Pvt) Ltd, local company of [...]

Shifting goal-posts: Govt. won’t sell Lanka Hospitals

The Government, true to policy inconsistencies and shifting goalposts, has decided against selling its majority stake in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC (LHCL), industry sources said. Earlier it was widely reported that the government wanted to exit partially or fully from those non-strategic investments in LHCL, Hotel Developers (Colombo Hilton), Hyatt Residencies, Grand Oriental Hotel, etc. [...]

FDI down to $300 mln in 2016

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has dropped 45.6 per cent to a very low level of slightly over US$300 million in 2016 from $658 million in 2015, official data showed. The main reason for the drop in FDI last year was the policy inconsistency due to political changes in 2015, a senior government official [...]

Prime Minister at Davos

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be attending the January 17-20 World Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland, the second time in a row that he is attending this annual summit attended by world leaders and globally-recognised business magnates. Sri Lanka has just two members in this influential body – John Keells Holdings (JKH) and Carsons. The [...]

Rupees and Sense

Rupees and Sense

Firstly I must confess that I am no fan of media colleague Daya Abeysekera’s long-running ‘Rupees and Sense’ programme on ITN because of its pro-government slant (no offence to you Daya!) though I have occasionally watched it. It may have changed under the Yahapalana regime However,  I would like to borrow the title  which struck [...]

Sri Lanka tea plantations: Crisis and restructure

Sri Lanka tea plantations: Crisis and restructure

Background The Sri Lankan tea industry faces several problems and the major challenges that the tea industry faces are, raising productivity and remaining competitive. The area under tea cultivation is stagnant or shrinking, productivity is low, the replanting rate is low, production costs are high and there is a shortage of labour willing to work [...]

President urged to appoint special task force on trade liberalisation of goods and services

The appointment of a Presidential Task Force to examine all issues pertaining to trade liberalisation in goods and services – vis-à-vis the debate over the import of labour – has been strongly urged by the Organisation of Professionals Association (OPA). It is also urging the Government to ensure that Sri Lankan nationals own 100 per [...]

TUs object to GSP + assessments on labour rights

The European Commission (EC) this week recommended the restoration of the trade concessions for Sri Lanka but came under criticism from local trade unions who believe the core issues of labour rights are yet to be addressed. The mere fact that the EC has included labour rights especially freedom of association and collective bargaining indicates [...]

Hayleys unveils Lanka’s largest capacity solar power plant in Welikande

Hayleys unveils Lanka’s largest capacity solar power plant in Welikande

Hayleys Group PLC jointly with Windforce Pvt Ltd, in the forefront of renewable energy in the country, announced on Friday, the commissioning of their solar power plant. Located in Welikande in the Polonnaruwa district, the 10MW solar plant has been installed with a solar tracking system that will follow the sun’s rays to ensure an [...]

New debenture taxes deter new debt listings

It’s almost official. While the prayers by the capital market industry on creating a level playing field in taxation on instruments such as debentures and bonds will soon be answered, a set of fresh issues has arisen. Treasury sources told the Business Times that the Withholding Taxes (WHT) on debt instruments which have been raised [...]

Ravi is Banker Magazine’s Finance Minister of the Year, Asia-Pacific 2016

Ravi is Banker Magazine’s Finance Minister of the Year, Asia-Pacific 2016

UK-based The Banker magazine has selected Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as the Finance Minister of the Year (2016) for Asia-Pacific ‘for his efforts to steer Sri Lanka into a new era of economic reform and a change of mindset’. The banker a prestigious international financial publication published in London inter alia selects the [...]

Reducing 5-hour check-in requirement at BIA being explored

Reducing 5-hour check-in  requirement at BIA being explored

The possibility of reducing the 5-hour compulsory passenger check-in requirement at the Bandaranaike International Airport is being explored, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga was quoted as saying after a visit to the airport last Sunday. “We are also looking at the possibility of reducing the 5 hour check in time. I’m confident this can be reduced [...]

