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Drought destroys paddy fields

Drought destroys paddy fields

A farmer looks forlornly at his dry paddy field at Galewala in the northeastern province. A severe drought has affected the rice crop forcing the authorities to allow more rice imports. Pic by Kanchana Kumara Ariyadasa

Draft laws to ban foreign ownership of land

New legislation is being drafted to strictly enforce rules pertaining to the 2013 ban on foreigners owning land, which is now being enforced through administrative circulars. Top government sources said that proposed laws are to be promulgated to tighten loopholes in the administrative process of enforcement . In the 2013 budget (presented in November 2012), [...]

Sri Lanka branding campaign in Europe kicks off next month

Sri Lanka Tourism is currently working on its advertising campaign in Europe in three key markets next month while plans were also on for promotions in India and Russia after concluding China. Spending over Rs.1 billion for the promotions this year up from last year’s Rs.800 million, Sri Lanka would be continuing its focused campaigns [...]

GK Task Force seizes new Kotelawala hotel in Aluthgama

The GK company, aiming to detect and seize more GK Company assets and properties of former directors based on a Supreme Court order, has seized a boutique hotel named ‘Tripna’ in Aluthgama owned by the former Ceylinco Chairman. The seizure on July 15 follows information received by them, a GK Director Dushanthi Hapugoda told the [...]

SL attracts $640 mln FDI from four Chinese projects as an outcome of CHOGM

Chasing a moderate Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) target of US$ 2 billion this year as an outcome from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Sri Lanka has been able to attract US$640 million Chinese investments through four projects, a Board of Investment (BOI) official said. The BOI had submitted 50 project proposals to the [...]

State control expands at Commercial Bank

The vacant position on the board of directors of the Commercial Bank after Dinesh Weerakkody stepped down in line with the maximum 9-year rule is likely to be filled by a Treasury nominee, informed sources said. If that happens, the Government would take effective control of the privately-held bank with five directors representing its interests [...]

Inflation administratively deflated?

Inflation administratively deflated?

The annual average rate of price change (annual average rate of inflation) in terms of the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI based on 2006-2007 = 100) has been in single digits for over five years now. In 2008 the annual average rate of inflation (based on CCPI 2002=100) was 22.6 per cent, the second highest [...]

Tourism rules but are the numbers right?

The other day a hotelier on the western Sri Lanka coast said he just couldn’t understand the arrival statistics of tourists. “We saw a surge in arrivals in December – according to statistical data released by Sri Lanka Tourism, but where are they staying?” he asked. This same issue puzzled a veteran hotel manager in [...]

Information Overload; Sorting through the clutter

Information is power; but how does one harness it? These days, there is just too much information out there. Information overload is a common problem people with highly valued time have to deal with today. Highly specific news media coverage is time consuming to find and is often missed by popular news websites and sources [...]

TI report calls for abolishing the executive presidency

TI report calls for abolishing the executive presidency

The “National Integrity System Assessment (NISA) 2014 report presented by Transparency International (TI) strongly recommends dismantling the executive presidency and creating a more equitable balance of power among the executive, the legislature and judiciary. The president should give up holding any ministerial portfolios and there must be a limit on the number of cabinet ministers, [...]

‘Send a gift’ online marketing unit aims at global recognition

In a fast-moving business environment, online purchase of goods and services is becoming a common occurrence. Send a gift, a local online shopping mall with an investment of more than US$ 10 million, recently launched its business. “More than US$ 10 million has been invested on send a gift online mall out of which only [...]

IT/BPM export projections at $850 mln for 2014 – report

Local IT and business process management (BPM) exports have grown “significantly” from US$213 million in 2007 to an estimated $720 million in 2013 and a projected $850 million in 2014; according to the recently issued “Sri Lankan IT-BPM Industry Review 2014″ report, which was commissioned by private sector body SLASSCOM, and prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers Sri [...]

Happy birthday BOC

It is with great pride that I read an advertorial in the Sunday Times recently which said the Bank of Ceylon(BOC) has earned global recognition as one of the top 1000 banks in the world, as listed in the Bankers Magazine in 2012 and 2013, respectively. This mighty giant’s strength is proved in the support [...]

