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Gardens of rich, nutritious vegetables on soil-less surroundings on your balcony!

Gardens of rich, nutritious vegetables on soil-less surroundings on your balcony!

Of the 7 billion world population, around 2 billion are either suffering from malnutrition or under nutrition and one in three children die of hunger in Asia. These deaths and deficiencies could be mitigated through agriculture, growing more and providing sufficient quantities of food to everybody.  A new concept called hydroponic gardening may be the [...]

John Keells aims to double its hotel room stock in 5 years

John Keells Holdings (JKH), one of three large hotel chains in the country, is pumping in over US$1million annually on promoting its premium Cinnamon brand and aiming to double its room stock in five years from a current 2,200 in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The group, which has been working on a brand strategy [...]

Central Bank may re- examine finance company ratings by LRA

The Central Bank (CB) is considering re-examining all the ratings done on finance companies by crisis-hit Lanka Ratings Agency (LRA), following the latter’s rating suspension by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its withdrawal of the EAP Broadcasting Company Ltd rating, CB sources said. “Over 30 finance companies were rated by LRA out of [...]

Sri Lanka spins under bond spree

Sri Lanka is forced to borrow US$ 500 million for imports of material of foreign funded projects as this amount raised during end 2014 appears to have disappeared or used by the previous regime for other projects, official sources said. Foreign borrowings through a state owned bank appears to have been utilised by several state-owned enterprises [...]

Chinese suppliers demand over Rs. 127 mln in unpaid bills

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) was slapped by another Rs.127-million bill and frantic officials were looking at ways to reconcile it as Chinese suppliers demanding this sum were banging at the gates of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Beijing. The SLTPB has been hit with this huge amount for supplies made during the [...]

Fraudulent shoe imports cause over US$112.5 mln forex loss to Sri Lanka

Illegal and undervalued footwear imports are badly hitting local industry and resulting in potentially a massive foreign exchange loss annually to the country, local manufacturers warned. They say Sri Lanka is losing over US $112.5 million annually in much needed foreign exchange as a result of cheap footwear imports from countries like China and India. Local [...]

Can Sri Lanka become the miracle of South Asia? Some lessons to move in that direction

Can Sri Lanka become the miracle of South Asia? Some lessons to move in that direction

Following the appointment of a new President Maithripala Sirisena and a new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, it is important to evaluate scientifically how the economy of Sri Lanka will shape in the next six years. This article by any means does not attempt to criticize nor discriminate the former government; instead it tries to shed [...]

NDB Rs. 10 bln debenture issue oversubscribed

NDB which had earlier structured and placed the largest Corporate Debenture to be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange, this week saw another similar sized debenture being successfully oversubscribed and closed on the opening day itself. The Rated Unsecured Subordinated Redeemable Debentures with a face value of Rs.100 each, amounting to Rs. 10 billion with [...]

Young ideas to grow Sri Lanka – Comment

A group of 3-4 young adults walk into the function room of a Colombo hotel, carrying an ordinary clothes rack to which a folded tent-like contraption is attached with wires. Then when one member proceeds to give ‘directions’ through a mobile phone, the unmanned ‘tent’ moves and covers the rack similar to a foldable fabric [...]

Why do banks harass their customers? – Letter

Can someone answer the following questions for me? Being a Power of Attorney to a few of my family members operating their accounts in different banks the harassment I go through in these banks to operate their accounts is immense. Aren’t all the banks governed by one set of rules and regulations laid down by [...]

Dirty currency notes are not good for a visitor to the country – Letter

There is news that the Central Bank (CB) is presently engaged in a restructuring exercise of its operations. May I suggest that they consider including an officer or a division to monitor and ensure the quality of currency notes in circulation. Very often we come across dirty disfigured, torn, burnt and unserviceable currency notes. A [...]

Waive interest on pawned jewellery – Letter

Under its 100 day programme, the Government in power had pledged to waive the interest on pawned articles worth up to Rs. 200,000 but this is not being implemented as yet. The people who visit banks with great expectation in redeeming their pawned articles without paying interest are disappointed when the bank officials confess that [...]

“New lawyers-committee to probe Central Bank, Treasury, accountants” – Letter

I refer to your article on Page 3 of The Business Times of Sunday 14-06-2015 under the above headline. Whatever the respected legal luminaries and other legal bigwigs may have to say about the legality of the Lawyers-Committee appointed to probe financial acts or omissions by certain institutions, we the depositors of a troubled finance company [...]

Propagation of Errors – Focus

Propagation of Errors – Focus

On the cover page of the ST Business Times of Sunday, May 10 was an image of new Rs. 5000 currency note with the signatures of Ravi Karunanayake and Arjuna Mahendran, the latter signing in English, for the first time on a Sri Lankan currency note since 1988. All currency notes up to and including [...]

Government intensifies efforts to regulate micro finance units

With the aim of fulfilling a long felt need, the government as part of its 100-day programme is hoping to introduce a draft bill to regulate and supervise around 20,000 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Sri Lanka by setting up a regulatory authority. This is the fourth attempt by the government since 2006 to regulate these [...]

