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Chaos, confusion continue in 15% interest drama

Chaos, confusion continue  in 15% interest drama

Chaos and confusion prevailed for the third week running in the 15 per cent special interest rate scheme for deposits of senior Sri Lankan citizens, this time when banks received instructions on its implementation. Despite the Central Bank and the Sri Lanka Banks Association (SLBA) issuing guidelines, there was still ambiguity over this issue. The [...]

Treasury guidelines to pass budgetary relief soon to elderly citizens and the poor

Sri Lanka’s Treasury has been directed to prepare necessary guidelines to grant 2015 interim budgetary concessions given to elderly citizens, low and middle income earners by next month, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said. The Treasury and Central Bank are working closely to clarify some of the issues that have arisen in the waiver of interest [...]

Indian traders at Kachchativu feast

Indian traders at Kachchativu feast

The Kachchativu feast off Jaffna’s northern coast drew more than 7,000 pilgrims from Sri Lanka and India last week. Here Indians exchange their currency at the Bank of Ceylon branch. Pic by Athula Devapriya.

Mattala off radar for new airlines

Sri Lanka is unlikely to insist international airlines to fly some of its frequencies to Mattala as the new Sirisena-led administration mulls the southern airport’s future plans. In the past the Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA) was part of the air services agreements and the relevant authorities had had to insist that international carriers do [...]

Banking sector consolidation committee to meet this week

A government-appointed committee to review a current programme to integrate finance companies and banks will meet in two days time for their first official meeting. Its Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody told the Business Times that they will issue the promised report within the next month. “We will adhere to the 100-day programme timeline.” While he refrained [...]

Hybrid cars at Hambantota Port up for auction

A majority of around 2000 imported hybrid cars lying idle at the Hambantota Port will end up at the auction block at the port’s vehicle park, as a large number of small used car importers have failed to clear their vehicles with high taxes due, motor traders said. If the importers fail to clear vehicles [...]

New regime clean on abuse of power, but other concerns remain

Most Sri Lankans have given the thumbs-up to the new transitional Government agreeing that there has been little of no abuse of power during its 2- month existence, according to a joint opinion poll by the Business Times (BT) and the Research and Consultncy Bureau (RCB) conducted this week. The poll on ‘The progress of [...]

Anger and frustration over 15% interest rate

Scene at a local bank in Colombo: An officer desperately tries to calm an elderly man who vents his frustration over the controversial 15 per cent scheme, shouting, ’I have been cheated. I won’t vote for this Government again’. Outside the city, a 70-year old woman with a Rs. 400,000 fixed deposit and withinthe prescribed [...]

Postponement? No, polls should be held as promised, BT respondents say

Postponement? No, polls should be held as promised, BT respondents say

The following were comments received in the BT email poll: On whether 100 days is enough to resolve all these issues: – After making an election promise, it is up to the public to decide or not whether 100 days is enough. – Yes. Unfortunately no action has been taken with regard to corruption apart [...]

Accountability and good governance inseparable, says Chief Justice

Accountability and good governance are like inseparable twins similar to heart and health, according to Chief Justice K. Sripavan. Inaugurating the Sri Lanka legal summit in Colombo on Wednesday, he said that the integrity and independence of the judiciary, police, the armed forces and the public service was an important reflection of the governance that [...]

Swiss Foreign Minister, biz mission visiting Sri Lanka

A business and economic mission from Switzerland is due in May preceded by a visit by that country’s Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter in mid March, it was revealed this week. These details emerged during a meeting between Swiss Ambassador Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen in Colombo on Monday. “All this shows [...]

NDB funds wind power projects in the Northern Province

NDB funds wind power projects in the Northern Province

Two wind power projects – Joule Power (Pvt) Ltd and Beta Power (Pvt) Ltd – funded by NDB were successfully commissioned in December 2014 in Vallimunai and Pulopallai in the Kilinochchi district. NDB said in a statement that it had granted two long term facilities totalling Rs.3.3 billion towards construction and commissioning of these two [...]