Shivanthi, new President of the Sri Lanka Library Association

Shivanthi Weerasinghe was inducted as the President of the Sri Lanka Library Association at its 54th AGM held recently at the Sri Lanka Foundation in Colombo. Ms. Weerasinghe has over 35 years of experience and is presently the Librarian of the Bank of Ceylon. She is an Associate and a Fellow of the Sri Lanka [...]

Kiwlegedera overseas; promises to return for Touchwood case

Kiwlegedera overseas; promises to return for Touchwood case

Former Touchwood Investments PLC Chairman/CEO Lanka Kiwlegedera, seemingly avoiding court appearances relating to the dodgy Touchwood investments, on Thursday agreed through his counsel to be present in court on the next date, August 7. When the case came up, the Commercial High Court on Thursday ordered Mr. Kiwlegedera, currently abroad, to submit the Statement of [...]

Predictions of an economic crash in short term proved wrong, says President

Predictions of falling into a debt trap, uncontrollable fiscal deficit, high level of inflation and the economy crashing within a short period have been proved wrong when the Sri Lanka government has developed the country on a sustained basis with nearly 7.5 per cent average growth, for more than five years, President Mahinda Rajapaksa made [...]

SL Government reaches peak in spending cuts, IMF says

The Sri Lankan Government appears to have reached its peak in spending cuts and now has to shift its attention more on increasing revenue, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday. Issuing a statement on the conclusion of a IMF staff mission to Sri Lanka in May and the submission [...]

New Chairman and Deputy Chairman at Commercial Bank

New Chairman and Deputy Chairman at Commercial Bank

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC on Monday announced the appointment of Messrs Dharma Dheerasinghe and Preethi Jayawardena as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the bank, respectively, effective July 29. Mr. Dheerasinghe, formerly Deputy Chairman of the Bank, succeeds Dinesh Weerakkody on the latter’s retirement after two and a half years as Chairman, according to [...]

Sri Lanka’s first US$ fund launched

Developing the capital market and making it a game changer in the economic development of Sri Lanka puts the country on trade towards making it a financial hub, said Nalaka Godahewa, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Sri Lanka. He made thse comments at the Ceylon Dollar Bond Fund launch held at [...]

NDB Group reports 2.1 bln profit in 1stH 2014

Pre-tax profit at NDB and its group recorded a 42 per cent year-on-year growth to reach Rs. 2.9 billion for the first half of 2014, whilst group post-tax profit recorded ‘a commendable increase’ of 57 per cent to reach Rs. 2.1 billion, a NDB media release said. Group operating income was Rs. 6.3 billion, up [...]

Lacking in customer care? Bank of Ceylon hopes to make significant changes

Lacking in customer care? Bank of Ceylon hopes to make significant changes

At the media conference held in Colombo last Wednesday (30/7) with regard to the 75th Anniversary of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC), its Chairman, Air Chief Marshal (Rtd.) Harsha Abeywickrama conceded that the country’s premier state bank lacked customer care but was aiming to rectify it. He said, “We were looking a lot of complaints [...]

Richard Peiris launches stronger, firmer water tank

Richard Pieris and Co PLC (RPC), operating in Sri Lanka for the past 82 years and now a conglomerate with an asset base of Rs. 32 billion in addition to being the pioneer to introduce plastic water tanks, last week introduced a new version of a water tan ‘Arpico Hybrid’ water tank to the Sri [...]

Softlogic Finance in Rs.1.4 bln debenture issue for SME funding

Softlogic Finance PLC announced a debenture issue of Rs.1.4 billion, a stock exchange filing stated on Wednesday. The company stated that it would be issuing 14 million debentures at Rs.100 each with the public issue opening on August 21. Speaking with the Business Times, Softlogic Finance Managing Director Ifthikar Ahamed said the debenture issue would [...]

5-year old Neochem plans strategic expansion into new industries

5-year old Neochem plans strategic  expansion into new industries

Neochem International (Pvt) Ltd, said to be one of Sri Lanka’s innovative solution providers for chemical products, celebrated its 5th anniversary earlier this month. A media statement said Neochem, which commenced operations in 2009 as a solution provider for the cosmetics and detergent industry, currently consists of four business units providing different products to local [...]

