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Rajapaksa most likely to hold snap election, BT poll reveals

Rajapaksa most likely to hold snap election, BT poll reveals

President Mahinda Rajapaksa will hold a snap presidential election in early January, was the view of a majority of people in a Business Times (BT) email poll held this week. Asked whether the President will hold a (presidential) election in January 2015 or not, 72 per cent of the respondents said YES, while 19 per [...]

Sri Lanka pays high price for north-south friendship

Sri Lanka’s Transport Ministry is seeking an additional sum of US$ 52.10 million (Rs.6.8 billion) from the Treasury to bridge over-spending on the Northern railway line which was opened by the President this week along with the resumption of the Yal Devi train service to Jaffna with much fanfare. Transport Minister Kumar Welgama recently forwarded [...]

Tourism stumped by northern travel ban

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was caught unawares after the Government announced restrictions on travel to the north for foreigners. While one industry body said they had received news of the restriction and noted that henceforth it would take 2-3 days to get clearance for foreigners to visit the north, at least two other associations were [...]

JAT subsidiary manages some Touchwood Plantations

In another twist to the Touchwood PLC saga, a new company owned by JAT Holdings, a timber coatings solution provider, has been set up to manage lands owned by some Touchwood clients. An investor told the Business Times that JAT is also a large investor in Touchwood. “To safeguard their investment while also diversifying into [...]

Land Bill is a concern, needs flexibility – US Trade Rep

Sri Lanka’s proposed new Land Bill shouldn’t be ‘one size fits only’ and should accommodate unique situations, according to a top US trade delegate. “We have a few concerns on the new Land Bill. It is a ‘one size fits all’ Bill at present. It should have (provisions) to fit individual situations that merit flexibility,” [...]

Food poisoning in factories: Are we ignoring the larger picture?

Food poisoning in factories:  Are we ignoring the larger picture?

As is often the case, the death of an employee, Ms.S. Gunawathie, of “Next” export manufacturing facility in the Katunayake EPZ on September 07, after she was admitted to the Negombo District Hospital, blew up large with some who thought they could capture headlines and then fizzled off, leaving the FTZ and General Services employees [...]

Tourism caught napping by northern travel restrictions

When top US trade official, Michael Delaney, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and South Asia, visited Colombo this week for official talks with local counterparts, he was impressed by the level of development and the opportunities for US companies in infrastructure development. He was in particular enthusiastic about the surge in tourism which [...]

Real Estate: Are you a wise investor?

Sri Lanka’s economy is growing steadily and recorded a GDP of 7.8 per cent at the end of the second quarter this year. An improving external environment, higher investments, and a recovery in domestic consumption all indicate even better prospects for the country; while also signalling growth of individual disposable income, especially within the expanding [...]

Water’s Edge on Rs. 8 bln expansion

Water’s Edge, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) owned resort, is on a Rs. 8 billion expansion, adding 15 stories and an apartment complex embedded with state-of-art facilities, UDA sources said. “We already started the expansion and will add 170 rooms and also an apartment complex,” a source told the Business Times. He said this is [...]

Minor Export Crop earnings up 215% over 5 years – new Spice Council chairman

Minor Export Crop earnings up 215% over 5 years – new Spice Council chairman

Over the last five years, earnings from Minor Export Crops have increased by 215 per cent, with export volumes growing by 98 per cent, and value additions expanding by 260 per cent, according to Nanda Kohona, the newly appointed Chairman of the Sri Lankas Spice Council. Further, Mr Kohona, also added that extent of land [...]

Financing, biggest challenge for the SME’s in Sri Lanka

With the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) playing a vital role in the economy of the country, financing has become the biggest challenge, says Syed Zed Al Qudsy, President of Malaysia’s SME Factors at a media conference held at the Kingsbury in Colombo on Wednesday. Adding to that Mr. Syed expressed that, “We are mostly [...]

KPMG budget discussion soon after Oct. 24 presentation

Leading consultancy KPMG in Sri Lanka is hosting an evening discussion to share key highlights on the 2015 Budget proposals, which will be held at 6.15pm soon after the presentation is over on October 24. It will be held at the Galadari Hotel.