SLT Group reports Rs. 65bln revenue for 2014

The Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT) Group has maintained its overall growth momentum during the year 2014 with revenue up by 8 per cent to Rs. 65 billion. In a media statement, it said that all segments of the group comprising fixed, mobile and others contributed positively to this increase. “Owing largely to price escalations [...]

Holcim Lanka hosts ‘Concrete Week on Innovation and Application’ for key stakeholders

Holcim Lanka recently held its first Innovation and Application (I&A) week at its new I&A centre at R. A. De Mel Mawatha to create awareness among its key stakeholders of the several value added services offered by the centre. During the week, three key events for stakeholders were organised. The Engineer and Academic Evening saw [...]

New tax on bus imports for tourism purposes

Sri Lanka has imposed a new tax of Rs.1.5 million per bus imported by the tourism industry while extending the age of used buses for the industry to 10 years from 5 years, Treasury sources said. Earlier this category of bus imports was tax free. The new tax which came into effect last week is [...]

Women will create value if given a chance in top slots

More people recognise the excellent role women play in business even though women are still under-represented in top leadership positions. While it’s desired that more women should get into management positions, it is still unclear how many companies encourage women into top slots in their establishments. A high powered panel featuring prominent chartered accountants and [...]

Small shareholders complain to SEC over malpractices by their brokers

Small shareholders complain to SEC over malpractices by their brokers

A 5-member team representing the Small Investors’ Association (SIA) of Kurunegala has complained to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on the injustices and malpractices by their stockbrokers and some regulators. The host of complaints range from opening margin accounts without their consent, trading on these accounts without their consent, misleading them on the type [...]

Annual K. Sivagananathan Memorial Oration on Tuesday

The K. Sivagananathan Memorial Trust (KSMT) and the Association of Professional Bankers of Sri Lanka (APB) will hold its 13th annual K. Sivagananathan Memorial Oration and Awards ceremony on Tuesday in commemoration of the late Mr. Sivagananathan, an innovative banker in Sri Lanka. This year Ranel T. Wijesinha, a Chartered accountant and a management consultant, [...]

Corruption is the biggest cancer in society

Corruption is the biggest cancer in society

Corruption is the biggest cancer in the society and ‘we’ see the private sector corrupting the public sector and vice versa, according to a top professional and good governance activist. Chandra Jayaratne, top business professional and good governance activist, addressing a panel discussion at the National Law Conference of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka [...]

Wrong info from banks on 15% interest rate issue

I thank you most sincerely for your concern for senior citizen’s deposits. But the solution is still unclear, as I found out on Wednesday, March 4 at the NSB. Many elders were turned away in tears, for this. For example I have two FDs at the NSB of which one is little over Rs. 900,000 [...]

New taxes on Lankan telcos negative for the industry, Fitch says

Sri Lankan telcos will pay one of the highest taxes as a percentage of revenue among Asia-Pacific telcos if the new budget proposals are enforced from April 1, a rating agency said on Tuesday. Fitch Rating Sri Lanka said SLT and Dialog will pay about 28 per cent and 36 per cent (2014: 12 per [...]

SME Factors Malaysia enters partnership with SME Factors Lanka

SME Factors Malaysia, one of Malaysia’s leading receivables financing houses, entered into a partnership with SME Factors Lanka Ltd. on Monday, aimed at expanding Sri Lanka’s SME industry. The collaboration is a result of initial discussions that took place last year between SME Factors and several ministries and will look at imperative measures that need [...]

Sri Lankan helps create world-acknowledged IT app for the blind

Sri Lankan helps create world-acknowledged IT app for the blind

With many Sri Lankans achieving excellence in the creation of new products and applications in this new technological era now comes the news of another breakthrough product involving a Sri Lankan that would help the blind across the world. The iBrailler Notes (iBN) system that benefits the blind the world over is a world-class invention [...]