New Director General for Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Board (SLAASMB)

New Director General  for Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Board (SLAASMB)

Gamini Wijesinghe has been appointed the Director General of Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board (SLAASMB) with effect from July 16, the organisation said on Monday. Mr. Wijesinghe has over 28 years experience at the Department of Inland Revenue. Prior to joining SLAASMB he was the Senior Commissioner International Tax Policy attending to [...]

CSE introduces an E-statement service to CDS account holders

The Central Depository System (CDS) which is the depository, clearing and settlement arm of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), will offer all CDS account holders the option of receiving their statements through email from August 1, the CSE said this week. This initiative is keeping in line with the CSE’s strategy to provide investors with [...]

Independent surveys, Facebook and access to computers

The Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) recently issued a media release on its forthcoming People’s Awards and clarity was sought by the Business Times on some of those statements. SLIM President Kalana Rathnayake and People’s Awards 2015 Project Chairperson Thilanka Abeywardena responded to the questions. The first question was on an ‘independent’ national survey [...]

Hidden talent among Sri Lanka women entrepreneurs

Hidden talent among Sri Lanka women entrepreneurs

With vast challenges and difficulties faced by women in the country, there is a segment of the local female population who are more focused on business and determined to be as competitive as men. The fear of women being second to men is fading away with more educated and inspirational women coming forward in business. [...]

People’s Bank launches phase two of ‘Entrepreneurial Glory Programme’

People’s Bank recently initiated the second phase of its highly successful ‘Entrepreneurial Glory Programme’, in the Puttalam and Kalutara districts. The ‘Entrepreneurial Glory Programme’ is a workshop dedicated to enlightening and supporting the SME community in the country and is organised by the SME Development Unit of the People’s Bank. “The two programmes were held [...]

Oil-free compressor to make Sri Lankan food safe

Sri Lankan consumers are growingly concerned about food items being contaminated with substances injurious to health. In this context, to solve the oil contamination in areas like refineries, food industry, pharmaceuticals, beverage industry, breweries, etc .,where oil should not be in these products, a local company is offering an oil free compressor as against normal [...]

Hands off Commercial Bank of Ceylon

The Business Times last week highlighted the serious conflicts of interest of both Dharma Dheerasinghe and Prithi Jayawardena (both close associates of the Central Bank Governor). As a depositor of the bank I am so disappointed that these very two gentlemen have been appointed as Chairman and Deputy Chairman. Sri Lanka is fast becoming a [...]

Delay in erecting warning sign boards on speeding stalls new speed limits rules

The implementation of new speed limits on Sri Lankan roads has been delayed until road conditions are improved and warning signs against speeding on roadsides installed, city traffic police sources said. The Road Development Authority (RDA) is preparing these warning signs indicating the speed limits stipulated in new legislation passed in parliament last year. Police [...]

Orient Finance re-launches trade-in offer for Mitsubishi vehicles with United Motors

In an attempt to adjust product offers to the changing needs of customers and ease the financial burden of soaring prices of new vehicles, Orient Finance PLC and United Motors have come together to re-launch its trade-in offer for new Mitsubishi vehicles.Through this facility, a used vehicle of any brand can be traded for a [...]

Motor Traffic Act to be amended to give more teeth for driver penalty points system

The government will soon amend the Motor Traffic Act to punish errant drivers under the penalty points system which is now being implemented countrywide, Commissioner General of the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT), S.H. Harishchandra told Business Times The department has already sought cabinet approval to amend the law and introduce legislation relating to the [...]

Kia’s Sri Lanka distributor wins award for ‘Most Improved’ in Asia Pacific

Kia’s Sri Lanka distributor wins award for ‘Most Improved’ in Asia Pacific

Kia Motors (Lanka), the sole distributor in Sri Lanka for the Korean automobile brand, has been presented with an award for the ‘Most Improved’ in the region at the 2014 Asia – Pacific Parts Conference of MOBIS – the spare parts division of the Kia-Hyundai Group, a media release revealed. The award, which recognises ‘Outstanding [...]

