The following is a compilation of stories that appeared on Times-on-Line web during the week. Some of the stories may be repeated elsewhere in the Business Times with updates: =Ceylon Chamber hosts business forum with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address Sri Lanka’s top business leaders on Friday [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Modi at chamber event, CB Governor flies to Singapore, LA

Stories from the Times web

The following is a compilation of stories that appeared on Times-on-Line web during the week. Some of the stories may be repeated elsewhere in the Business Times with updates:

=Ceylon Chamber hosts business forum with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address Sri Lanka’s top business leaders on Friday in Colombo during a visit to the country.
The evening event, organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, will see the attendance of 400 local business leaders, the chamber said in a statement.


This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister is making a bilateral visit to Sri Lanka after the last visit by an Indian Premier in 1987 – being Rajiv Gandhi. The latter was nearly assaulted by a naval rating during a military parade, angered by the Indo-Lanka peace accord that paved the way for Indian troops to be stationed in Sri Lanka.

Chamber Chairman Suresh Shah will make the introductory speech at the upcoming forum followed by the speech of the Indian Prime Minister.

=Colombo shares slide for 8th
straight day!

Colombo equities swung between gains and losses on Wednesday to wrap up the day in red, resulting in the bourse’s downtrend for the eighth consecutive day.

The benchmark All Share Index ended at 7,110.19 today shedding 0.28 per cent with analysts saying that the blue chip index saw volatility throughout the day to settle. The S&P index lost 0.41 per cent to close at 4,070.74. Turnover was Rs. 946 million at the close.

=Under-fire Central Bank Governor
flies to Singapore, LA

Under-fire Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran went abroad on Monday just as a probe began on a Treasury bond issue that has drawn allegations of insider trading and favouritism.

CB officials said however it was a pre-arranged trip and that the Governor was visiting Singapore and Los Angeles on official work. He is expected to return by Friday and then leave the next day on another pre-arranged trip, they said.

A Treasury bond issue in which the CB accepted Rs. 10 billion worth of bids at high rates of interest after advertising for Rs.1 billion created a furore in the market with demands for a probe. Both the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the JVP demanded an independent investigation while President Maithripala Sirisena, currently on an official visit to the UK, appointed a 3-member committee to probe the matter. Both parties are backing demands for the CB Governor to step down, at least until the inquiry is over.

Mr. Mahendran told the Sunday Times on Saturday that a lawyer had been assigned to carry out an independent inquiry. The allegation centres around the Governor’s son-in-law Arjun Aloysius being involved in the bond issue. Mr. Aloysius’s family Perpetual Treasuries, a primary market dealer, was the biggest beneficiary of the bond issue.


=China expects speedy review of the Colombo Port City project

The Chinese government expresses the hope that the review of the stalled Colombo Port City project by the Sri Lankan Government would be completed as soon as possible, Yi Xianliang, the new Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka told journalists in Colombo on Tuesday.

The contractor, China Communications Construction Company has gone through due procedure and follow all the legal obligations, he revealed during a briefing at the embassy.

He urged both the government and the Chinese company concerned to observe the rule of law and keep mutual trust and confidence in each other in the implementation of the project.

The construction of this project will provide a great impetus to the urban development of Colombo, local economic development and the improvement of Sri Lanka’s national image, he said.

This project will be of great significance for Sri Lanka’s economic development, especially attracting foreign investment and promoting local tourism and therefore all matters should be sorted out maintaining close relations between the two countries, he emphasised.

Mr. Xianliang noted that the embassy hopes to maintain close contacts with the media to disseminate credible information on Chinese-aided projects, trade and investment in Sri Lanka.

=Acting SriLankan CEO soon
until position is advertised

SriLankan Airlines is considering appointing an individual in an acting position as CEO after its CEO of four years, Kapila Chandrasena quit on Monday, a senior airline official said on Tuesday.