CMA post-budget seminar on Oct. 27

The Taxation Committee of the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka (CMA) will be conducting its budget seminar on “Budget Highlights 2015 – Tax Proposal & Impact on Business” on Monday, October 27 from 1.30pm – 5.30pm at the Hotel Taj Samudra. The focus of the seminar will be to highlight the important [...]

SMEs get boost from CCC forum as questions surface about a bigger role in SL’s economy

SMEs get boost from CCC forum as questions  surface about a bigger role in SL’s economy

Around 90 per cent of the economy depends on SMEs while no one has looked into their improvement to reach the next level so far, it was revealed at the 2-day National Forum on Small and Medium Enterprise Empowerment 2014 (NFSMEE) organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC). The chamber has taken the lead [...]

Credit Card companies fleece clients

It is not only the ‘Golden Key’ that squeezes their clients or card holders to extract the ‘juice’ from the unsuspecting patrons; there are other operators as well; they do it in a more sophisticated manner so that it goes unnoticed. In settling my previous month’s statement, I have inadvertently paid a little less than [...]

Debentures: Bubble waiting to burst

I am no economist or banker, but I have seen what Lalith Kotelawala did and the consequences where hundreds have committed suicide and others are living a life of suffering and misery. Kotelawala’s business card at that time was about one yard long. There were hundreds of companies, some selling hoppers, bicycle tyres and such [...]

HSBC holds its first ‘Women in Leadership’ symposium in SL

A first-of-its-kind “Women in Leadership” symposium, organised by HSBC, has highlighted the importance of female mentorship and sponsorship programmes in the workplace, along with other avenues “to create a strong female leadership pipeline in organisatins”, amongst other topics discussed, according to a recent statement. The event featured a number of high-powered female speakers, including Eunice [...]

Sri Lankans serving in Fiji come in for praise from new government

Sri Lankans serving in Fiji come in for praise from new government

Sri Lankans serving in state institutions in Fiji were praised by the new democratically elected Prime Minister at the inaugural sessions of the new parliament on Tuesday the 7th, Fiji newspaper reports revealed. Making his maiden speech, Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama of Fiji’s newly elected government told parliament that, services of several professional Sri Lankans [...]

Michael Holsinger appointed as Group COO at Mediafactory Group

Michael Holsinger appointed as Group COO at Mediafactory Group

The Mediafactory Group has appointed experienced industry professional Michael Holsinger as its Group Chief Operating Officer in a bid to strengthen its growth trajectory and fine-tune synergies among its subsidiary communication agencies. The company said Mr. Holsinger’s appointment marks a significant milestone in the journey of Mediafactory Group, a relatively young but daring organisation that [...]

Plight of interest-earning senior citizens

Several letters have been published in the Sunday Business Times, with regard to the plight of the Senior Citizens who are undergoing immense hardship due to the drastic reduction of interest on their Fixed Deposits/Savings, which is the only source of icome for them. The interests have been halved while the cost of living has [...]

Asiri Hospitals’ Group marks 30 years of operations

Asiri Group of Hospitals recently celebrated 30 years of operations of its medical laboratories and is pursuing avenues to further expand and enhance operational excellence of its laboratories and maintain its market leadership in the country, the company said this week. The laboratories, which commenced with the opening of the first unit at Asiri Hospital [...]

Falck to diversify EMS to medical clinics and care for elders

Falck to diversify EMS to medical clinics and care for elders

Falck, one of the world’s largest Emergency Medical Services (EMS) companies operating in 35 countries is to diversify its life-saving mission in Sri Lanka by launching internationally acclaimed medical clinics with pharmacies with medical health officers and nurses in attendance at 24 x7 on call, a top officer of the company revealed. The first such [...]

Consistent policies, stability road to success in attracting investors, US official says

Consistent policies, stability road to success in attracting investors, US official says

Governments (anywhere) need to have consistent, clear policies and stability if they are to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) , a visiting US trade envoy said on Thursday. Told by reporters at a media briefing in Colombo that Sri Lanka’s inconsistent policies often deterred foreign investment, Michael Delaney, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Central and [...]

CIC’s Life-Saving Kidney Dialysis product

The Pharmaceutical department of CIC’s Healthcare division is creating a significant impact in Sri Lanka’s healthcare sector by providing people with a simple and convenient kidney dialysis product. The peritoneal dialysis product distributed by CIC Pharaceuticals is the only dialysis treatment of its kind available in Sri Lanka. The product is developed by Baxter USA, [...]

