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CHOGM not just expensive risk, but rare opportunity – former Foreign Secretary

CHOGM not just expensive risk, but rare opportunity – former Foreign Secretary

The upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), to be held in Sri Lanka for the first time in November 2013, is not just an expensive risk but also a rare opportunity for the host country to showcase its diplomatic capabilities, according to former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador H.M.G.S. Palihakkara. However, he cautioned that it [...]

BUDGET: Sri Lanka faces fiscal crisis of its own

Sri Lanka is facing a fiscal crisis of its own, as the government struggles to rein in a widening budget deficit. With 2013 budget targets already gone awry, the government will present the 2014 budget next month with subdued revenues, high fiscal deficit, sticky expenses, optimistic projections and heavy local and foreign borrowings. The 2014 [...]

Duminda and Dad advisors to Touchwood board

Controversial parliamentarian Duminda Silva who resigned from Touchwood Investments PLC directorate a day after he was appointed, continues to be an advisor to the board, along with his father, Lal Silva. Company Chairman Lanka Kiwulegedara told the Business Times that the junior Silva had resigned on the advice of his father, who thought it best [...]

Krrish project now confronted with environmental issues

The Krrish square mixed development project tainted by scandalous financial deals is yet to get the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) approval to kick-start the project, informed sources said. The Transworks building site at Colombo Fort leased by Delhi-based group Krrish is environmentally not suitable for a mega mixed development project, environmental experts have said. The [...]

Designer clothes, designer shoes … what next? Why not designer eggs!

Designer clothes, designer shoes … what next? Why not designer eggs!

Thanks to the research scientists of the ITI (industrial Research Institute), Sri Lanka has its own designer eggs. This new breed of eggs branded as ‘Arogya Omega 3+ DHA Eggs’ would be soon available in Sri Lanka and marketed for the first time in this country. Cleared for consumption for consumers who earlier considered bad [...]

Questioning the role of finance and state authorities

Questioning the role of finance and state authorities

The draft national housing policy presented by the Government is a relatively short, under 40 pages, yet an important document. It discusses the need to diversify the housing market including promoting rental housing, expand loan facilities for low and middle income groups, and provide tax incentives for builders. The policy is available on the web [...]

Trade union calls for radical change in taxation policy in 2014 budget

As a prelude to preparing the budget for 2014, the government has called for proposals from the public and the trade unions being an organised segment of our society, have responded by listing their demands, a key trade union said. Whilst the Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) associates itself and supports the position of the [...]

CHOGM: A dignified welcome

Sri Lanka welcomes a diverse group of world leaders next month when it hosts the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). It is the second largest gathering of world leaders in Sri Lanka since the 1976 Non Aligned Summit and the authorities are upbeat on putting on a ‘good show’. The country is facing many [...]

SLIC unions resort to strikes, protest to the President over irregularities

Union workers at the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) has said the SLIC has become a failed business entity with even the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) accepting that there has been bad management at the organisation. Sarath Nandalal, President, Sri Lanka Insurance Employees Union told the Business Times that they met Treasury Secretary [...]

Bharti Airtel Lanka, Principal sponsor of the CHOGM Business Forum

Bharti Airtel Lanka said this week that it has pledged its support as a principal sponsor of the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) 2013, which is scheduled to take place on 12th – 14th November in Colombo during the CHOGM leaders’ summit. Commenting on the development, Suren Goonewardene, CEO/MD-Bharti Airtel Lanka said that, “It is a [...]

Revived GKCC makes third phase repayment to over 1200 depositors

Revived GKCC makes third phase repayment  to over 1200 depositors

The defunct Golden Key Credit Card Company (GK) revived by the Central Bank (CB) on a Supreme Court order has made repayments as low as Rs 48 and high as Rs.100,000 under phase 3 to 1204 security deposit holders with security deposits up to Rs.1 million, an official said. According to the plan of action [...]

Pan Asia Bank raises $20 mln in foreign funds

Pan Asia Bank raises  $20 mln in foreign funds

Pan Asia Bank has entered into an agreement with the Global Climate Partnership fund (GCPF) to raise US$20 million through a 7-year senior unsecured loan. The funds raised would be utilized to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects which is a sector of immense importance that would support the post conflict growth in Sri [...]

Hemas appoints Anura Ekanayake, Dinesh Weerakkody as independent directors

Hemas Holdings PLC this week announced the appointment of two top professionals, Anura Ekanayake and Dinesh Weerakkody, as independent directors. Dr. Ekanayake is a past Chairman of Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and a former Chairman of Industrial Association of Sri Lanka and of the International Natural Rubber Council based in Kuala Lumpur. Mr. Weerakkody [...]

Skills required for sustainable employment

Most governments and businesses around the world face a huge challenge; high levels of unemployment and a shortage of job seekers with critical skills, according to human resources specialist Dinesh Weerakody. Speaking at the recently concluded 26th Annual Conference and National APEX Awards 2013 organized by the Organisation of Professional Associations of Sri Lanka(OPA) themed [...]