First ever Asia-Pac conformity push in Sri Lanka takes off in Colombo

Ushering international recognition for Sri Lanka’s conformity realm, the first ever Asia Pacific accreditation conference kicked off in Colombo on June 15, a media release issued by the Commerce and Industry Ministry stated. “Under the purview of my Ministry, we have taken various measures to promote accreditations in Sri Lanka. This is done with a [...]

Improving Sri Lanka’s tax collection base and collection a challenge to the government

The possibility of extending Sri Lanka’s tax collection base and raising the levels of tax collection is under discussion at the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank.  Newly appointed British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, James Dauris made this comment to the Business Times on the sidelines of a breakfast meeting with local corporates at [...]

Airtel, Virtusa, MillenniumIT, 17 more tapped as 2015′s ‘Best Companies to Work for’ in SL

Airtel, Virtusa, MillenniumIT, 17 more tapped as 2015′s ‘Best Companies to Work for’ in SL

Celco Airtel, as well as IT companies Virtusa and MillenniumIT were some of the firms recognised at the “Top 20 Best Companies to Work for” Sri Lankan honours for 2015, which was held recently.  This June 10 event was organised by the Great Place to Work (GPTW) Institute along with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. [...]

Rs. 6 bln released this week to pay outstanding bills on road development projects

A sum of Rs. 6 billion was released from the Treasury this week to make part payments of some of the outstanding bills of contractors who have undertaken vital infrastructure development projects such as rural road building, officials said. They said the Government is grappling to settle outstanding bills of contractors running up to billions [...]

IronOne’s ‘BoardPAC’ receives ISO 27001 certification

IronOne Technologies (Pvt) Ltd has received 1SO/IEC 27001:2013 certification for ‘BoardPAC’ – the company’s software solution for paperless Board and Senior Management Committee meetings. This certification by Bureau Veritas covers the Information Security Management System supporting BoardPAC software products developed and customised by IronOne for its clients in Sri Lanka and overseas, the local company [...]

Construction on long-awaited Central (Colombo-Kandy) Expressway to start

Construction on a new Central Expressway (Colombo-Kandy) will soon begin, the Government said on Wednesday. The decision was taken at a meeting at the Ministry of Finance between the Minister of Highways and Investment Promotion Kabir Hashim, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Secretaries to the Ministry of Highways and Investment Promotion and Finance and a senior [...]

hSenid Mobile Solutions concludes successful TADHack 2015

hSenid Mobile Solutions hosted TADHack 2015, the biggest International Telco Application Development hackathon which was successfully concluded last weekend, bringing numerous innovative and creative ideas to the limelight. This event, hosted by hSenid Mobile for the second consecutive time in Sri Lanka, was extended insto two satellite locations, Colombo and Jaffna as well as Bangladesh, [...]

SL pharma company says court-appointed committee clears it of alleged wrongdoing

Omacx Healthcare (Pvt) Ltd which was suspended by the Health Ministry pending an inquiry on November 13, 2013 regarding an alleged fraud of pilfering an oncology drug named Oncaspar from the Maharagama National Cancer Institute and re-selling it to the Government Medical Supply Division has been cleared and exonerated by a court appointed 3-member independent [...]

12 eHealth pilot projects running in SL – HISSL President

12 eHealth pilot projects running  in SL – HISSL President

There are presently 12 eHealth pilot projects running in Sri Lanka, according to Prof. Vajira Dissanayake, President of the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (read his column on one such programme, the eIMMR initiative, adjoining this article). Following these successful pilot programmes, many of these eHealth initiatives could go on to change the face [...]

eIMMR, the first eHealth System to be implemented islandwide – Special Report

eIMMR, the first eHealth System to be implemented islandwide – Special Report

A simple eHealth solution transforming Health Information gathering in Sri Lanka. In 2009, Dr. Nadish Kariyawasam and Dr. Buddhika Dayarathne, two students in the MSc in Biomedical Informatics course at the Postgraduate Institute of Medicine walked in to the Medical Statistics Unit (MSU) of the Ministry of Health with the hope of commencing their MSc project. [...]

Security features on internal networks alone insufficient to protect your company from a hack (in)? – Special Report

Security features on internal networks alone insufficient to protect your company from a hack (in)? – Special Report

The risk of theft or data compromise continues to increase. Most of us know that there is no such thing as 100 per cent security. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time until a security incident occurs. When an incident occurs, it’s common to observe rantic running around and people improvising action plans. Often, the [...]

Electronic and Telecom Engineering Dept. University of Moratuwa pioneers telecom education and research in Sri Lanka – Special Report

Electronic and Telecom Engineering Dept. University of Moratuwa pioneers telecom education and research in Sri Lanka – Special Report

The Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa, is the pioneer in telecommunications education and research in Sri Lanka. Established as a unique discipline in the Sri Lankan higher education system in 1969, the programme has produced engineers, which took the Sri Lankan telecommunications industry through several remarkable revolutions, including the establishment of [...]