Impatience, root cause for tuk-tuk and motorbike accidents

While tuk-tuk and motorbikes accidents are on the rise, one of the root cause for road accidents is the impatience of drivers on roads. The hurry to overtake a vehicle ahead and impatience to wait for oncoming vehicles to take the turn first, have been highlighted as accidents that has led to many deaths. Also [...]

LAUGFS Maritime, first to register as ship at Hambantota Port

LAUGFS Maritime, first to register as ship at Hambantota Port

LAUGFS, one of the largest diversified conglomerates in Sri Lanka, last week became the first to register a vessel at the Hambantota Port. The announcement was made together with the purchase of another LPG vessel under LAUGFS Maritime, in its plans to rapidly expand its vessel fleet. This latest LPG carrier was acquired for an [...]

LOLC promotes sustainability through renewable energy and reforestation

The LOLC Group has embarked on several renewable energy initiatives within the organisation as well as on a national scale, with a mission to commit towards a sustainable future, by meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future generations to meet their own. Playing a significant role in the foremost [...]

International hotel chain Movenpick opens in Colombo

The Movenpick Hotel that opened in Sri Lanka for the first time has an infinity pool that its developers believe has the same feel similar to another star hotel frequently marketed from the Middle East. So Colombo has matched up to market its accommodation facility that overlooks the city and seeks to beckon travellers passing [...]

MullenLowe Sri Lanka to unveil new, ultramodern Office

MullenLowe Sri Lanka, the local office of the MullenLowe network – a member of the Interpublic Group (IPG), will formally unveil its ultra-modern office at 125, Kynsey Road, Colombo – 7, on January 19. This will be under the patronage of Eran Wickramaratne – Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development) – as chief guest, Joseph [...]

Famous Singapore retailer Mustafa returns to Colombo

The Board of Investment (BOI) is stepping on the pedal to revive Sri Lanka’s investment climate, facilitating clearances for several stalled projects worth millions of dollars in addition to new Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) this year, a top official said. Several investors who abandoned their projects during the previous regime are returning to revive their [...]

Sri Lanka cannot afford to lose markets because of people’s mindset and perception of Halal

Awareness about what you consume making  these choices healthy for individuals, is the right of the individual but not many people take it very serious. The Business Times recently interviewed Halal Accreditation Council (HAC) Director and CEO Ali Fatharally who explained ‘Halal’ and ‘Haram (forbidden)’ in the food chain. “Let’s forget the two terms ‘Halal’ [...]

Park Inn by Radisson to open in 2 years in Colombo

Park Inn by Radisson to open in 2 years in Colombo

Joining a host of international brands opening in Colombo, Park Inn by RadissonR, the star-class hospitality brand, broke ground on Monday at its Kollupitiya site. An investment of the Sofia Hospitality (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of St. Anthony’s Group of companies, the 199-room, upper-midscale city hotel property is slated to commence operations in mid-2019, will [...]

Linea Aqua garners yet another ‘green’ achievement

Leading swimwear manufacturer Linea Aqua (Pvt) Ltd this week announced its latest landmark accomplishment in the field of environmental sustainability through obtaining WaterNeutralR Certification for its Hanwella Factory, making it the first apparel manufacturing facility in the world to have achieved this status. Water Neutrality is a novel concept first coined by the Water Footprint [...]

Tax on electric cars

With reference to the Sunday Times article last week headlined “Tax hikes short-circuit electric car sales, drive investor into debt”, in addition to the investor, many others who are clients of this vendor would have read this article with great interest. How does one feel to languish for 10 months with a new electric car [...]

Sri Lankan reforms essential to attract foreign investors

Constraints like productivity, infrastructure, reforms and red tape need to be addressed to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) to Sri Lanka, said Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, an ADB official and academic delivering a lecture on the subject of “Whether the era of export –led growth has ended and its implication for Asia and Sri Lanka”. Speaking [...]

Sri Lanka’s bourse: Ailing without partial remission in sight

Sri Lanka’s bourse: Ailing without partial remission in sight

As Sri Lanka’s economy struggles to discharge from the ‘hospital’ after having a tough 2016 which saw its growth contract by 1 per cent, analysts say that the outlook for the country’s economy could get worse this year with a myriad of issues. Couple this with the super cycle of instable government policies, the country’s [...]

