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Rains ruin vegetable cultivation

Rains ruin  vegetable cultivation

Picture shows a leeks cultivator with  shattered hopes in Nuwara Eliya looking at his cultivation destroyed  by the recent heavy rains.  Pic by Shelton Hettiarachchi

Public pressure mounts against the Divineguma Bank and NSB merger

Massive pressure from the public, government, opposition politicians and the subject minister is mounting against the proposed merger between the Divineguma Bank which has a deposit portfolio of around Rs. 59 billion and the National Savings Bank (NSB), the country’s premier savings bank. The Treasury has made the 2016 budget proposal to merge the two [...]

Tourism awaits Treasury funding

The tourism industry in future would have to depend on Treasury funding to promote the destination although one-third of the embarkation levy would continue to be passed down to the different state institutions.Tourism Minister John Amaratunga told the Business Times they would have to be careful of their promotional spending since the withdrawal of the [...]

Sri Lanka’s controversial CB bond issue to come up under COPE scrutiny

Sri Lanka’s controversial Central Bank bond issue is likely to come up under the investigation of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) again, official sources revealed.COPE headed by JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti has to take a decision on the re-opening of the probe into bond issue publish a report and take appropriate action against those [...]

Private sector trade union protest on December 19

Trade unions representing private sector employees and estate workers have planned to go for a joint protest against the government’s proposal to implement proposed labour law reforms as stated in Budget 2016.Free Trade Zone and General Services Employees’ Union Convener and General Secretary Anton Marcus told the Business Times that they would be launching a [...]

Sri Lanka to face milk powder shortage soon

Sri Lanka is on the verge of facing a severe shortage of milk powder as local importers have been struggling for their survival due to heavy taxes and depreciation of the rupee.There could be a milk powder shortage in the country in February and March next year if the government does not bring down taxes, [...]

Brokers ‘jittery’ with high profile arrests

Now that the Financial Crimes Investigation Division has made sure some high profile offenders of the stock market are being prosecuted, other stock holders in the industry are getting jittery, according to sources. In particular the stockbrokers are worried, according to them. “Some of them are ‘clearly’ guilty of certain irregularities, especially of insider trading [...]

What the 2016 budget means for land rights

What the 2016 budget means for land rights

Budget speeches are politically significant not only for the specific proposals and policies they spell out but also for what they reveal about their authors. Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s mega-speech is rich in both respects, especially given an elaborate first part that is quite revealing of the ruling dispensation’s ideological orientation. Perhaps what is most [...]

Amalgamation of EPF and ETF: Points to ponder

The recently announced proposal to amalgamate the Employees’ Provident Fund ( EPF) and the Employees’ Trust Fund ( ETF )has stirred a hornet’s nest. It is a popular topic of discussion too, particularly among beneficiaries (members) of EPF and ETF. However it is appalling to find that most people who have an opinion on the [...]

Rescuing the Sri Lankan economy

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced a government move that many economists have been urging – for Sri Lanka to seek a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).Strapped for cash and rather than going for expensive bond issues which are rolled over with fresh ones to pay off investors when one [...]

Astoria construction on target to completion by 2017

Astoria construction on target to completion by 2017

Sri Lanka’s newest super-luxury condominium project, the Astoria, is well on target to reach completion by 2017 with construction already having crossed the third floor according to developers, AVIC International. “Construction has already gone past the third floor and we are confident that the remaining work will go ahead as planned. We are very pleased [...]

Issuing vehicle permits to state sector comes under fire of industry players

Issuing vehicle permits to state sector employees is the ‘worst’ thing along with changing the goal posts frequently for industry players, a top official says. “Pay the government sector well. (A Doctor Rs. 300,000 to 400,000 as salary) The ‘worst’ is to issue permits,” Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman Diesel and Motor Engineering (DIMO) PLC told the [...]

Dialog unveils its cloud service offering ‘Cumulus’

Dialog Axiata PLC announced the launch of Cumulus, its cloud services portfolio last Wednesday, establishing the nation’s leading business solutions hub focused on delivering agility and innovation, a media release issued by the company said. Designed to meet the business imperatives of speed to market, cost efficiency, agility and innovation, Cumulus brings together the knowledge [...]

SriLankan Airlines bags Best Full Service Airline in Central and South Asia

SriLankan Airlines was recognised as one of Asia’s finest carriers when it was named Best Full Service Airline in the Central and South Asian region at the Future Travel Experience Asia Awards 2015 in Singapore recently, the airline said in a media release. SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajith Dias said: “The new management of SriLankan Airlines [...]

