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Greenery at the park

Greenery at the park

Some Chinese visitors enjoy a tambili at Viharamahadevi Park amidst nice greenery helped by occasional showers. Pic by Pradeep Pathirana

Special measures to curb violent debt collectors

In the light of a flurry of complaints from debtors regarding intimidating tactics of outsourced recovery agents hired by banks, leasing and finance companies, the Central Bank (CB) has recently issued tough guidelines for those financial institutions. Tactics bordering on ‘thuggery’ are used in the seizure of leased vehicles causing embarrassment to vehicle owners and [...]

Treasury Secy Dr. Samaratunga retires end ’18

Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry will face an unavoidable void and tug of war among few top officials for the high post, following the retirement of Ministry Secretary and eminent SLAS officer Dr. R.H.S Samaratunga scheduled for end December, official sources said. Dr. Samaratunga counts more than 30 years of experience in the public sector and [...]

SWIAC replaces Agency for Development

With the Development (Special Provisions) Bill being a non-event through its rejection by all nine provincial councils in 2016, the government has introduced a new mechanism to deal with all major investment projects in a professional and transparent manner, a top official revealed. The ‘Agency for Development’ which was to be set up under the [...]

Mangala scraps plan to take over tourism levy

The Treasury has assured the tourism industry that the cess fund comprising of 1 per cent remitted by the sector would not be taken over by Consolidated Fund, as earlier planned. This assurance was given by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera to the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte at a meeting [...]

Why not a US trade war with Sri Lanka

Why not a US trade war with Sri Lanka

One of the hot topics in the world today is the trade war between the US and China which began after they raised tariffs against each other. China is not the only country that the US wanted to fight with higher tariffs; it had already raised tariffs against the EU, Canada and Mexico. Recently, I [...]

Rampaging dollar

Rampaging dollar

The October rains have arrived and back-from-the-village Kussi Amma Sera was in conversation with Serapina and Mabel Rasthiyadu. “Dollar-eka naginawa, apita loku prasnayak wei-da (Will the rise of the dollar create lot of problems for us?)?” she asked, seated under the Margosa tree after the rains had taken a break and sunlight was attempting to [...]

Fairfirst wins at the global Web Awards 2018 in the US

Fairfirst Insurance clinched the title of best website insurance at the Web Awards 2018 organised by the esteemed Web Marketing Association in the US. Now in its 17th year, the WebAward programme is the longest running annual website award competition dedicated to naming the best Websites from across 96 industries while setting the standard of [...]

Central Bank maintains the policy interest rates unchanged

In a magical move like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Central Bank (CB) Governor Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy announced the Monetary Board’s decision to maintain the policy interest rates unchanged amidst the rapid slide in the rupee, bemusing some economic analysts who predicted a rate hike. The Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) will be maintained [...]



The International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka held its 52nd AGM in Colombo recently. Dinesh Weerakkody, advisor to the Prime Minister, was appointed as the Chairman for the second consecutive year to provide leadership to the appointed committee. Members of the Sri Lanka 2018-19 Executive Committee: Seated (from left): Vice Chairman – Capt. Nalin Peiris- [...]

Excel Court, first, fully sustainable apartment complex in Sri Lanka

Developers of Excel Court, Park View Holdings Pvt Ltd (PVH) have unveiled for the first time in Sri Lanka, a design for an apartment complex that represents the eco-friendly future of apartment lifestyle known as ‘One Planet Living’. Located in Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte, Excel Court has been conceptualized to combine contemporary urban design with environmental [...]

SUBWAY Sri Lanka expands, offers franchise options

SUBWAY Sri Lanka expands, offers  franchise options

SUBWAY, which opened its restaurant in Sri Lanka – a few yers ago – and now has four outlets, has expansion plans with its fifth outlet to be opened later in 2018. The global restaurant chain has also signed a partnership with Varun Beverages Lanka (Pvt) Ltd as its new exclusive beverage partner in the [...]

Ceylon Chamber’s view of the struggling rupee

The Sri Lankan currency (LKR) has weakened against the US dollar in 2018 (9.4 per cent as at September 26) with close to 4 per cent of the depreciation being recorded in the last two weeks. Currencies like the Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah and Philippines peso have also seen steep depreciation so far in 2018. [...]

Digital Health Week 2018: ‘Transforming Healthcare through Digital Health Innovation’

The Cinnamon Grand Hotel would transform into a sea of digital health activity next week when it plays host to Digital Health Week 2018, starting October 7. The event organised by the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (HISSL) and the Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH) is the largest Digital Health Event in the [...]

Nestlé wins big for coconut kernel products at Presidential Export Awards

Nestlé wins big for  coconut kernel  products at Presidential Export Awards

Nestlé continued its winning streak at the recently held Presidential Export Awards, bagging the ‘Highest Foreign Exchange Earner’ award in the coconut kernel product category. This marks the seventh Presidential Export Award for the company in recognition of its strong contribution to national exports, and efforts to create sustainable livelihoods for local coconut growers and [...]