Colombo Stock Exchange to attract new listings

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) is organizing an Issuer Relations forum titled “Listing on the Colombo Stock Exchange – A Mark of Distinction” on October 11 at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo. The forum is for the benefits of unlisted companies to give them an insight on listing their shares and corporate debt on the CSE, [...]

The IMF cautions Sri Lanka on foreign borrowings at high rates

The International Monetary Fund has cautioned Sri Lanka on foreign borrowings at high rates in the face of flat budget revenues and relatively low growth. Todd Schneider, a top official of IMF told a media conference in Colombo last week that new external borrowings should be done with a close eye to sustainability stressing the [...]

Maruti Suzuki India to take a final decision soon on Sri Lanka assembly unit

Maruti Suzuki India is to take a final decision on setting up an assembly unit in Sri Lanka to commission the first facility for the small car giant outside India, motor industry sources said. The aim is to assemble Maruti Suzuki cars in the island with certain value addition. A delegation from Maruti Suzuki of [...]

Rajeeva new CEO at CSE

Rajeeva Bandaranaike, front runner for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) post at the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) following the current CEO Surekha Sellahewa’s resignation, has been appointed to this position with effect from November 14, according to CSE officials. Mr. Bandaranaike was previously CEO of People’s Merchant Plc and prior to that, he was the [...]

China assures assistance to develop tourism

China assures assistance to develop tourism

China has assured Sri Lanka of further assistance to develop the tourism industry and raise the country’s living standards by launching various tourism related programmes to enhance destination awareness in the Chinese market. Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China and the Central Committee Liu Yunshan who [...]

Sri Lanka joins amended IATA Billing and Settlement scheme

Sri Lanka is now in line with the global industry trends after deciding to follow the new Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), according to a statement issued by the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR) Sri Lanka. BSP is an accounting mechanism through which IATA member airlines and accredited agents worldwide process their business transactions. Originally [...]

New privilege card for apparel sector employees

Leading consumer brands and retailers from the private as well as the public sectors came together recently to launch a programme focusing on employees’ welfare particularly for the apparel sector, an official media release said. Initiated by the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), this programme is to appreciate and reward the entire apparel industry workforce [...]

Top cyber security conference highlights more advanced threats

A cyber security conference that concluded this week highlighted the more targetted nature of emerging cyber security threats. Previously, it was mostly generic data that was captured, but new methodologies now include targetting specific companies and organisations, with specific information being sought after, and malware also being able to erase tracks. Speakers at the 6th [...]

MS Dynamics provides support to Tropicoir

The latest organisation to join the exclusive and elite corporate segment of Microsoft Dynamics ERP is Tropicoir Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, exporters of coir based products worldwide, the business solutions company said. The company has been a leader in the industry for the past17 years and maintains a close relationship with its clients in order to [...]

Commercial Bank’s CSR trust donates landmark 100th IT Laboratory to Mirihanegama Kanista Vidyalaya

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon last week presented its 100th IT Laboratory to the Mirihanegama Kanista Vidyalaya. The school serves the 247-family community of Mirihanegama. The bank also assisted the villagers to establish a milk collection project with the help of dairy companies and presented a number of microfinance loans to residents, according to a [...]

Local IT future is in products, not consulting : Leapset CEO

Local  IT future is in products, not consulting : Leapset CEO

Sri Lanka’s future is not in consulting or IT services, since there aren’t millions of IT grads locally as in India. Rather, the way forward is product development, according to Mani Kulasooriya, the Chief Executive Officer of Leapset. Speaking to the Business Times, Mr. Kulasooriya elaborated that, to achieve this end, Sri Lanka must create [...]

Oracle Database 12c now in SL

Oracle recently announced the availability of its Database 12c for the Sri Lankan market, following the product’s general release, worldwide, in June 2013. According to Kaleem Chaudhry, the Regional Director for Enterprise Technology, Oracle Asia Pacific this new release features a new architecture which is the first time in over five years that the company [...]

Brandix to launch innovation ‘incubator’

Brandix to launch innovation ‘incubator’

Sri Lanka-based apparel manufacturer Brandix plans to launch a ‘incubator’ in the near future, to facilitate and foster innovation, according to company director Udena Wickremesooriya. Mr. Wickremesooriya’s statement was made during the closing ceremony of the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) organised Robofest 2013, where he was the Chief Guest, and his company [...]

Jaffna next Silicon Valley, eventually: IT industry leader

Jaffna next Silicon Valley, eventually:  IT industry leader

Jaffna can eventually become the next Silicon Valley with all the physical and psychological transformation taking place over there, says IT industry leader Mano Sekaram, the Chief Executive of locally-based 99X Technologies. He also notes that the talent pool in Jaffna was the future of Sri Lanka’s offering to the world. Mr. Sekaram’s comments were [...]

Information security watch – Cyber Espionage

Information security watch – Cyber Espionage

‘Cyberspace’ is the electronic medium of digital networks used to store, modify and communicate information. It includes the Internet and other information systems that support businesses, infrastructure and services. However, some individuals and groups use cyberspace for malicious purposes are known as ‘hostile actors’ and they exploit cyberspace to conduct espionage operations or launch damaging [...]