Maithri says no deal with other countries that would affect local business, industry

President Maithripala Sirisena has promised Sri Lanka’s young entrepreneurs that he would not enter into any agreement with another country that is detrimental to the local business community and the domestic industry. He made these comments during a meeting at the weekend with the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) at Water’s Edge this week [...]

IMF mission says one-off Sri Lankan taxes ineffective

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to provide technical assistance focusing on more comprehensive reforms to streamline the tax system and put the country’s revenue on a steady path, an IMF official said in Colombo on Wednesday. The technical assistance missions of the world body will pay attention on tax policy and administration, public financial [...]

High flying Avant Garde security off the hook

The Government on Tuesday cleared the private security firm Avant Garde of any wrongdoing in setting up the company and recruitment procedures but industry sources say the authorities failed to probe the issue of why this company was selected without a transparent tender being called to take over a sea armoury which was earlier handled [...]

Public comments invited over draft micro finance bill

Public comments have been invited to a draft Micro Finance Regulation and Supervision Bill prepared by the Sri Lanka Micro Finance Practitioners’ Association (LMFPA) which has been submitted to the Government. The Prime Minister’s office said the LMFPA’s draft can be accessed through for public scrutiny and comments sent to the Ministry of Policy [...]

SriLankan Airlines wins ‘Best Value Leisure Product’ at OTM Mumbai

SriLankan Airlines, was recently awarded, ‘Best Value Leisure Product’ at a recent travel show in Mumbai. The 2015 chapter of OTM Mumbai – the biggest ever travel trade show in India was held at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre with participation of over 850 exhibitors from 50 countries, according to a airline media release. [...]

Prevention better than cure, IESL advises house builders

Today many house builders look for cheap labour and materials to build a house or an apartment without consulting certified engineers in the construction industry. The consequences they face within a couple of years after building are immense as against spending more money and doing a proper and safe job. Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka [...]

CB urged to freeze hidden assets of local and foreign Ceylinco companies with links to GK

Welcoming the Central Bank’s (CB) intervention to acquire the management of Golden Key Credit Card Company (GK), disgruntled GK depositors urged the authorities to fast track the repayment process by freezing hidden assets of 55 affiliated firms including nine foreign based companies and its 64 former directors as well as the Sarana fund They have [...]

New procurement committee to tackle tender bending

A new National Procurement Committee (NPC) is to be set up soon aimed at streamlining procurement of items for government institutions and proper monitoring of tender procedures. It will comprise experts and professionals in the field of tender procedure and purchasing but its composition is yet to be finalised. The new committee will also investigate [...]

Sajin Vaas not on COSMOS board

COSMOS Aviation Services on Friday said that its former Director Sajin De Vaas Gunawardena is no longer on the board but fell short of disclosing the owner of the said company. When Business Times contacted COSMOS Aviation, a company official speaking anonymously stated that Mr. Gunawardena was not on the board but did not wish [...]

5 % Special Standing Deposit Facility Rate withdrawn by CB as private credit flows improve

The Central Bank (CB) on Tuesday said it was removing the 5 per cent Special Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) Rate with immediate effect (from March 2). “By end 2014, on a year-on-year basis, private sector credit (has) grown by 8.8 per cent. Given the signs of sustained increase in credit flows to the private sector, [...]

Silicon Valley filled with funds but not enough platforms for investment

The world famous high tech industry Silicon Valley located in California in the United States has a lot of funds out there, but not enough great platforms for investment, according to Allison Areias – Vogel, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the US Embassy in Sri Lanka. She made this comment to the Business Times [...]

CSE launches FB, LinkedIn pages

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) has launched a Facebook and a LinkedIn page, according to a statement. The FB page is located at while the LinkedIn page is at The CSE statement said, “The Facebook page intends to reach retail investors and students who are eager to receive information on upcoming awareness programmes [...]