SL crowd-sourcing platform to target youth – Special Report

SL crowd-sourcing  platform to target youth – Special Report

Having gone online recently, the first week of May 2015 in fact; is a local crowd-funding platform along the lines of Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc. set up by US-based Sri Lankan entrepreneur Kalpa Alawatta. The website currently hosts four charityprojects, with five more in the pipeline awaiting the proper verification processes to ensure donors are [...]

Six years on, Standard Credit Finance depositors still to get their money

The Deposit Protection Society of the Standard Credit Finance Co Plc says that more than 4,000 depositors and over 60,000 of their immediate and extended family members are yet to get their deposits, despite battling with the company and the authorities for the past six years. In a letter to the Business Times, the Society [...]

CA Sri Lanka seminar on “Liberalisation of Professional Services”

Leading professional figures from diverse sectors will come together at a Colombo seminar on Monday, June 22 (tomorrow) to share their thoughts on “the liberalisation of professional services”.  The seminar titled ‘Liberalisation of Professional Services, Challenges & Opportunities, Risks & Safeguards’ will feature a keynote speech by Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of [...]

Discussion on “Night Work/5-day working week for women”

The National Chamber of Commerce is organising a discussion/forum on “Night Work for Women and 5-Day Working Week” on Friday, 26 June 2015 at 3 pm at the Chamber Auditorium at 450, D.R. Wijewardene Mw, Colombo 10. Due to the current labour law restrictions placed on night work for women, many female employees keep away [...]

GK depositors rejoice over new payment plan

Disgruntled depositors of the collapsed Golden Key Credit Card Company were overjoyed when Deputy Solicitor General (DSG) Viraj Dayaratna appearing on behalf of the Attorney General conveyed to the Supreme Court on Thursday the government’s decision to repay 41 per cent of their deposits in cash, upfront. The repayment will be made in three phases, [...]

‘Call for Abstracts’ for Colombo-based eHealth Asia conference in Oct.2015

A three-day Health Informatics conference to kick off on October 12, 2015, at the Cinnamon Grand hotel in Colombo, has started accepting abstracts for research papers to be presented at the conference. Abstract submissions are open upto July 15. Organised by the Health Informatics Society of Sri Lanka (HISSL), along with the Asian eHealth Information [...]

World’s biggest hotel to open in Mecca in 2017

The world’s biggest hotel is set to open in Mecca in 2017, offering an unprecedented level of luxury to travellers and royalty alike in Saudi Arabia, according to UK’s Guardian newspaper. The Abraj Kudai will cost about US$3.6 billion, featuring 10,000 bedrooms, 70 restaurants and four helipads. At 45 stories tall, the desert fortress-style hotel [...]

Over 100 SL entries for 2015 Cannes Lions

Sri Lanka’s advertising industry will offer up over 100 entries in competition for metal at the Cannes Lions in 2015, according to Ranil de Silva, the local representative for this international awards show. This year’s festival has already received a reord 40,000 entries worldwide, with each paying 530 euros (US$ 600) or more, per entry, [...]

Value addition can boost exports from Sri Lanka to Malaysia

Recent statistics with regard to trade between Sri Lanka and Malaysia show that there has been a drop in exports from Sri Lanka to Malaysia whereas imports from there has risen.  Imports from Malaysia have increased from US$ 570 million in 2013 to US$ 716 million in 2014 whereas exports from Sri Lanka have decreased [...]

Chinese businesses dominate at construction exhibition

Chinese businesses with 75 stalls dominated the Construction Expo 2015 – Interior and Lifestyle Show organised jointly by the Ceylon Institute of Builders (CIOB) and the Lanka Exhibitions and Conference Services (LECS) held last week at the BMICH. The Chinese segment was accommodated in a special pavilion and they represented Fujian, Liaoning, Jaingxi, Hunan, Hangzhou [...]

Political uncertainty hurts SL’s tourism planning

In the wake of the political uncertainty due to the unannounced dates of the next general election, Sri Lankan tourism authorities are unable to proceed with long-term plans. Deputy Tourism Minister Wasantha Senanayake told the Business Times that owing to the uncertainty of the next elections they were unable to divide their time between their respective [...]

Competitiveness possible through systematic processes across all industries – Harsha

As a significantly different economy on a structural level from where it was even 10 years ago Sri Lankans are doing different things, as such it’s important to approach those businesses that weren’t competitive in a systematic manner, according to a top economist. “There are a lot of people who are stuck because of inefficient [...]

EFC makes its case on ‘Compliance+’ branding at ILO, Geneva

The Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) that launched a key initiative to upgrade the standards of businesses especially the SMEs through its Compliance + brand had showcased this in a presentation at the recent International Labour Conference in Geneva. EFC Director General Ravi Peiris said in a media release issued by the organisation that the [...]

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