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Sri Lanka’s first women’s trade union close to registration

Sri Lanka’s first women’s trade union close to registration

After a near 2-year struggle, Sri Lanka’s active female labour movement has succeeded in forming the country’s first women’s trade union with the Women’s Solidarity Union (WSU) close to be registered by the authorities. “We have applied for registration of the WSU with the labour authorities and the process is being finalised,” said Padmini Weerasooriya [...]

UPFA ‘handout’ manifesto could cost over Rs. 400 bln to implement

The election manifesto of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) with a host of ‘handouts’ to be given within 30 days of capturing power would cost the Treasury much more than the usual spend in a national budget. A comprehensive analysis by some financial experts with national budgeting experience, considering the financial implications to any [...]

Highlights of UPFA Manifesto with financial implications

Listed below are 20 key items picked by the analysts from the manifesto and the projected amounts (annually or as a one-off payment): (1) Minimum basic wage increase of government servants to Rs. 25,000 = Rs. 32.50 billion. (2)Increase in cost of living allowance to Rs.10,000 = Rs.13 billion. (3)Interest free and low interest loans [...]

PM eyes Trinco for international airport, economic hub

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is keen on developing Trincomalee as an international airport as opposed to prospects by the northerners vying for one in Palali. This idea was mooted by the Premier taking into consideration the economic prospects found in this region, Sports and Tourism Minister Navin Dissanayake told the Business Times on Tuesday. Asked about [...]

Treasury injects Rs. 239.5 bln capital into 9 SOBEs

Nine State-Owned Business Enterprises (SOBEs) have been provided with a massive sum of Rs.239.5 billion in capital infusion, liquidity improvement and debt capitalisation, as government bolsters their sustainability amid heavy losses, official sources revealed. This infusion was made from the 2015 budget issuing Treasury bonds to offset budgetary problems and meet capital reserve requirements and [...]

Government reduces palm oil import levy amidst industry pressure

Heeding to pressure exerted by top players in the industry, the Finance Ministry has brought down the special commodity levy for palm oil to Rs.90 from Rs.110. The recent reduction of the commodity levy for palm oil was aimed at promoting value added palm oil exports from Sri Lanka, officials said, adding that at least [...]

Exploited they fight back – Comment

While Sri Lanka’s undivided attention over the past six months has been focused on the politics of the nation and its economic future, a little-known but significantly important development for women has surfaced. Women’s groups working in the free trade zones (FTZs) and tea plantations recently banded together to form the Women’s Solidarity Union (WSU) which [...]

Central Bank Bond fiasco – the simple facts (The following is an analysis of the controversial bond issue by a bond specialist)

Central Bank Bond fiasco – the simple facts (The following is an analysis of the controversial bond issue by a bond specialist)

The auction The auction on the 27th February 2015 for 30 year bonds was for Rs. 1 billion. Given the interest rate scenario at the time, the Central Bank (CB) had indicated a range of around 9.5 per cent to 11 per cent p.a. Also in the past the CB has not accepted bids of [...]

New law to provide more powers to Auditor General to ensure stringent state tender procedures

The Government cannot be complacent with the tender procedure adopted by the state sector and measures have to be taken to wipe out financial and accounting frauds in government institutions to ensure people and investors receive correct information on fnancial matters, according to President Maithripala Sirisena. Speaking as Chief Guest at the CMA International Global [...]

Some 25% in Lanka Walltiles capacity to be converted to floor tiles

Lack of demand for wall tiles has led Lanka Walltiles (LWL) to convert 25 per cent of its plant capacity to manufacture floor tiles, officials said. ”There’s a gradual accumulation of LWL stock which is about 10,000 square metres (sqm) a month, which is mainly due to diminishing demand. We want to convert 25 per cent [...]

Indian investor to build SL’s tallest building as a tribute to Arjuna’s winning world cup team

Shreepati Edifice (Pvt) Ltd, one of India’s biggest real estate development groups, plans to construct Sri Lanka’s tallest building in a tube-shaped structure as a tribute to Arjuna Ranatunga’s World Cup winning 1996 team. The company signed an agreement with the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka to invest US$ 330 million in this [...]

MBSL seminar on taxes

The Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka and Finance PLC (MBSL) is organising a seminar on “Why you should be a taxpayer – inherent benefits” at Earls Court – Cinnamon Lakeside, Colombo on August 11. The speakers are D.R.S. Hapuarachchi, Commissioner – Secretariat Branch, Department of Inland Revenue and A.M. Nafeel, Deputy Commissioner – Secretariat Branch, [...]

