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Sri Lanka’s top bureaucrat has a fall

Sri Lanka’s top bureaucrat has a fall

Colombo’s sunshine too hot for tourists

Colombo city hoteliers are finding it difficult to fill their rooms this summer due to at least a 25 per cent drop in tourist arrivals in the first two months for the season with less Indians visiting the country, hoteliers said. A drop in arrivals was recorded in April by about 15 per cent and [...]

Reverse sweep for ban on land deals

The government is bringing in sweeping changes to recent restrictions imposed on foreign ownership of businesses and property to promote foreign investments, government officials said. The Finance Ministry will issue a circular indicating these changes following the Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera’s endorsement of these decisions, reversing a budget decision. In a 180-degree turn from [...]

Crisis-hit Fonterra milk controls 60 % of local market

New Zealand’s Anchor and Ratthi brands control 60 per cent of Sri Lanka’s milk powder consumption market which is estimated at 85,000 metric tonnes (MT) annually, industry sources said. The balance comes from Lakspray (12 per cent) and Nespray (8 per cent) which is also sourced from New Zealand, the sources said. Market share figures [...]

State-funded Jaffna hotel land sold

Land belonging to the government-sponsored Jaffna hotel project in close proximity to the Nallur kovil was sold about six months back, after plans to run it were abandoned, officials said. State plans to construct a hotel in close proximity to the Nallur kovil was stalled by repeated protests in Jaffna by residents and backed by [...]

Long-overdue WB tourism project takes off amidst concerns

A long overdue US$16 million (Rs. 2 billion) World Bank-funded project to assist SMEs in the tourism sector finally got off the ground this week but industry officials say it falls short of targeting enterprises that should ideally be streamlined as part of the original plan. In this respect, enterprises already in the tourism business [...]

Organisational Justice: Fairplay matters

Organisational Justice: Fairplay matters

James is a good friend and a mentor. After his retirement from university last year, he has been struggling to hold a job, even though the recruiters are eager to hire him given the impressive credentials. Having served in education all his life and giving his heart and soul to his students, James’ expectations for [...]

Playing with Electricity Pricing: Two steps forward, one step backwards?

Playing with Electricity  Pricing: Two steps forward, one step backwards?

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF), since its inception has consistently argued in favour of cost reflective pricing for every State Owned Enterprise (SOE). This is based on the premise that losses of SOEs are invariably a burden on the public, particularly the poor and vulnerable, in one way or the other. In practice, the public are [...]

Free healthcare: Does it have to be?

Around 100,000 patients receive treatment either on outpatient or inpatient basis per day at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka. That is a staggering number for a single institution to bear in a country where healthcare is free of charge. The financial burden on the country to offer its citizens free health is immense. In [...]

Sustaining the tea economy

Two leaves and a bud; That’s how tea is plucked in Sri Lankan estates through a worker-management chain that includes the ‘Thangachchi or Amma (worker)”, ‘Kankany (supervisor)” and “Sinna or Periya Dorai (junior or senior Superintendent”. That model hasn’t changed for decades except for some tinkering, here and there. Likewise the lament over rising wages [...]

CB rate cut must be monitored carefully

The Central Bank (CB) decision last week to ease interest rates, despite warnings by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), could trigger inflation and put further pressure on the economy, economists say. “On the other hand, with economic growth coming down the only way to prop up growth is through lowering interest rates. But that comes [...]

BOI fast-tracks projects with rapid investor facilitation, says new BOI Chief

Aimed at attracting S$ 2 billion in Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) this year, the Sri Lanka Board of Investment (BOI) is now accelerating proposed projects under implementation through rapid investor facilitation, follow up action and constant monitorig while making every effort to attract prospective high net-worth foreign investors, the head of Sri Lanka’s investment promotion [...]

Lankan plantations struggle to survive amidst high production costs

Lankan plantations struggle to survive amidst high production costs

With the recent 20 per cent wage hike given to plantation sector workers, Sri Lanka’s once lucrative tea industry is facing a threat of collapse due to the inability to increase labour productivity and declining yields in high grown, mid grown and Uva tea sectors, senior plantation sector officials said in Colombo on Tuesday. As [...]

Hayleys chairman Pandithage honoured with Lifetime Achievement in top shipping awards

Hayleys chairman Pandithage honoured with Lifetime Achievement in top shipping awards

Mohan Pandithage, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Hayleys Group received the Lifetime Achievement award at the Seatrade – Sri Lanka Ports, Trade and Logistics (SLPTL) Awards ceremony held recently. The award is in recognition of Mr.Pandithage’s contributions to the transportation and logistics industry during his career spanning four decades, the company said. Accepting his [...]

Impending interest rate cut to drain depositor earnings

With the Central Bank (CB) cutting benchmark interest rates last week, secondary market rates began to drop from Monday setting the pace for financial institutions to slash deposit rates. But the CB insists this move won’t erode depositors’ wealth. C. J. P. Siriwardena, Assistant Governor – CB told the Business Times that the actual measurement [...]