Adaptation to new technology, a drawback in government institutions

Adaptation to modern technology is a major drawback in most government institutions in Sri Lanka, says Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment. Attending the inauguration of the Blockchain Conference held at the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo last week, he said, “Adaptation is something that people in the government sector are very [...]

ADB, HNB in US$ 20 m agreement to strengthen Sri Lankan microfinance institutions

ADB, HNB in US$ 20 m  agreement to strengthen Sri Lankan microfinance institutions

HNB PLC has announced the signing of a new partnership agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to expand lending and provide guarantees of up to US$20 million to support development of Sri Lanka’s burgeoning microfinance sector. Arranged under the ADB’s Microfinance Risk Participation and Guarantee Programme, the agreement was signed by ADB [...]

RPCs have dimmed confidence in the state: PA

Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) are concerned the future of the plantations sector could be grave due to the growing uneasiness by the state and the failure to keep to the “spirit of the agreement.” “What we emphasise is the failure to keep to the spirit of the agreement reached between the government and the RPCs [...]

More exports needed to lift forex levels

Sri Lanka’s garment industry today is worth more than five and a half billion rupees amounting to 50 per cent of exports. “However we could not get into manufacture of electrical components and machinery as we were not in power during the past 20 years and are now struggling to achieve that,” said the State [...]

Medamulana tax cumbersome for local banks

Sri Lanka’s debt recovery levy or Medamulana tax on banks came into effect on Tuesday, October 1 although it was scheduled to be implemented with effect from April 1, Finance Ministry sources said. The implementation of the new tax didn’t materialise in April due to the delay in issuing clear directions and guidelines from the [...]

Controversial High Speed Railway Project on hold due to lack of clarity

The controversial High Speed Railway Project by Ceylon High Speed Railways Ltd with four foreign investment and technology partners and a massive working capital of Euro 2.2 billion has been put on hold due to its complexity and lack of required information, Board of Investment (BOI) officials said. The local company has informed the BOI [...]

New animal feed plant from Pelwatte Dairy

New animal feed plant from Pelwatte Dairy

Pelwatte Dairy Industries Ltd, in a pioneering venture, has set up its own state-of-the-art animal feed plant in close proximity to its factory and farms in Buttala. The plant which is operated under Indian technology has a current output capacity of 1,200 tonnes per month. Although it is predominantly cattle feed that is produced for [...]

Ascot Holdings renamed Lanka Realty Investments Plc

Ascot Holdings PLC has been renamed Lanka Realty Investments PLC, the company announced this week. The name change captures the company’s core vision; to become the foremost listed real estate investment and development company in Sri Lanka attracting overseas investors merged with the local retail investors. “The Board of Directors of Lanka Realty Investments PLC [...]

Travellers to stabilise depreciating rupee

The government on Friday said that tourism is crucial to the economy that is expected to help in the stabilisation of the rupee with the growing number of arrivals in the face of the current financial crisis. “Tourism is very important for Sri Lanka particularly with the financial crisis,” Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said [...]

IMF suggests exchange rate flexibility for Sri Lanka

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), responding to criticism over the rapid depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar, says Sri Lanka is not alone in this crisis. Ms. Manuela Goretti, IMF Mission Chief for Sri Lanka, in an email response to questions posed by the Business Times, noted that Sri Lanka is currently facing [...]

Young people at the centre of social innovation and entrepreneurship: UNDP

UNDP has this year partnered with a range of stakeholders from the Government and the private sector to further invest in the potential of young people in the areas of technology, entrepreneurship and social innovation. ‘HackaDev’, the National Youth Social Innovation Challenge, is one such initiative which is a platform for young people to be [...]

Heladiv Teas ventures into US, Australia markets

Heladiv Teas has expanded its market by venturing into the US with the first shipment of its stocks of teas sent about three months back. Marketed under HVA Ceylon LLC, the company is based in California and would be selling stocks initially in Los Angeles and would be operating as a standalone company and not [...]

LOLC Group impresses with top Tech Innovator Awards

The LOLC Group won top honours once again at the LankaPay Technnovation Awards 2018 organised by LankaClear (Pvt) Ltd. for the second consecutive year, to recognise and appreciate the vanguards in payment technology. LOLC’s flagship finance entity and Sri Lanka’s largest non-banking financial institution (NBFI), LOLC Finance PLC which continued their winning streak for the [...]

CSE’s Empower Board sees 6 sponsors

As a result of the many awareness forums across the country on their brand new listing platform ‘Empower’ launched in July to develop the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have found six sponsors or firms who aim to play the role of a sponsor [...]