Don’t gamble on shooting stars, says investment expert

Don’t gamble on shooting stars, says investment expert

It’s a plain truth and one that many investors have learned the hard way, by buying yesterday’s star performers only to learn that they were gambling on shooting stars, not great investors. This was an important insight that keynote speaker Russell Invesments UK Managing Director Shamindra Perera brought at the Capital Market Awards and Forecast [...]

August 7 Demo Day for MIT GSL’s fifth year in Sri Lanka

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Global Startup Lab (GSL) programme formally ends its fifth year in Sri Lanka with a presentation of business plans by finalists on August 7 at a Demo Day at TRACE IT City, with the ultimate goal being to secure funding. The MIT GSL programme is also held in South [...]

Nations Trust continues steady performance

Nations Trust Bank (NTB) closed the first 6 months ending 30th June 2015 with a post-tax profit of Rs.1.25 billion, up 9 per cent over the corresponding period in 2014. “The results for the quarter were significantly better with post tax profits recording a commendable growth of 26 per cent. Operating margins improved during the [...]

Book: Microfinance – A study of the concept

A study on the subject of microfinance is found in the book titled “Microfinance” by Dharmabandu Atapattu who has thoughtfully dedicated this text to bankers, lecturers, students, investors and professionals of microfinance. The author gives the reader a complete sense of the subject of microfinance in the first part of the book that looks at [...]

MasterCard highlights latest innovations in electronic payments at a workshop in Colombo

MasterCard recently engaged with over 100 senior electronic payments professionals at its inaugural Payments Strategy Workshop in Colombo, one of the biggest in the electronic payments industry in Sri Lanka. “For over 25 years, our partners have been instrumental in helping us bring our world class secure solutions to Sri Lanka. As we reiterate our [...]

Adam Group launches microfinance project to serve low income communities

Adam Group launches microfinance project to serve low income communities

“Serving the Underserved”, the motto of the newly undertaken project by Adam Capital Micro Credit (Pvt) Ltd, reflects the operations that were commenced by the company on Wednesday at their headquarters in Colombo. In an event presided over by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, the company which is a member of Adam Investments PLC Group, launched [...]

New plan crafted to take Sri Lanka exports to the next level

A plan has been mapped out for the country for the next five years to plug Sri Lanka into the world. “There has been a consistency in my policy of promoting exports during the past five years. I have always stressed on exports and we have to concentrate on exports,” said the Deputy Minister for [...]

SL accountancy students aware of governance issues, says global expert

It’s inspiring to note that young aspiring accountants in Sri Lanka are interested and aware of governance, according to a top international accountant. “I was inspired to have met some amazing and bright accountancy students who were well aware of and quite interested in governance,” Olivia Kirtley, President International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Board told [...]

International expert calls for highly challenging competency tests when selecting boards/ committees

International expert calls for highly challenging competency tests when selecting boards/ committees

Corporate directors need to follow a process to improve effectiveness and practise a robust governance structure while always doing a competency test when selecting boards and committees, an international expert advocated. “This test should be highly challenging too. This makes sure that directors are equipped with essentials where only then can they stand out and [...]

iMac could have been called Rocket Mac, former Apple insider says

The name Rocket Mac was an early suggestion for the first generation iMac, the personal computer that kicked off Apple’s recovery, following the 1997 re-instatement of Steve Jobs, according to Ken Segall, a former Apple insider and advertising executive. He also revealed that, based on these initial ideas, today’s most iconic Apple devices could also [...]

National Forum for Life Insurance Advisors on August 4

The 2015 National Forum for Life Insurance Advisors (NAFLIA) conference will be held on August 4 on the theme ‘A Day All Sri Lankans are Insured’.  The conference attracts the best life insurance advisors from all insurance companies via the Insurance Association of Sri Lanka (IASL) and its sub committee, the Marketing & Sales Forum [...]

W.T. Ellawala retiring as chairman of

Janashakthi; Husein Esufally to take overJanashakthi Insurance’s longstanding Non-Executive Chairman W.T. Ellawala on Wednesday announced his retirement from the company’s board, to come into effect in 2016.  He made this announcement to a high profile audience, comprising some of Sri Lanka’s top corporate leaders; during a event launching the company’s 20th anniversary coffee table book, [...]