Emirates to grow services to Milan with introduction of A380

Emirates will increase its services to and from Milan with the upgrade of one of its daily Boeing 777-300 services to an A380 from 1st December. This will be the first ever permanently scheduled A380 service to Milan Malpensa Airport. Bringing the A380 onto one of Emirates’ three daily Milan services will mean an increase [...]

Market size for SMEs should be increased, says CA Sri Lanka President

With Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) contributing far more to the economy of Sri Lanka than any other sector, the market size from this segment needs to be increased, says Arjuna Herath, President of the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lana). He made this comment to the Business Times on the sidelines of [...]

Mobitel, Open Uni and Ericsson to teach ICT to teenage girls from farming communities in SL

With Information and Communication Technology (ICT) becoming an asset of knowledge in today’s modern world, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel has taken the initiative to teach ICT for teenage girls from farming communities in Sri Lanka with the support of Ericsson, Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) and the Commonwealth of Learning through ‘Connect to Learn [...]

Commercial Bank cuts home loans’ interest rates to 9.5-10.5% per annum

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon on Monday announced a further reduction in interest rates on its home loans along with fast-tracked approvals and discounts from selected suppliers of materials and fittings. The Floating Rate has been reduced to 9.5 per cent, while the Fixed Rates have been reduced to 10.5 per cent and 12 per [...]

Central Industries adapts PE technology to make water pipes

Central industries PLC, the renowned manufacturer of pipes and fittings, recently ventured into the latest technology of portable water distribution utilising PE (Polyethylene) technology to produce water pipes for the National Water Supply and Drainage board. The first batch of more than 18 kilometers of PE water pipes was delivered to the National Water Supply [...]

Boat show at Wattala harbour aimed at promoting leisure and boating for tourists

For the first time the 3rd, 2-day Boat Show and Fisheries Exhibition was inaugurated last week at the Dikkowita Fishery Harbour, Wattala. A biannual event, the first exhibition was held in 2008 and the 2nd and 3rd exhibitions were held in 2010 and 2012,respectively. Alongside the exhibition the meeting of the International Marina Group of [...]

Hemas exits power sector; new Power unit to revisit East African power project

Hemas Holdings PLC, less than two years after making a strategic investment in the Power sector when they bought a 20 per cent stake in Panasian Power PLC (PAP) in April last year has decided to exit this sector, officials said. The new owners still plan to venture into power investments in East Africa and [...]

Coca Cola Sri Lanka and Bates’ chiefs speak at Arden Institute’s “Executive Image Building” seminar

Top personality development and corporate etiquette training consultant Nedra Wickremesinghe is launching her first public seminar from her new school, Arden Institute, which opened its doors recently at its newly refurbished location at Charles Circus, Colombo 3. The seminar to be held at Cinnamon Grand at the end of this month, is titled “Executive Image” [...]

Logistics and Transport International Conference in Sri Lanka on Nov 4

“Redefining Cornerstones of Logistics and Transport” is the theme of the 2014 international conference hosted by The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) Sri Lanka to be held in Colombo on November 4. This annual event is organized by CILT Sri Lanka with the purpose of disseminating and showcasing latest trends and developments in [...]

Jetwing Hotels shines at World Travel awards

Jetwing Hotels shines at World Travel awards

Sri Lanka’s Jetwing Hotels picked up a total of three awards at the World Travel Awards, 2014 held in Delhi recently, marking the 7th consecutive year the hotel chain has emerged victorious at the awards. Established in 1993, World Travel Awards seeks to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence in all sectors of the tourism industry. [...]

Watawala Plantation’s vocational training centre wins ASIAN CSR Award

Watawala Plantations PLC, a member of the Sunshine Group, won the Asian CSR Leadership award 2014 under the category ‘promoting employment for the physically challenged’. The plantation company’s submission for the awards was based on the theme “Together we will make a difference” and its focus was on the vocational training centre at Kenilworth estate, [...]