Mobil partners Mercedes-Benz as official lubricant arm

McLarens Lubricants Ltd, the sole distributor for ExxonMobil in Sri Lanka, has renewed its existing partnership with DIMO, authorised distributor of Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler and Jeep luxury brands in Sri Lanka, as the official lubricant partner for another term. A media release quoted Tharanga Gunawardena, DIMO General Manager Passenger Vehicles Service, as saying that DIMO has [...]

Arpico Finance plans to electrify the drive

Richard Pieris Arpico Finance (RPAF) has stepped in to introduce an ambitious eco drive project towards pollution-free, cleaner transport across Sri Lanka, officials of the company said. Moving in a different direction from other finance companies, RPAF has ventured into electric car sales while building infrastructure necessary for such vehicles to run on local highways [...]

Customs to identify several motor traders resorting to under-invoicing

Sri Lanka Customs has been directed to identify and be vigilant on several motor traders including franchise holders who resort to under-invoicing with wrong declarations which results in a significant loss of revenue for the Treasury. The Customs Department has been seizing high end vehicles believed to have been imported by producing forged documents, official [...]

Cash or credit at Tenaga parking outlets

Cash or credit at Tenaga parking outlets

Tenaga Car Parks (Pvt) Ltd in partnership with a Swedish Company, CALE Access has introduced solar powered parking meters to Colombo as a pilot project and the first of these machines was installed at Baron Jayathilaka Mawatha in Fort, last week. Dialog Exiata also entered into a partnership with Tenaga as the exclusive technological partner [...]

HitAd’s Chamod Shehan Sarathchandra adjudged Best Sales Executive at SLIM- NASCO Awards

HitAd’s Chamod Shehan Sarathchandra adjudged Best Sales Executive at SLIM- NASCO Awards

Chamod Shehan Sarathchandra, a member of the Sunday Times – HitAd team, won the award for the category of sales executive- media at the National Sales Congress (NASCO) organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM) held in Colombo recently. Spearheaded by Samantha Weeraratne, AGM Advertising Wijeya Newspapers Ltd, Sunday Times – HitAd was [...]

BOI Board on the Colombo bourse next month

The Board of Investment (BOI) has signed a Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) with two companies and is considering six more in a bid to form the new board on the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera, Chairman BOI says. “By next month, a separate board called the BOI Board will be introduced in addition [...]

Commercial Bank gears for exchange house in Rome

The Commercial Bank is gearing to open a fully fledged exchange house in Rome, officials said. “With the potential in the remittance business from Italy, Commercial Bank tied up with an Exchange House operating in Italy called National Exchange Company some years ago. With this many Sri Lankans who earlier relied on various informal channels [...]

Worldlink Travel Group launches subsidiary to promote luxury holidays to Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Worldlink Travel Group has launched a subsidiary, Mango Holidays to promote luxury holiday packages to Sri Lanka Worldlink has been in the tourism industry for the past 23 years and is said to be one of the top travel consultants in Sri Lanka. “There are so many small but luxurious hotels in all [...]

JK hotels eyes Nuwara Eliya

John Keells Hotels is currently eyeing options of opening a property in Nuwara Eliya, officials said. It was pointed out that they were looking for expansion into the hills with a hotel project but no details were provided as discussions were still underway. The hotels sector of the Keells group has no presence at present [...]

Forestry newbies enter ‘tree money’ fray; industry expresses concerns on Touchwood Déjà vu

Amidst the calamity the beleaguered forestry management company Touchwood Investments Ltd has created, a couple of small scale ‘agricultural investment firms’ are gearing to enter the market, industry sources said. Expressing concerns that the Central Bank (CB) hasn’t still made an effort to regulate the forestry firms in the country, they are pushing for a [...]

SLIM Brand awards attracts record number of entries

The SLIM Brand Excellence Awards has attracted dozens of applicants this year, the 13th successive year to be held and organised by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM). “The increased number of entries this year is a testimony to how valuable the awards are to brand custodians,” noted project chairman Roshan Fernando in a [...]

Chief Justice makes surprise exit from GK case

In a surprise move that bewildered GK depositors, Chief Justice Mohan Peiris stepped down on Monday from the Supreme Court Bench hearing the Golden Key Credit Card Company Fundamental Rights case stating that he received several derogatory letters being circulated against him and under this set up it is unbecoming for him to continue hearing [...]

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