“New Repayment Process of GK Depositors” – Right of Reply

Chairman of the Board of Directors of Golden Key Credit Card Company Ltd (GK) Priyantha Fernando has sent a letter disagreeing with some of the contents of the news article published last week under the above headline. He said: “As reported in your newspaper, from what was told by a frontline member of a GK [...]

Instead of mega airports, why not a graduate medical school for Sri Lanka? – Letter

Our politicians are masters in undertaking mega projects of no return on loan and increase themisery of the tax payer. Instead, can we think of projects that are self-sufficient from the start and give unlimited returns to the country? Here is one. “I am 24 years old and have just completed a university degree in [...]

Yahapalanaya, good governance and intellectual honesty

Yahapalanaya, good governance and intellectual honesty

“Yahapalanaya”or good governance is the doctrine of the present regime in Sri Lanka which has created, to some extent, a feeling of freedom of thought in the public domain. In this context here are some thoughts shared by Thilak Karunaratne, Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka at a recent event in Colombo organised by [...]

Ceylinco VIP provides Rs. 4 mln emergency hospitalisation cover

Ceylinco Insurance will be making another breakthrough in motor insurance by providing Rs. 4 million emergency hospitalisation insurance cover free of charge for its Ceylinco VIP ‘On the Spot’ customers. Chief Executive Officer of Ceylinco General Insurance Ltd, Ajith Gunawardena told a media conference in Colombo this week. This will include an insurance cover of [...]

BMS-ITI in strategic partnership to advance biotechnology in Sri Lanka

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Business Management School (BMS) and the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) in Colombo last week for continued collaboration in student apprenticeship and training and research. It was signed by W.A Wijewardena, President of BMS on behalf of BMS and by Niroshana Perera, ITI Chairman, on behalf of [...]

Bank of Ceylon ranked among top 1000 banks in the world

Bank of Ceylon (BoC) said this week it has created history by being ranked among the top five banks in the Asia-Pacific Region (excluding China and Japan) in terms of Return on Capital by ‘The Banker” magazine becoming the first Sri Lankan bank to achieve such a performance ranking from an internationally recognised entity. This [...]

UK-based investor links up with an Indian firm to revive Kantale sugar factory

A UK-based investor has linked up with an Indian company to revive and restructure Sri Lanka’s state owned Kantale sugar factory with an investment of Rs.13 .5 billion (US$110 million) after it was shut down for over 25 years. Mendel Gluck, a UK based investor, is the leading investor of the project backed by Shri [...]

Iron One launches new platform for CSE trading

IronOne Technologies has announced the launch of ‘ATrad Mobile’ for investors to access the Colombo Stock Exchange for real-time market information, and to trade securely via their smartphones. ’ATrad Mobile’ has easy to use stock trading features and capabilities that allow clients to securely trade stocks, track and manage portfolios and market movements, as well as [...]

Health conscious socks from Kandurata Umbrellas

Kandurata Umbrella Industries (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka’s leading socks manufacturer and marketer, has added a special range of socks to their product line up with the launch of a special type made for health purposes. The new socks are made using a special mixture, with bamboo pulp being a major ingredient. The new range is [...]

SriLankan combines cash and miles for dream holiday from FlySmiLes

FlySmiLes, the frequent flyer programme of SriLankan Airlines with its newest cash plus miles offer, is giving its members the opportunity to explore SriLankan’s directly operated destinations for attractive fares. The offer, valid for bookings till August 15, 2015 for travel from September 1- October 31, 2015, gives FlySmiLes members the chance to combine their [...]

Countries like Britain consume more locally produced goods

Britain is among a few countries that are adopting strategies to limit environmental damage by consuming more local produce. Making this comment, Prof. Ajith de Alwis, Senior Professor, Department of Chemical and Process Engineering University of Moratuwa said that marketing of products and commodities can also affect the environment. For example countries import goods from faraway [...]

Germany funds micro projects across Sri Lanka

Germany funds micro projects across Sri Lanka

The German Embassy in Colombo has granted assistance worth over Rs. 10 million to eight community development organisations operating in a number of districts. The projects cover livelihood support, education, water and sanitation. In meetings with representatives of the implementing organisations to hand over the funds, Ambassador Dr. Juergen Morhard was quoted in a media [...]