Understanding Sri Lanka’s cement industry from a customer’s perspective

Sri Lanka’s changing landscape and the towering skyscrapers slowly punctuating Colombo’s cityscape probably generates a curiosity about the bludgeoning construction industry and by default, associated segments like the cement industry. Cement by its very nature, is ubiquitous and whether you are constructing a house or you have a passing curiosity about Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development, [...]

VTA offers NVQ5 professional ICT qualification to youth in rural areas

Sri Lanka’s Vocational Training Authority (VTA) has started offering the National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 5 in Information Communication Technology (ICT), a professional qualification accessible to youth in rural areas, which is also recognised by both state and private organisations, according to a recent statement issued by computer industry body FITIS. It was also noted [...]

Computer mother boards soon to be manufactured in SL

Sri Lanka’s EWIS has announced that its original device manufacturing (ODM) facility, opened in November 2013 in Sooriyawewa, Hambantota, will soon start making computer motherboards for EWIS brand computers. It was also highlighted that this achievement was a result of a partnership with electronic components manufacturer Tosslec Group of Japan, and its wholly owned local [...]

Vertical garden Clearpoint Residencies starts selling online

Sri Lankan vertical garden development Clearpoint Residencies, scheduled for completion in April 2016, recently started selling a range of its apartments online, through property web portal Lamudi. According to a statement; “Stretching 50 floors high, Clearpoint Residencies near Colombo city will be the world’s tallest residential vertical garden when construction is completed in April 2016. [...]

University of Colombo renews Mobitel ‘mLearning’, the cutting-edge distance learning initiative

University of Colombo renews  Mobitel ‘mLearning’, the cutting-edge distance learning initiative

The University of Colombo (UOC) recently renewed its partnership with Mobitel to deliver a continuous service of the online learning initiative ‘mLearning’ that facilitates distance learning for a range of post-graduate degree programmes. ‘mLearning’ is an exclusive learning platform designed and developed by Mobitel, that provides a quality education while catering to the needs of [...]

‘Yako!’, truly Sri Lankan

‘Yako!’, is a brand new portal for Sri Lankans to access fascinating content in local languages. From interesting news and out of the box facts from around the world delivered in lighthearted language, Yako! wants to create conversations, the organisation said this week in a media statement. “We wanted to make a portal for Sri [...]

Is your wireless network secure?

Wi-Fi or wireless networks are great for home and small business users alike, allowing them to use multiple Internet capable devices on one shared connection. However, the convenience of having a wireless network at home comes with added security risks. wireless networks can be vulnerable to eavesdropping, hacking and freeloaders, if used without proper protection [...]

Shangri-La to invest another US$ 250 mln on new apartment complex

While continuing construction work of luxury hotel projects in Colombo and Hambantota, Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Asia is to invest US$250 million in a high rise apartment complex in Colombo suburbs, a government minister announced. According to reliable official sources, Shangri-La is to lease the Unilever factory land Grandpass which is around 8-10 acres in extent, [...]

USAID and Northern Farms launch new agri-processing unit in Vavuniya

USAID and Northern Farms launch new agri-processing unit in Vavuniya

Manpreet Anand, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), opened a new agricultural processing factory in Marukarampalai, Vavuniya last week. This project was established through a public-private partnership between USAID, the development agency of the US government, and Northern Farms, a Sri Lankan agribusiness organisation, according to a US Embassy [...]

Ceylon Chamber suggests amendments to proposed Land bill in the ‘national interest’

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has suggested amendments to the proposed Land Bill due to be presented in Parliament next week. In a statement the CCC said it appreciates the fact that land is an extremely scarce resource, especially in a small island such as Sri Lanka and it needs to be prudently and [...]

Treasury officials finalise 2015 budget under severe stress and strain

Despite severe pressure on making final adjustments to 2015 budget to be presented in parliament by the president on the 24th, Treasury’s National Budget Department and Department of Treasury Operations officials have finalised new proposals aiming to address emerging needs including the impending presidential election and gaps in all development sectors, official sources said. Some [...]

Import of 1000 pickups and other vehicles not because of elections, says Finance Ministry

Ms Kalyani Dahanayake, Director-General (IT Management) at the Ministry of Finance has sent in a response to last week’s article published in the Business Times under the heading “Treasury ignores A/R, F/Rs to import 1000 pickup vehicles for state agencies” and said the report is “completely fallacious”. The letter says: The General Treasury declares that [...]

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