IPM national conference uses a simple theme

The Institute of Personnel Management of Sri Lanka (IPM) has decided to have a simple theme “In search of Human Resource Excellence” for this year’s National HR Conference 2013 to be held on 18 and 19 June at the Water’s Edge Hotel.This was revealed by Dr. Ajantha Dharmasiri, Chairman, Technical Committee of the conference at [...]

New investors resurrect crisis-hit CIFL finance company

A group of new investors has taken over the crisis-hit Central Investment and Finance PLC (CIFL), which recently experienced a run on its deposits leading to temporary liquidity problems. On Monday, the company announced major changes to the board of dirctors including a new chairman. The changes took effect from 2nd May, the company said [...]

Relief or depression for Golden Key depositors?

Finally there seems to be some kind of light at the end of the tunnel for all aggrieved depositors of Golden Key (GK), but the tunnel seems to be never ending! Firstly a big thank you should go out to The Sunday (Business) Times for giving much publicity and also publicising weekly the Golden Key [...]

Little or no corporate governance in Sri Lankan companies

A recent article on business value of corporate governance though well written, lectures the need to move beyond rules, to principles. Day-dreaming? In Sri Lanka, even the rules are flouted sometimes even by the regulator like the Central Bank or other authorities. For example Central Bank regulators are appointed to private banks, a day after [...]

Dialog TV acquires Sky TV

Sri Lanka’s Dialog Axiata PLC, through its subsidiary Dialog Broadband Networks (DBN), has acquired 100 per cent control of Sky Television and Radio Network (Sky) at a price of Rs. 800 million. Sky will be amalgamated with DBN, Dialog said in a media release. Sky is a licensed Pay Television Operator and is currently in [...]

Consider supply, awareness, incentive and cost to attract IT companies : Virtusa GM

Consider supply, awareness, incentive and cost to attract IT companies : Virtusa GM

A number of challenges still exist if Sri Lanka’s IT sector is to attract the necessary pool of IT companies to expand the industry to its US$ 1 billion revenue target in the next few years, from its current US$ 600 million. Amongst these are a ramp-up in the supply of suitable IT personnel, market [...]

Sri Lanka gets Samsung Galaxy S4, Grand and Note 8.0

Sri Lanka gets Samsung Galaxy S4, Grand and Note 8.0

Sri Lankans witnessed the introduction of the newest iteration of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy smart phone, the S4, at a glitzy affair at Water’s Edge on the evening of May 9. Being unveiled locally just weeks after its March 2013 worldwide launch, the S4 aso brought with it a number of upgrades over its previous, S3 [...]

HP debuts EliteBook Revolve convertible notebook tablet in Sri Lanka

HP debuts EliteBook Revolve convertible notebook tablet in Sri Lanka

HP recently added the EliteBook Revolve business tablet to its Sri Lankan portfolio of products. A unique feature of this device is that not only is it a tablet but it is also convertible, by pivoting the screen, into a touch-enabled notebook. Further, according to HP’s launch statement; “With the ability to transform with the [...]

HCM Connect 2013 to go to Kuala Lumpur

Local human resource technology conference HCM Connect 2013, organised by Sri Lankan IT company Microimage, will expand its scope to also include Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and even other countries, over the course of this year, according to the company’s Funder and Chief Executive Harsha Purasinghe. Welcoming delegates to the event’s recently-concluded Sri Lankan leg, the [...]

DMS implements end-to-end networking solution at People’s Leasing HQ

Sri Lanka’s DMS Electronics has announced that it has successfully completed a project to implement an end-to-end networking solution for client People’s Leasing (PLC) at the latter’s headquarters in Borella. Further, according to the announcement; “The state of the art solution was deployed with high availability and a 10 GB fibre backbone given the criticality [...]

Greater risk for telcos from advancing tech, threats : Etisalat SL IT head

Advances in technology as well as higher sophistication in terms of threats are resulting in greater risks for local telecommunications companies, according to Priyankara Perera, Head of IT for the Sri Lankan unit of celco Etisalat. Mr. Perera made this comment, according to a statement, at a recently-concluded seminar on “Situational Awareness in Information Security”, [...]

Gold rush down ‘Hetti Weediya (Sea Street)’

When gold prices were believed to have crashed some three weeks, consumers stormed Colombo’s Sea Street (Hetti Weediya) considered Sri Lanka’s gold marketplace and jewellery stores had a tough time coping with buyers. Long queues formed outside shops as people rushed in to purchase gold. “Easy come … easy go” is what jewellers are talking [...]

Pawning business: Gold mine or mine field?

Pawning business: Gold mine or mine field?

Sri Lankan banks have pulled the plug on advertising and promoting their pawning business on the back of fast depleting gold prices and an industry exposure of Rs. 700 billion which could prove to be a mine field, industry analysts said. They estimate total industry exposure to the pawning business together with banks and finance [...]