Impact of flexibility on the labour regime

Recent mainstream economic policy making in Sri Lanka has been promoting the idea of labour “flexibility”. The assumption is that labour laws are too restrictive with respect to matters such as firing employees or determining work hours. These laws are seen as imposing labour market “rigidity”. Both terms appeal to common sense. Flexibility in particular [...]

Labour discussion at the American Centre

The American Centre organising a presentation on ‘Labour Rights in the Garment Industry: Getting Government – Industry To Work Together’ followed by a discussion by Dr. Sanchita Saxena, US-based researcher tomorrow at 5 pm at the American Centre auditorium at Galle Face, Colombo. Dr. Saxena is the executive director of the Institute for South Asia [...]

SL Internet growth rate at 9% recently revealed that Sri Lanka’s Internet growth rate, which had been less than 5 per cent prior to 2009, had risen to 9 per cent today, citing online statistics platform Statistia as its source. Further, the company also commented, in a statement, that “almost a quarter of the nation’s population of nearly 21 million [...]

10 things that will disappear in our lifetime

WORLDWIDE WEB (WWW) – Post Office: They are so deeply in financial trouble that there is probably no way to sustain it long term. Email, Fed Ex, and UPS have just about wiped out the minimum revenue needed to keep the post office alive. Cheque: Britain is already laying the groundwork to do away with [...]

Emission testing also saves fuel

Vehicle emissions tests to reduce the environmental impact of car exhaust fumes can also be re-purposed to examine fuel consumption and improve vehicle fuel efficiency, according to experts. Emissions tests centres run by Drivegreen issue an Estimated Fuel Efficiency Report with each emissions test, providing motorists with a useful guide to how much fuel a [...]

Commercial Bank hosts entrepreneurship seminars in Kandy and Kuliyapitiya

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently interacted with 260 entrepreneurs in the Central and North Western provinces at programmes hosted in Kandy and Kuliyapitiya. This was part of the bank’s on-going initiative to promote entrepreneurship development across the country by empowering micro, small and medium enterprises with the knowledge they need to grow, the bank said [...]

Seylan Bank reports huge profit growth of 43% during 1H 2015

Seylan Bank said this week it posted a record half-yearly performance with Profit before Income Tax reaching Rs. 2,579 million for the six months ended 30th June 2015. Post-tax profit reached Rs. 1,740 Million, up 43 per cent compared to the corresponding 6-month period in 2014. The quarterly (Q-2 2015) post tax profit of Rs. [...]

Airtel appoints new CEO/MD while Suren Goonewardene appointed as chairman of local ops

India’s Bharti Airtel (Airtel) has appointed Suren Goonewardene, formerly CEO/Managing Director as non-executive chairman of the Sri Lankan operation with Jinesh Hegde taking over as CEO/MD.The company said in an announcement on Wednesday that Mr. Hegde will report to Ajai Puri, Director – Market Operations (India & South Asia), Bharti Airtel. Mr. Hegde brings with [...]

CIESOT to sell more Ceylinco Insurance shares

Following Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance’s 6 per cent purchase in Ceylinco Insurance this week, the local insurer is looking to shed more stakes, officials said. “We want to shed the balance 6 per cent (ideally) that CIESOT Ltd (Ceylinco Insurance Employee Share Ownership Trust of Ceylinco Insurance), an employee share ownership trust of Ceylinco Insurance, has [...]

How’s Windows 10 doing? Early reviews, four days in

Following last week’s techKNOW story on the July 29 global debut of the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system (OS), the Business Times wanted to highlight the main pros and cons of this newest, and maybe last ever, version of the world’s most pervasive OS, which is now aiming to secure a heavier presence across multiple [...]

GK depositors’ repayment process continues amidst hiccups

The Government has re-affirmed that Golden Key depositors will be repaid their money using a facility of Rs. 8.5 billion from the Treasury in accordance with cabinet-approved proposal of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Finance Ministry officials said. The Treasury funds would be sufficient to repay 41 per cent of the deposits of the majority of [...]

Sri Lanka – first country on earth to get islandwide 3G coverage with Google Balloons

The Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) this week said that by the end of 2016 every little village in the country will be equipped wih access to Internet. The agency did not disclose the fact of how it is going to do it practically. Last Tuesday it was revealed by global experts at the [...]

Is Sri Lanka tourism coming to a standstill? – Letter

Many thought the autocratic style that existed among tourism authorities in the past that led many to the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) and the anti-bribery commission would come to an end and that sense will prevail following the formaton of the Ministry of Tourism dedicated to tourism development. But this too was proved to [...]

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