Sri Lanka’s casinos crumble under new taxes

Sri Lanka’s casinos crumble under new taxes

Sri Lankan casino owners, first battling anti-casino sentiments from the powerful Buddhist clergy and now unbearable taxes, are seriously considering closing down their business, the Business Times learns from reliable sources.The only two top-end billionaire casino operators are Dhammika Perera’s (Ballagio/Ballys ) and Ravi Wijeratne’s (Stardust/Marina casinos). Mr. Perera’s casino MGM Grand at Bambalapitiya was [...]

State rescue of failed companies is weak form of insurance

State rescue of failed companies is weak form of insurance

Vagaries in the weather patterns in Sri Lanka drastically affect rural farmers who seek crop insurance protection against losses, says Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne.He was addressing the inaugural day of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation symposium for Amana Takaful in Colombo. He said one longstanding major problem in the [...]

IronOne’s BoardPAC stars at South African Corporate Governance Conference

IronOne’s BoardPAC stars at South African Corporate Governance Conference

BoardPAC, the Sri Lanka developed breakthrough iPad-enabled board meeting automation solution, has caught the attention of leading companies in South Africa, after it was presented at the recent Corporate Governance Conference of Chartered Secretaries Soth Africa (CSSA) by developer IronOne Technologies, a leading Sri Lankan mobile and enterprise services software solutions provider, a media release [...]

Governance activist Vignarajah critical of delisting process

Stockmarket governance activist K.C. Vignarajah has raised many issues relating to the delisting process in the market.He says areas that need to be investigated are breach of trust, Related Party Transactions (RPT) and Conflict of Interest (COI). In a statement to the media, Mr. Vignarajah – who has been crusading for rights and honesty in [...]

Janashakthi offers unique policy for people with HIV

Janashakthi Insurance, in a breakthrough move in the life insurance sector, has extended life cover to those diagnosed with HIV. This is a unique new policy that will change the lives of many people and give them peace of mind. Over 3300 people were living with HIV by the end of 2014, according to estimated [...]

MillenniumIT launches Sri Lanka’s first privately held Tier 3 Data Centre

MillenniumIT, a leading financial software and technology solutions provider and member of London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG), has become Sri Lanka’s first private company to upgrade to a Tier 3 data centre. The new data centre offers state-of-the-art technology and adheres to the Uptime Institute’s Tier 3 data centre build standards, including equipment that is [...]

Mulberry Residence–to transform the skylines of Colombo

Steradian Capital, a privately owned, real estate development and consultancy business, last week unveiled its plans for an affordable apartment complex, at a ceremony in Colombo.Located in Colombo 9, Mulberry Residence, is the latest housing complex that is set to transform simplicity into quality and sustainability. Consisting of three towers, each over 15 floors, the [...]

Colombo Crimes Division raids Unity Plaza computer dealers to seize pirated software

Colombo Crimes Division raids Unity Plaza computer dealers to seize  pirated software

Computer dealers at Unity Plaza, Bambalapitiya were caught by Law Enforcement Officers from the Colombo Crimes Division (“CCD”) for selling notebook computers (or PCs) installed with suspected pirated software to innocent and unsuspecting consumers.The raids were carried out under the direction of DIG Colombo Gamini Mathurata; Director CCDASP Nuwan Vedasingha and Chief Inspector of CCD [...]

A Bill for Agency for Development to be passed in Parliament in two weeks

A bill to establish the Agency for Development, an apex body expected to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment is being readied to be passed in Parliament, officials said.This is an apex body which will act as a catalyst to fast track areas in tourism, exports and investments, they added. “A committee headed by Minister of International [...]

Sri Lanka alcoholic beverage demand sustainable despite higher prices – Fitch Report

Makers of alcoholic beverages in Sri Lanka will be able to pass on back-to-back increases in excise duties to consumers without worrying about them shifting to the more affordable illicit market, Fitch Ratings says in a news report.”Rising disposable income will absorb the higher duties, and the inelastic demand and increased consumer demand for refined [...]

Seminar on “Facts about the use of Asbestos” bewildered the audience

The seminar on “Facts about the use of Asbestos – Chrysotile Cement Roofing” organised by the Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI) in Colombo last week has bewildered the audience when Legal Adviser, International Chrysotile Association (ICA) Emiliano Alonso was making a presentation on Asbestos claiming that he is not a scientist. Although Mr. Alonso was [...]