Unfair taxes on Sri Lanka’s banking and finance sector

Unfair taxes on Sri Lanka’s banking and finance sector

Sri Lanka’s banking and finance sector has been treated unfairly by the government when charging taxes from the entities in this sector, experts say. Unlike other companies, barring tobacco and liquor firms, the banks and finance companies pay nearly 60 per cent in taxes to the government. “We pay collectively 60 per cent from our [...]

Kelani Cables eyes digitisation, energy sector

Kelani Cables PLC (Kelani) has plans to go digital while looking to buy firms in the energy sector, company officials say. The company which will be completing 50 years next January has plans to become automated and digitalised while implementing data exchange systems with staff to embrace the next stage of the future in the [...]

Manufacturing growth slowdown temporary

Manufacturing growth has marginally slowed at the beginning of the third quarter but this is somewhat of a temporary slowdown; mostly led by the construction material sector, analysts say. On the plus side, US consumer spending continues to remain strong while the EU is recovering somewhat, according to analysts. “There can be an apparel lead [...]

JLL Lanka hails deregulation of real estate market

Real estate consultancy JLL Lanka this week commended the passing of recent legislation pertaining to foreign ownership of land in Sri Lanka, noting that the move will provide a much-needed boost to investor confidence. In a media statement, JLL referred to the amendment to Section 3 of the Land (Restriction on Alienation) Act No 38 [...]

BoC unlikely to fully take up their NDB rights

The Bank of Ceylon (BoC) is unlikely to take up their rights entitlement fully in NDB as they are cash strapped to buy them, industry experts said. “Some quantity of BoC’s rights has been offered to other investors at the bank’s direction,” a stockbroker told the Business Times. BOC’s capital adequacy ratios are low, especially [...]

MTD Walkers says most debenture interest paid

MTD Walkers PLC supported by NDB Investment Bank, the Bank of Ceylon Trustees and Nithya Partners representing the interests of the investors to their debenture, has restructured MTD’s debenture obligations, MTD officials said. “MTD Walkers PLC with the support of more than 75 per cent of the debenture holders cleared the hurdle of the debenture [...]

South Asian Economics Students’ Meet in Jan. 2019 in Colombo

The South Asian Economics Students’ Meet (SAESM), one of the prominent undergraduate events in the South Asian academic calendar, will be held in Colombo in January 2019. The SAESM aims at providing a platform for young economists to enhance and share their academic knowledge while providing new avenues to find answers to promising development challenges [...]

Road surfacing from waste plastic

The Asset Group of Companies has commenced using a new technology transforming waste plastic into a product used to produce asphalt for road surfacing. Manufactured by mixing shredded plastic with aggregates, and bitumen – the new asphalt mix is said to provide a number of benefits including an innovative and viable solution to address the [...]

Second Curve-BT poll on strikes

Second Curve-BT poll on strikes

The Business Times (BT) together with polling partner Second Curve recently conducted a poll cum survey on the growing number of strikes and its impact on Sri Lankans. While the results of the BT poll was published, the results of Second Curve are being released today. A total of 300 respondents falling into age groups [...]

Bricks Developers introduces Thurstan 42, for an envious lifestyle

Bricks Developers (Pvt.) Ltd is venturing into the rapidly growing apartment construction industry in the island with an overseas partner Zhongtian Dinghui Investment Company Ltd, which has extensive experience. ‘Thurstan 42’ is the brainchild of Shanker Somasunderam, Managing Director and Chairman of Bricks Developers (Pvt) Ltd, which is a property development company engaged in the [...]

New import rules hurt Sri Lanka’s consumer: Fitch Ratings

Sri Lanka-based consumer durable retailers’ operating cash flow is likely to weaken following new government regulations that impose a 100 per cent cash margin on the import of most types of consumer durables, Fitch Ratings says. The credit profiles of rated retailers, such as Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC (A-(lka)/Stable) and Abans PLC (BBB+(lka)/Stable), may come [...]

Advantis Engineering builds state-of-the-art school in Batticaloa using containers

Advantis Engineering builds state-of-the-art school in Batticaloa using containers

Advantis Engineering, a subsidiary of Hayleys Advantis Ltd, recently completed the design, construction and installation of the first school to be built out of shipping containers – The Headway School of Languages in Batticaloa. Utilizing the company’s innovative space solution, Convertainers, this latest project, comprising 32 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units), is one of the largest [...]

Laugfs Gas, Hambantota Port to make Sri Lanka an energy hub

Laugfs Gas, a pioneer in Sri Lanka’s power and energy sector, is currently working towards making Sri Lanka an energy hub, and Hambantota Port is their launch pad for this ambitious plan. The company, in a media release, said it’s of the view that the port being strategically placed in one of the world’s unique [...]

Major skills shift required with 4th Industrial Revolution

With the introduction of new technology, the skill in the workplace is significant, since the 4th industrial revolution, adoption of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will mark an acceleration over the shifts of even the recent past. The requirement of skills, for instance, technological, social and emotional skills is in demand as well as physical [...]

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