BOC’s Seylan sale reversal raises questions

The state-owned Bank of Ceylon’s (BOC) controversial reversal of a 7.5 per cent stake in the private Seylan Bank has raised questions amongst certain quarters over how the BOC will list this stake under the ‘financial investments available for sale’ entry in the annual report. Authorities have made it clear that in order to facilitate [...]

HNB raises US$ 100 mln long-term debt from China Development Bank

Hatton National Bank PLC on the back of a roadshow to China last year has recently concluded a loan agreement to raise US$ 100 million through the China Development Bank (CDB), officials said. Jonathan Alles, Managing Director / CEO of HNB told the Business Times, that this loan obtained at attractive rates will support HNB’s [...]

It’s a ‘flight’ situation in the broking industry

It’s a ‘flight’ situation in the broking industry

In the early years, being a stockbroker was refined and rewarding. It seems that the coolest job in the world has in recent times taken a nosedive with many young stockbrokers, recruited during the market’s heydays, unable to ‘make it’ in this high pressure job and are taking flight to other less stressful, high paying [...]

Nestlé Lanka commences investment to enhance manufacturing capacity in dairy and coconut sectors

Nestlé Lanka commences investment to enhance  manufacturing capacity in dairy and coconut sectors

Continuing the investments Nestlé has made in Sri Lanka over the years, the company reached another big milestone by laying the foundation stone of a new manufacturing facility at its factory in Pannala, Kurunegala. President Maithripala Sirisena graced the foundation laying ceremony of the new facility as Chief Guest, at the Nestlé Kurunegala factory. Through [...]

Diversify exports, drop tariff barriers to push growth, say experts

Sri Lanka has obtained the services of a 2-member team of US experts to restructure exports to ensure improved growth. This would among others involve the facilitation of trade agreements, remove road blocks, and increase travellers to the destination. The country’s uniqueness is in its location that shows viability of the logistics and ports sectors [...]

‘Visit, enjoy, protect” – new manthra as SL battles tourism numbers versus sustainability

‘Visit, enjoy, protect” – new manthra as SL  battles tourism numbers versus sustainability

“Visit, enjoy, protect” will be the theme of a new (or already begun) campaign by Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) to promote a more sustainable and eco-friendly tourism product, it was disclosed in Colomb0 last week. These comments from SLT officials emerged at a discussion titled “Making Tourism viable, sustainable and inclusive’ organised by the Colombo-based [...]

Three new CEOs at Sri Lanka’s Ogilvy Group

Three new CEOs at  Sri Lanka’s Ogilvy Group

The appointment of three new CEOs for three of its companies was announced last week by the Ogilvy Group, the most diversified and largest marketing and communications enterprise in Sri Lanka. Sudesh Sundhara Moorthy was named CEO of Phoenix Ogilvy, Manilka Philips as CEO of Ogilvy PR and Sancharitha Jayathilake as CEO of Geometry Global [...]

Sri Lanka’s tea crop heading for worst drop in recent history

Sri Lanka’s tea crop is likely to have dropped by 50 million kg in 2016, the biggest drop in recent history, a top tea broker said last week. Production in 2015 was 328 million kg. As for this year’s outlook, Asia Siyaka Commodities PLC said in a report that the industry is confronted by drought, [...]

LTL Holdings’ Dhaka subsidiaries import furnace oil direct from Singapore

Two subsidiary companies of Lakdhanavi Ltd and LTL Holdings (Pvt) Ltd – Raj Lanka Power Company Ltd (RLPCL) and Lakdhanavi Bangla Power Ltd (LBPL) -, which operate two thermal power plants with the capacity of 104 MW in Bangladesh, have begun direct imports of furnace oil from Singapore. This was after the necessary approvals were [...]

USAID Clean Water project would benefit 100,000 affected by CKD

An approximately Rs. 150 million ($1 million) programme to provide safe disaster-resilient drinking water to local communities in Sri Lanka was launched by USAID last week. State Minister Sudharshini Fernandopulle and MEP leader Dinesh Gunawardena joined USAID at the launch of the project which expands upon several previous USAID projects since 2012 that have provided [...]

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