Sri Lanka’s private sector wants local grads

Sri Lanka’s private sector is currently looking at attracting increasing numbers of graduates from local universities and urging them to consider employment in non-state institutions. The John Keells Group has financially assisted 49 students qualifying to enter local universities aimed at encouraging more graduates to consider employment in the private sector, a media release issued [...]

Sri Lanka enticing MICE travellers from the Far East

Sri Lanka enticing MICE travellers from the Far East

The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) and SriLankan Airlines, in line with the tourism strategy to develop new markets, carried out country MICE promotions in Singapore and Malaysia together with the Lankan MICE industry members recently. In both cities, a large number of potential buyers attended the promotion which consisted of presentations and cultural recitals [...]

New luxury hotel at Veyangoda by coco-based products SL firm

Like many new Sri Lankan companies, Coco Agro Pvt Ltd is venturing into the leisure sector through Coco Agro Hotels (Pvt) Ltd, and building a 4 to 5 star class hotel and conference centre at Veyangoda which would be ready next year. “This new facility will contain luxurious accommodation on par with 4 to 5 [...]

Revival of the UK travel market

Travellers from the UK, one of the worst hit markets for Sri Lanka, is seeing a revival with an 18 per cent surge in the first quarter of the year with the overall outbound European market also showing signs of a recovery, industry officials said. Comparatively in the same 2012 quarter arrivals from UK, a [...]

HNB Group’s post-tax profit in Q1 2013 drops for many reasons

The first quarter 2013 performance of Sri Lanka’s banking sector continued to be challenging, says HNB which has reported a post-tax profit of Rs. 1.16 billion, down from Rs. 1.23 billion in the 2012 first quarter. Group post-tax profit was Rs. 1.27 billion compared to Rs. 1.32 billion at end of Q1 2012, the bank [...]

Commercial Bank reports 1Q pre-tax profit of Rs 3.23 bln

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC has posted a pre-tax profit of Rs 3.23 billion on gross income of Rs 16.77 billion for the first quarter ending 31st March 2013, the bank said. It said in a statement on Tuesday that the results came amidst a decline in foreign exchange income by Rs 1.47 billion [...]

Sri Lanka’s CB extends guidance to other Central Banks

A delegation headed by the Governor of the Central Bank of Seychelles, (CBS) Ms. Caroline Abel met with officials of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank (CB) to enhance their supervisory and regulatory capabilities with particular reference to the new upcoming developments in Seychelles. The CBS is in the process of drafting a new Financial Leasing Act [...]

NTB 1Q post-tax profit up 15 %

The Nations Trust Bank (NTB) closed the financial quarter ending 31st March 2013 with a post-tax profit of Rs 502 million, up 15 per cent over the corresponding period 2012. “First quarter achievement was driven by good growth in top line revenue, well diversified across business segments and under pinned by the growth in loans [...]

‘Noodle Pudding’ wins Perera & Sons 1st quarter cook-off

‘Noodle Pudding’ wins Perera & Sons 1st quarter cook-off

Lahiru Jayarathne’s innovative “Noodle Pudding” recently won the first leg of the quarterly Creative Cooks cook-off organised by Sri Lankan bakery fixture Perera and Sons. The event was held at the company’s Bars Cafe unit on May 6. Topped with custard, orange slices and full grapes, and filled with noodles amongst other ingredients, Mr. Jayarathne’s [...]

Sri Lanka rapidly moving towards US$10 billion economy: Cabraal

Sri Lanka rapidly moving towards US$10 billion economy: Cabraal

Sri Lanka, moving rapidly towards a US$10 billion and a $4,000 per capita system, needs knowledgeable, competent and innovative professionals with the skills required for the 21st century knowledge economy, said Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal. He was speaking at the annual graduation ceremony of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (ICMA) Australia held at [...]

Overseas Sri Lankans need to share their skills here

The “Work In Sri Lanka” initiative will enable Sri Lankans to recognise the milestone reached in the country and realise that qualified personnel can easily contribute to the productive potential of the country, according to Ajith Nivard Cabral, Governor of the Central Bank. Speaking at the May 14th launch of the “Work in Sri Lanka” [...]

H’tota tank farm tests to be fuelled from Singapore or Dubai

Sri Lanka is importing a consignment of oil from either Dubai or Singapore for pre-commissioning tests costing US$10 million next month for its tank farm project at its new Hambantota port. The total cost of the tank farm project is US$96 million of which $76 million is for construction. McLarens Shipping Chairman Rohan De Silva [...]

Brazilian diplomat to lead WTO

Brazilian diplomat, Ambassador Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo was this week picked as the new Director-General of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO), the world body that governs trade rules. The organisation’s General Council on May 14 approved his appointment in which he takes over on September 1 from incumbent, French national, Pascal Lamy. Mr. Lamy [...]

Sri Lankan expat workers get same wage as Korean counterparts

In the 1990s South Korea was the largest investor in Sri Lanka, but today these investments have been reduced to very low level. A more positive development is that expatriate Sri Lankan workers are on par with their Korean counterparts – receiving the same wage. This was one of the important elements of presentation/discussion on [...]

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