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Sri Lanka’s newest bank

Sri Lanka’s newest bank

Cargills Bank, the newest commercial bank in Sri Lanka, at its main Kollupitiya head office, after a soft-opening. Pic by Athula Devapriya

Treasury re-activates old tax revenue circulars

The Treasury, short of cash for development projects and immediate recurrent expenditure, is re-activating old tax revenue circulars which have been inactive and a level of laxity in meeting out punishment to offenders. According to the Central Bank’s 2013 annual report, tax revenue fell to Rs.1, 005.9 billion from the budgetary target of Rs.1,131 billion. [...]

No ‘mercy’ for veteran actress from finance Cos.

Mercy Edirisinghe, the lovable, female comedian of Sinhala cinema who died recently, was one of the victims of the crisis in some finance companies that has afflicted many of Sri Lanka’s elderly citizens. Ms. Edirisinghe, a veteran theatre, stage and TV actress, was an investor of the failed Central Investment and Finance Ltd (CIFL) along [...]

Touchwood is “forever” but without an office, says Kiwlegedara

Touchwood would re-commence operations in early June this year although the location of its new office remains a mystery as its chief Lanka Kiwlegedara admitted on Friday that the publicly announced address was indeed a bogus one. Mr. Kiwlegedara admitted during an interview with the Business Times that they do not have an office from [...]

HR Guru Ulrich in Colombo on April 30

Professor Dave Ulrich, the foremost HR Thought leader, is briefly visiting Sri Lanka on April 30 en route to Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, organisers in Colombo said. He is scheduled to conduct a HR master class titled the ‘Future of HR’ at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla from 9 am to 12.30 pm and a [...]

More transparency urged in share market investments

Several employee-members of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are calling for more transparency in investments made by the Fund in the stock market, a Business Times (BT) poll this week shows. The widely-responded poll, following media disclosures of the Auditor General’s review of the 2011 EPF annual report which shows a fall in the value [...]

EPF says profits between 2009 to 2013 exceed Rs.558 bln

The Employees’ Provident Fund says that (in absolute terms) the Fund made profits of Rs 101.7 billion, Rs 111.5 billion, Rs 107.5 billion, Rs 111.8 billion and Rs.125.6 billion in the years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively, for its members. Responding to the Auditor General’s review of the EPF 2011 report which was [...]

SL’s ‘this-way, that-way’ growth

When a drunk walks out of a bar, he moves in a this-way-that-way manner. Finally when he appears to be able to maintain a steady, straight-line walking pace, he suddenly sways again before getting back! This is how a Sri Lankan (non political) economist described the current path of the Sri Lankan economy. “On one [...]

EPF loses Rs. 11 bln on bad investments

I was shocked and disgusted to note from news reports that the Auditor General has revealed that the EPF has lost Rs. 11.7 billion due to bad or deliberate investments- a 1% drop in the value of the EPF. Who are the losers? The POOR workers of this country. What are they doing about it [...]

Issues at the Registrar of Companies

In the recent past the Registrar of Companies (ROC) office has become very inefficient and draconian. Certified copies of Form 1, Form 20, Form 40 and some other forms are very often required for the smooth running of a company. These were issued by the (ROC) without any problems sometime back. Unfortunately now it has [...]

Dwindling population trends in Sri Lanka

My family recently attended the union of the descendents of my wife’s grandfather in Peradeniya, Kandy. A very interesting piece of numbers about his dependency was discussed that shows how fast our population growth rate is dwindling. The grandfather had nine children, and those nine children in turn had 45 sons and daughters. The total [...]

The much maligned cigarette

The much maligned cigarette

One of the local newspapers recently published an article stating that the cigarette is a dangerous killer and packets should display frightening pictures of cancer to discourage young from smoking cigarettes. Yes, cigarette smoking is a bad addiction and a danger to one’s health although in its heyday the cigarette was a symbol of power, [...]

JAT’s product range backed by state-of-the-art tech centres

JAT Holdings has decided to enhance its product range by establishing a series of technical centres, the latest one having opened in Moratuwa recently, taking the number of JAT Tech Centres up to six. “We hope to shortly open five more Tech Centres in Galle, Kurunegala, two in Colombo and Jaffna as well,” said JAT [...]

Sanctions on SL ‘not currently an issue on the table’, British envoy says

No government (to his knowledge) has to -date proposed economic sanctions on Sri Lanka, John Rankin, the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said this week. Making this comment at the LBR LBO CEO Forum held in Colombo on the recent developments in Geneva pertaining to Sri Lanka, he also noted that [...]

Galadari profits up at Rs.286 mln, but room revenue down

Galadari Hotel made profits last year but was also affected by a drop in room revenue to Rs.632.5 million in 2013 compared to the previous year’s figure of Rs.853.5 million due to the lack of any major events happening in Colombo The city occupancy had dropped by about 10 per cent last year and Galadari [...]