Mr. Chandrasena, appointed by the previous regime, handed in his resignation without citing any reason for stepping down, the official said.
The company plans to advertise the CEO’s position and during this interim period is in the process of considering someone for this temporary task. It was unclear whether the person considered was within the organisation or outside.

Meanwhile the interim report on the investigations into the airline by a probe team led by lawyer and good governance activist J.C. Weliamuna was handed over to Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga yesterday. It is yet to be made public.

=SL Govt. accepts northern highway
contract lowest bid of Rs. 348 mln

The Road Development Authority (RDA) in a newspaper advertisement on Tuesday said it has accepted the lowest bid of Rs. 348 million from contractor Edward and Christie for road works connected to the proposed northern highway. The highest bid offered was Rs.486 million by K.D.A Weerasinghe and Co.

Among the six bids that were evaluated, Maga Engineering had reduced its offer by Rs. 65 million to Rs.407 million from its earlier bid offer of Rs.473 million. Other bids were made by Tudawe Brothers (unchanged bid of Rs. 399 million), V.V. Karunaratne and Co (earlier Rs. 354 million; amended bid Rs. 372 million) and Finite Lanka (Rs.412 million). Bids closed December 29, 2014. Changes in bids came with discounts offered by the bidders, RDA said.

=SL President appoints 3-member committee to probe alleged fraud in t-bonds

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday appointed a 3-member committee to probe allegations of wrongdoing in the issue of Treasury bonds at the Central Bank, an issue that was exposed in the Sunday Times last week.

This came a day after Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran, whose son-in-law allegedly figured in the deal, told the Sunday Times that an independent lawyer had been appointed to probe the matter.

A statement from the President’s Office said that the President’s “attention has been drawn to media reports about alleged malpractice in the recent issue of Treasury Bills (bonds) by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has decided to appoint a 3-member Committee to probe this matter”.
The names of the members were not disclosed. It said that President Sirisena has instructed the Secretary to the President to take immediate action to appoint this Committee to ascertain the facts and report on this matter.

“In the event of it being established that any malpractice has taken place, the President will take strong action against any persons or officials associated with this, irrespective of their status,” the statement said.

=Popular ‘Walkers Café’ at Independence Square removed from army control

The popular ‘Walker’s Café’ at Independence Square, taken over by the army under the previous administration, was handed back to the Sri Lanka Television Training Institute (SLTTI) on Monday, according to witnesses.

The roadside kiosk is popular with many people using the Independence Square for a jog or a walk during the day.

Joggers said they saw the army removing items and preparing to leave the premises with officials present saying that the SLTTI had been given back the management.

=Kapila Chandrasena resigns
as SriLankan Airlines CEO

Kapila Chandrasena, CEO of SriLankan Airlines, has resigned, airline officials said.

They said he had submitted his resignation on Monday. Mr. Chandrasena, appointed by the former regime, was holding the dual position of CEO SriLankan Airlines and Mihin Air.

=Kelegama appointed chairman
of Singer Industries

Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director – Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), is taking over as chairman of Singer Industries from April 1 from long-serving chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya who is stepping down after a long and illustrious career in this conglomerate.

Dr. Kelegama, a renowned economist, has been a non-executive independent director at this company and many other Singer subsidiaries for many years. He is also the chairman of Singer Finance Ltd.

=Veteran lawyer Shibly Aziz appointed Civil Aviation Chairman

Eminent lawyer Shibly Aziz has been appointed Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and assumed office last week, officials said.

Attorney General from 1995 to 1996, Mr. Aziz has represented Sri Lanka in the international fora including as the Chief Delegate at the Second International Air Transport Conference 1980 ICAO held in Montreal; a member of the Sri Lanka Delegation o the Conference of the Attorneys General of Asia and the Pacific, held in Colombo in 1985 and in Seoul in 1990, the CAA website stated.

He was the first Chairman of the CAA 2003-2005 when it was established as an authority. Mr. Aziz has also been instrumental in drafting legislation in the country, particularly air navigation laws such as the extensive amendments made to the Air Navigation Ordinance.

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