PIM gets a new Director

PIM gets a new Director

Mangala Fonseka, Professor in Accounting, Department of Accounting, University of Sri Jayewardenepura was recently appointed Director, Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), the institute said. He succeeds Prof. Uditha Liyanage who is currently on sabbatical leave. Prof. Fonseka holds obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Science (B.Sc) and a Postgraduate Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the [...]

Entrepreneurial operating system – winner for Bren Security

Entrepreneurial operating  system – winner for Bren Security

Bren Security (Pvt) Ltd, the Sri Lankan partner of the worldwide Securitas AB group, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary with its annual forum “Hard Talk” in Colombo. “Hard Talk is an open forum discussion originated by and unique to Bren, wherein clients can express their frank views and feedback on service, be it positive, ambivalent [...]

Bharthi Airtel says no plan to sell Sri Lanka operations

Bharthi Airtel has refuted a media report in India that the company was in talks with Etisalat Lanka to sell its Sri Lankan operation. “At the moment, I can say that there is nothing on the table,” Sunil Bharti Mittal, founder, chairman and group CEO was quoted as saying in an India-based Economic Times report [...]

China now the focus of many global travellers, UNWTO chief says

MALE – The profile of the global traveller is changing and Europe is no more the centre of attraction, according to UN World Tourist Organisation (UNWTO), Taleb Refai. China, he told reporters at a media briefing on the sidelines of the World Tourism Day official celebrations held on Friday, September 27 in the Maldives, is [...]

SL-based Pyxle outlines South America, China and Africa growth plans

Sri Lankan IT company Pyxle celebrated 10 years recently, while additionally outlining plans for the future. According to the company’s Managing Director Preshantha Jayamaha, the company has “established itself enough locally” and the goal was to now become a true global enterprise. Further, the company outlined its 2017 roadmap which will see it setting up [...]

Sri Lanka’s Supreme SAT to use Afghanistan slot for another satellite launch

Sri Lanka’s Supreme SAT, the first and only satellite operator in the country, is to use the orbital slot of 50 degrees east in Afghanistan with the aim of launching another satellite, officials of the company said. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan recently signed a MoU [...]

M. D. Gunasena partners Colleen Pencil Thailand

M.D. Gunasena, the leading publisher, printer and bookseller, partnered with Colleen Pencil Thailand Ltd., an innovative manufacturer of colour products, at a launch ceremony held recently at the company auditorium in Colombo. The inauguration ceremony was held under the patronage of well-known children’s author Sybil Wettasinghe, Rajiv Gunasena – Deputy Managing Director – M.D. Gunasena [...]

Lanka companies buoyant at EDB’s first ever China-Lanka direct B2B

Sri Lankan businesses experienced a sudden boost and saw new doors of opportunities last week with a surge of inquiries from the powerful Chinese businesses now scouring Sri Lanka. On 26th September, a 100 Lankan firms of small, medium and large scales met representatives from 23 powerful Chinese firms that arrived in Sri Lanka as [...]

“High level probe into contract of specially – designed brooches for CHOGM first ladies”

Director General of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority Authority Janaka Udaya Kumara wrote to the Business Times with reference to last week’s story under the above headline. He said: “An experimental suggestion to gift a 12″ X 18″ self-portrait made of Sri Lankan Gemstones as a souvenir to each visiting CHOGM spouse was originally [...]

Singapore firm to set up dialysis hospital in Sri Lanka

A Singapore medical group is setting up a specialized hospital for kidney dialysis at Kohuwela, near Colombo at an investment value of US$1.5 million, the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI) said this week. The hospital by the Singapore Dialysis Medical Group (Pvt) Ltd will have 30 local and seven foreign staff. An agreement [...]

‘Dawn Princess’ docks in Colombo after 10 years

‘Dawn Princess’ docks in Colombo after 10 years

The luxury cruise ship ‘Dawn Princess’ of the Princess Cruise liner berthed at Colombo Harbour last week with 1934 passengers after a lapse of 10 years. The cruise ship will sail to Malaysia and back to Sydney after a ninety day excursions in Indian and Pacific Oceans. All passengers disembarked at the Colombo Port and [...]

ADB continues assistance to improve water and wastewater management in Colombo

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$88 million loan to the Sri Lankan government for phase two of the Greater Colombo Water and Wastewater Management Improvement Investment Program. The Multitranche Financing Facility (MFF) will improve water and wastewater management services in Greater Colombo, helping the government to achieve its goal of providing safe [...]

JKH in talks with two international operators to run casino

John Keells Holdings (JKH), this week securing shareholder approval for a 40-billion-rupee rights issue to fund a mega mixed development project, is discussing with two international gaming operators to run its intended casino. “We are discussing with two international operators at the moment,” Ajit Gunewardene, JKH Deputy Chairman told the Business Times at the company’s [...]

Harnessing tourism potential through targeted strategies

Given the projected growth trends for international tourism over the next few years, Sri Lanka’s ambitious target of 2.5 million tourists by 2016 is well within reach, says Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal. “Nevertheless, it is important that we strategically target the key source markets and customize the tourism product to cater better to [...]

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