should relax restrictions on foreign investments
The government should relax restrictions imposed by the Board of
Investment to attract large-scale investments into sectors such
as deep-sea fishing and mass communications, Chandra Jayaratne,
the former chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce said.
attract only petty investments but do not encourage billion-dollar
investments for the large-scale development of these sectors, he
told a seminar on 'Exchange Control Act - Limitations and Opportunities'.
act consists of a lot of stupid loopholes," he said. "The
regime that we are looking forward to is where the intervention
of the Controller of Exchange is required for transactions only
where the country's economy is at stake and not in every transaction
involving genuine business dealings," Jayaratne said. "The
country needs real cash investments and not petty cash investments."
should arrange for foreign currency denominated deposits and investments
by the Sri Lanka Diaspora to be channelled through managed pool
funds, Jayaratne said.
It should also
allow local subsidiary company employees of companies established
overseas to subscribe to employee share option schemes of foreign
parent companies, and allow companies under the BOI regime to obtain
local banking facilities in rupees.
should be allowed to raise short-term foreign currency debts, bonds
and debentures by listing in overseas stock exchanges, Jayaratne
Ms. A. S. de Alwis, Deputy Controller of the Central Bank, said
that one of the most recent changes to the foreign exchange control
laws was to grant permission to extend foreign currency loans to
migrant workers for housing purposes. The present Exchange Control
Department is to be renamed the 'Department of Exchange Management'.
would be involved in monitoring activities to prevent unauthorised
capital transfers and money laundering activities. (TM)
reaches 100 cardiac surgeries milestone
Apollo Hospitals Colombo, recently surpassed the milestone of performing
100 cardiac surgeries, after its opening in June 2002 in a significant
achievement in only four months of operation.
Dr. Prasad Krishnan, Senior Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, who performed
most of these surgeries, patients operated upon ranged from 17 days
to 80 years of age. Many of these infants and high-risk patients
were billed to go abroad for treatment but due to Apollo's superior
tertiary care facilities they all had the opportunity to undergo
surgery successfully in Sri Lanka. Over 20 of the cardiac cases
were infants with varying types of congenital heart diseases, many
weighing less than 9 kg.
achievement for the hospital was that patients who went through
cardiac surgeries were able to leave the hospital within seven days
of surgery which is mainly due to Apollo's superior infection control
methodology and strict policy against the visiting of patients.
cardiac specialities have collaborated in at least two groundbreaking
operations in Sri Lanka. One such case was the use of an Amplatzer
Septal Occluder (ASO) Device to treat an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
or heart defect. This non-surgical device only requires two days
of hospitalisation with the patient walking out of the hospital
with minimal discomfort and no scarring.
firm at mega auto fair
By Mihiri Wikramanayake
Sri Lanka's automotive industry got a boost when Ceylon Auto Industries
was selected to participate in the world's largest automotive exhibition
in Frankfurt recently.
The Auto Mechanika,
held once every two years, attracts 4,200 exhibitors worldwide and
this is the first time a Sri Lankan company has been selected to
display its products.
Industries was selected by a government agency in the Netherlands
known as CBI which promotes imports from developing countries and
had to adhere to stringent selection criteria which included international
environmental compliances, ISO approval and SLS standards.
Deepthi Jayamaha, the company's Managing Director, CBI was responsible
for the assessment of the factory's quality control. The company
was the only one selected from other local contenders. Although
the exhibition was highly competitive, Jayamaha says the response
was 'very encouraging' with lots of interest shown from CIS countries,
South America and Europe.
able to impress foreign buyers of our potential," he says.
"We have also managed to create a niche in the German market,"
he added. Germany is considered to be the largest buyer of automotive
parts. Ceylon Auto Industries already exports leaf springs and filters
to Australia, West Asia, Taiwan and a few European destinations.
While the raw material is imported for local manufacture, the value
addition in Sri Lanka is over 150 percent.
is very high," he said. Jayamaha is disappointed with the lack
of interest from the government towards the local auto parts industry.
The industry must be given incentives like reasonable interest rates
to promote a competitive market, he said.
ADB's tea project completes three
The Tea Development Project launched by the Asian Development Bank
and the government of Sri Lanka to assist tea smallholders through
diverse credit and assistance projects completes three years this
year, officials said.
launched in 1999, aims at uplifting the living conditions and income
of tea smallholders, private tea landowners and private tea factory
owners while preserving the environment.
Under this programme,
loans are granted for planting tea, establishing tea nurseries,
restoration of factories, establishing centres to collect plucked
leaves and buying vehicles for the transportation of plucked leaves.
Over $ 21 million has been spent under the project and the ADB hopes
to provide further assistance to tea smallholders.
was meant to develop the tea industry within five years but we finished
our funds by the third year. The response has been excellent and
we hope to provide further assistance," an ADB official said.
The loans granted
under the programme are payable within a period of seven to 17 years
depending on the amount lent and the purpose for which the loan
According to the ADB, the project aims at strengthening tea institutions
like the National Institute of Plantation Management and the Tea
Research Institute and has launched a programme to plant 3,000-4,000
tea mother bushes that would give a better yield.
Plans are also
underway to restructure these institutions to give maximum benefits
to the tea industry. According to an unofficial survey conducted
by the ADB, the restoration of roads leading to estates has improved
the quality of leaves approaching factories.
quick access to factories by tea pluckers, the quality of the leaves
is preserved and this has resulted in improved income.
The housing project for estate workers too has generated enthusiasm
among workers and resulted in better output." (NG)
acquires Amex operations
Nation Trust Bank (NTB) last week took over the Sri Lankan commercial
banking and foreign exchange operations of the American Express
Bank. The bank, although relatively new in comparison to the older
established banks, has embarked on a dual strategy of expansion
through acquisition of related strategic businesses and branch openings.
It presently operates 16 state of the art branches in strategically
important locations while its acquisitions include Standard Chartered's
Kandy Branch, Waldock Mackenzie Ltd, Deutsch bank retail operations
and now, American Express Bank.
of Nations Trust Bank, Moksevi Prelis said that both American Express
and Nations Trust Bank were committed to a smooth transfer of operations,
with the least possible inconvenience to their customers.
He said they
would ensure the provision of the highest standards of service,
augmented by greater accessibility and a broader product range.
After the takeover of the commercial banking business of AEB, NTB
will continue to operate the American Express Foreign Exchange Services
in Sri Lanka.