Controversy and Decision-making

The secretary looks at us and smiles, as if to say ‘bear with us, this is how this company works’. The challenge is to come up with a creative marketing campaign; but 20 minutes into the meeting, she still has not taken any minutes, not because she is not paying attention, but because what has [...]

Sri Lanka Telecom in $415 mln ICT investment agreement with BOI

Sri Lanka Telecom in $415 mln ICT  investment agreement with BOI

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) said on Wednesday that it has received flagship status from the Board of Investment (BOI) after committing a total investment of US$415.44 million to undertake telecommunication, information technology, broadband and infrastructure expansion in the country within the next two years. Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera, Chairman – BOI of Sri Lanka and Nimal [...]

Virtusa named top UK employer for 4th consecutive year

US-headquartered IT company Virtusa has been named as one of the UK’s top employers for the fourth consecutive year by that country’s Top Employers Institute. Virtusa, which operates a software development centre in Sri Lanka, has attributed this achievement to its “providing a next-gen work environment that fosters a vibrant, enjoyable and creative place to [...]

IMF welcomes launch of Statistical Centre in GCC countries

The statistical community in the Middle East received an important boost last week with the launch of a statistical centre for the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. GCC-Stat was established on April 8 by the GCC to serve as the official provider of national statistics and other data [...]

Sri Lankan foreign reserves boosted by borrowed cash

Sri Lankan foreign reserves boosted by borrowed cash year-on-year inflation remained low with headline inflation (y-o-y) for March 2014 recording 4.2 per cent, unchanged from the previous month, while core inflation (y-o-y) increased marginally to 3.4 per cent in March from 3.1 per cent in February 2014, the Central Bank (CB) said in its latest [...]

SriLankan signs maintenance deal with Indian airline

SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka, this week announced the signing of a long term Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) agreement with InterGlobe Aviation Limited (IndiGo) , India’s fastest growing low-cost airlines with the largest market share, consisting of a fleet of 78 Airbus A320 aircraft flying 482 daily flights to 36 destinations. [...]

More benefits for frequent flyers with FlySmiLes- Aitken Spence partnership

More benefits for frequent flyers with FlySmiLes- Aitken Spence partnership

SriLankan Airlines’ FlySmiLes has joined up with Aitken Spence Hotels and Resorts to offer a wide array of exciting benefits to the airline’s frequent flyers. With the new partnership, FlySmiLes members will now have the opportunity to earn and redeem miles for their stays at any Aitken Spence hotel in Sri Lanka, a joint media [...]

Emirates cuts flights to 41 destinations for 80-day period, set to lose $270 mln in revenue

Emirates Airline will continue to serve all of its worldwide destinations during the 80-day period of runway upgrading works at Dubai International starting May 1. However, it has had to reduce flights to over 40 destinations, and change timings on some of its flights which could result in lost revenue of AED 1 billion (about [...]

Veteran Australian executive chef suggests blending Sri Lankan cuisine with western culinary art

Veteran Australian executive chef suggests blending Sri Lankan cuisine with western culinary art

A veteran Australian executive chef has suggested blending Sri Lankan cuisine with western culinary art to make the island nation a gastronomic hub in the South Asian hospitality sphere. Pierrick Boyer, Executive Pastry Chef for RACV City Club Melbourne/Le Petit Gateau made this suggestion during an interview with the Business Times following his culinary and [...]

Hameedia links with Sri Lankan cricket since winning 1996 World Cup

Hameedia links with Sri Lankan  cricket since winning 1996 World Cup

Hameedia, Sri Lanka’s leading menswear brand, has been involved with the Sri Lankan cricket team for decades. The relationship between Hameedia and the Sri Lankan Cricket team started in the 1980s and increasingly strengthened over time. In 1996, Hameedia was named the official clothing partner of the World Cup team and has been dressing Sri [...]

Standard Chartered Colombo secures recognition from Asian Banker

The Asian Banker recognised Standard Chartered as ‘The Best Retail Bank in Sri Lanka’ at the International Excellence in Retail Financial Services Programme 2014 for its pursuit of excellence amongst retail financial institutions in the region. “The Excellence in Retail Financial Services programme is predicated by the belief statement – ‘We believe that a well-run [...]

Mobitel signs on to automate Excise Dept.

Mobitel has signed up with Sri Lanka’s Department of Excise to “automate a number of its operational processes”, according to a recent statement by the celco. Further, the statement also added; “Designed by Mobitel’s Business Solutions team, this robust, consolidated web application melds together a variety of field work. This work-flow driven automated application intelligently [...]

Union Bank installs new core banking system

Union Bank of Colombo PLC (UBC) has successfully migrated to its new core banking platform which will add value to its management processes and offer improved and more efficient services to customers. The state-of-the-art banking platform will support Union Bank’s entire core banking operations, including ATMs and online channels, the bank said in an announcement. [...]