Oculus Rift VR used by Shift in SL marcom campaign

Oculus Rift VR used by Shift  in SL marcom campaign

Local digital agency Shift Solutions has incorporated the new Oculus Rift virtual reality headset as part of an integrated marketing communication campaign for a local bank, according to a statement. The statement also noted that the “Oculus Rift is a state-of-the-art headset that is designed by technology company Oculus VR to provide a virtual reality [...]

Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 most buzzed about at global mobile congress

This week witnessed the conclusion of yet another Mobile World Congress (MWC), the 86,000-participant showcase for all things mobile communications related held annually. Where January’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is more geared towards end-consumer, thanks to tech gadgets and prototypes exhibited with typical Las Vegas showmanship, the Barcelona-based 5-day MWC is more of an annual [...]

Spence to expand to Africa in maritime sector

Having expanded to Fiji with its port terminals, Aitken Spence PLC is further considering other maritime opportunities in the African region, senior company officials said. “We are eyeing opportunities in Africa for port technical handling,” a senior official told the Business Times. He added the company is also looking at other regions, but negotiations with [...]

Desperate CIFL depositors reject liquidation proposal from Ravi

While the new government has promised relief to victims of collapsed financial institutions, depositors of the Central Investment and Finance Ltd (CIFL) fear they have fallen from the frying pan to the fire. According to K.W. Gunawardena, President, CIFL Depositors Association (CIFLDA), at a meeting they had with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake on Monday, the [...]

SLID and Towers Watson address HR risk for sustainable growth

At a high-level forum conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) in Colombo recently in partnership with Towers Watson, Shatrunjay Krishna, Director Talent Management and Organisational Alignment Practice in India for Towers Watson, some of the global challenges in dealing with HR risk and how they could be averted or mitigated in order [...]

Rescue of Dutch visitor tells the world how much SL cares for its foreign guests

Rescue of Dutch visitor tells the world how much SL cares for its foreign guests

The miraculous escape of the Dutch national L. Martin who fell from the World’s End cliff and the bravery of personnel who risked their lives to save him, could be considered as the best example to mirror Sri Lankan hospitality to the world, noted Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala in the presence of [...]

S&T Interiors debuts in Sri Lanka with Mövenpick City Hotel

Services & Trade (S&T), a leading Oman based interior fit-out and contracting company with operations across 10 countries, is providing the complete interior fit-out works contract for the 5-star luxury Mövenpick City Hotel in Kollupitiya. The Swiss hospitality chain Mövenpick Hotels and Resorts, Softlogic’s first ever city hotel in Sri Lanka, is a 24-storey, 200+ [...]

High representation at the ITB Berlin tourism fair

High representation at the ITB Berlin tourism fair

Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake, Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala and Tourism Development Authority chairman Paddy Withana at the opening of the Sri Lanka stall at the ITB Berlin tourism fair earlier this week. More tha 50 representatives from state and private organizations made up the Sri Lankan delegation to the trade fair.

Senior citizens are disappointed

The Government recently announced that senior citizens will be entitled to 15 per cent annual interest for fixed deposits up to Rs. 1 million at all state banks with immediate effect. However when state banks were contacted we were told this facility is only for those who already have a fixed deposit account of less [...]

Innovative milking machine developed to help small Sri Lankan dairy farmers

Innovative milking machine developed to help small Sri Lankan dairy farmers

Technological applications have revolutionized agriculture and improved food production across the world but in Sri Lanka agriculture has seen very low technological applications. Most of the farmers in Sri Lanka are poor because they engage in cultivating one crop per season as they do not have an additional income path like animal husbandry- fish, poultry, [...]

Unit Trusts – safe way to stash your cash

Now that consumers are at a dilemma whether to park their money in savings accounts or to stash their cash in fixed deposits (FD) with the current unpredictability in interest rates, the Guardian Acuity Asset Management, (GAAM) has come up with a somewhat satisfactory solution – launching their third fund named GAAM Money Market Gilt [...]

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