Melsta Regal Finance expands across Sri Lanka

Melsta Regal Finance Ltd (Melsta Regal) has embarked on a rapid expansion drive across Sri Lanka. The company said in an announcement that it has expanded to Kurunegala, Matara and Kandy. Melsta Regal’s entry to the Central Province was marked with the opening of the Kandy branch which is located at the Melsta Logistics Ltd [...]

Munchee wins at inaugural National Chamber Business Excellence Summit

Munchee, the flagship brand of Ceylon Biscuits Limited (CBL), won Gold at the maiden National Business Excellence Summit 2014 (NBES) organised by the National Chamber of Commerce. Held recently at the BMICH, the event’s theme highlighted ‘Business Excellence for Global Competitiveness’ with an objective to encourage and enhance the level of excellence in Sri Lankan [...]

SL shortlisted for Outsourcing Destination of the Year for Europe

Sri Lanka has been shortlisted for the Outsourcing Destination of the Year Award by the European Outsourcing Association (EOA). This follows the country also having recently won the Offshoring Destination of the Year 2013 award from the UK’s National Assciation for Outsourcing, according to an announcement issued by private-sector IT body SLASSCOM Further, the announcement [...]

SL gets Avurudu gift from international hackers

Local technology blog is reporting the April 15 and 16 coordinated hacking attack on 129 Sri Lankan websites, including top-level sites like (LK domain registrar), (Official Country Portal), (Central Bank) and, as well as corporate sites including (SriLankan Airlines), (IT body), (Vallibel Finance), (CIC Agri Businesses), [...]

Mobile Internet growth in SL far outpaces PC –

Internet related indicators for Sri Lanka have experienced a near seismic shift in recent times. Annual growth estimates as high as 18.29 per cent, for Internet penetration, have been noted as far back as 2012, as per the most recent International Telecomunication Union statistics. And adding more fuel to this fire was last week’s ranking [...]

Women make up only 29% of local IT workforce

Women make up only 29% of local IT workforce

At a time when thuggery is rampant in Sri Lanka, when even elected officials such as Mayors and Provincial Councillors take the law into their own hands without a second thought, it is perhaps fitting that two Personal Safety applications (apps) took first and second place at Sri Lanka’s first ever Women’s Hackathon, which concluded [...]

Samsung Galaxy S5 ready to go on shelves in ‘most Asian markets’

Samsung Galaxy S5 ready to go on shelves in ‘most Asian markets’

Globally dominant phone maker Samsung has launched its flagship Galaxy S5, with related Gear wearables, in 125 countries, according to an announcement issued by the company’s Sri Lankan unit. Starting off, the announcement stated; “Samsung Electronics, Sri Lanka’s leading smartphone manufacturer, announced the commercial launch of the new GALAXY S5 and the Samsung Gear devices [...]

Getting ready for the ‘Internet of Things’

Getting ready for the ‘Internet of Things’

Over the last several years, stories of the technologies making up the “Internet of Things” (IoT) have started to slip into the public consciousness. As this is occurring, we believe the whole story of Smart Systems and the IoT has not yet been told. Smart, connected systems are a technological and economic phenomenon of unprecedented [...]

Bollywood’s Salman Khan in clothing chain tie-up in Sri Lanka

Bollywood super star Salman Khan is to open in Sri Lanka a unit of his ‘Being Human’ clothing chain apparently through a charity organization here he is involved in, official sources revealed. Preliminary plans have been made to set up this mega clothing store to sell clothing and apparel to cater to various age groups [...]

Sri Lanka’s trade unions demand the government to deport foreign workers

Sri Lanka’s trade unions are demanding the government to devise a roadmap with the aim of making the private sector more attractive for workers and gain high productivity, without allowing companies to employ more foreign workers to fill labour shortages. Responding to a statement made by the President at the launch of Central Bank annual [...]

SAP announces unified comprehensive cloud portfolio for Sri Lanka

SAP AG has announced a unified strategy and vision for its broad cloud portfolio in Sri Lanka. With this integrated approach, companies of all sizes may improve flexibility, choice and costs needed to innovate for growth across their entire business in the cloud and may simultaneously create entirely new experiences for their customers, empower employees [...]

Maldives investment forum in Singapore

The tourism-dependant Maldives organised a one-day investment forum in Singapore on April 25 to attract foreign investors to other projects including oil and gas exploration in a country made up of more than 1,000 tiny islands. At least 300 had registered to attend the Maldives’ first ever Maldives Investment Forum (MIF) organised by the Ministry [...]

More taxes on imported goods to raise revenue

The Sri Lankan government is to further increase import duty and cess on some of the imported goods soon to increase state revenue, official sources said. Revenue from import duties last year increased only by 3.7 per cent to Rs. 83.1 billion due to lower import duties and exemptions granted to selected items last year, [...]

MCSL debenture issue withdrawn

MCSL Financial Services has withdrawn its debenture issue since the company would be part of the consolidation process that would ensure its capital expansion is secured, a statement issued to the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) said. The company stated that the debenture issue set to be open on April 24 would not go ahead since [...]

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