Private security agencies important for public security, says Defence Secretary

The 11th Annual General Meeting of SLASSPA (Sri Lanka Security Service Provider Association), under the theme “Thinking beyond Borders” was held recently in Colombo under the patronage of Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi, Secretary, Ministry of Defence.Delivering the welcome address, Major Tissa Aluwihare, President of SLASSPA, said that the presence of Mr. Hettiarachchi was a great boost [...]

Emirates to get 36 new aircraft, retires 26 planes in 2016

Emirates is to take delivery of 36 new aircraft and retire 26 under the airline’s fleet in 2016, the airline announced this week. Currently, the total number of aircraft in the Emirates fleet stands at 244.The new aircraft joining the fleet in 2016 include 20 A380s and 16 Boeing 777-300ERs. These two aircraft types are [...]

Sri Lanka’s newest luxury condo coming up at Gregory’s Road

The Blue Ocean Group of Companies last Sunday unveiled its 14th and newest flagship project – Blue Ocean at Gregory’s Road, which it said heralded a new era to Sri Lanka’s vibrant construction industry. Blue Ocean Group is an international conglomerate involved in real estate and construction, education, corporate consultancy, trading, electrical and engineering consultancy [...]

Ceylinco Life assists hospital and school in Trincomalee

Ceylinco Life is assisting the people of Trincomalee with two community initiatives in the spheres of healthcare and education.Coinciding with the opening of a new custom-designed, four-storey eco-friendly office building in the town, the company in a media release said it donated a sophisticated portable ventilator to the Trincomalee General Hospital, and built a classroom [...]

TPG Growth acquires Actis’ 28% in Asiri Hospitals Group

TPG Growth, the middle market and growth-equity investment platform of leading global private investment firm TPG acquired a 28per cent stake in Asiri Hospital Holdings (Asiri) from Actis, a leading emerging markets private equity investor, a media release said. TPG growth paid Rs. 7.6 billion to buy 317 million shares of Asiri.This has came on [...]

CBL wins 5 awards at Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2015

CBL wins 5 awards at  Best Corporate Citizen  Sustainability Awards 2015

The Ceylon Biscuits Ltd (CBL) was recognized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) as one of the top ten corporate citizens for the eighth time in the country at the recently concluded ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2015,’ walking away with five accolades, a media release stated. CBL also received the award for Winner [...]

Premachandra appointed MD of Sri Lanka Ports Authority

A former Sri Lanka Ports Authority ( SLPA) official, Sarathkumara Premachandra has been appointed as the Managing Director of SLPA (SLPA). The official appointment was handed over to Mr. Premachandra by Minister of Port and Shipping Arjuna Ranatunga last week, the authority said in a media release.Mr. Premachandra was at one time SLPA’s Chief Operations [...]

South Asia Textile Industries Lanka joins with IFS for major IT expansion

South Asia Textile Industries Lanka , an ultra-modern manufacturing plant producing weft knitted fabric is on a capacity expansion programme of Rs. 1 billion and, has invested in an ERP solution in collaboration with IFS Application, a media release said.“Under the capacity enhancement programme, we are acquiring state-of-the-art machinery for our production activities and with [...]

An appeal to Yahapalana Govt to refrain from burdening the poor middle class

The government indirectly increases the licence fee by imposing an additional emission levy. (Sunday Times BT- Motoring section of 6-12-2015) The article further says “ the proposed levy of Rs. 5000/- should be paid to the respective D.S and not to the VET centre. “Does this mean that we have to pay for the emission [...]

Aitken Spence Travels hosts President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association to Sri Lanka

Jean Abboud, President of the Lebanese Travel Agents Association, along with a group of high profile Lebanese tour agents visited Sri Lanka recently, hosted by Aitken Spence Travels. The group’s main objective was to update themselves about the destination and explore possibilities of developing new tours based on their 14-year relationship with the company. ”As [...]

HDFC Bank promotes CB’s refinance schemes

The Matara branch of HDFC Bank under the guidance of the Southern regional office of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CB) recently organised a ‘credit camp’ to offer loans to the beneficiaries under “Saubhagya” and Commercial Scale Dairy Development Loan Scheme introduced by the CB. The programme was organised with an aim to provide [...]

Sri Lankan indigenous medicinal product firm introduces Sugar Burner Tea

Deegayu Ayurvedic and Botanical Products (Pvt.) Ltd., one of Sri Lanka’s Ayurveda pharmaceuticals and Ayurveda product firm, recently launched its latest invention, “Nimadhura Sugar Burner Tea”. Deegayu Nimadhura is a 100 per cent natural, Ayurveda product, formulated by blending standardised extracts of natural herbs, in compliance with authentic Ayurveda principals, and guidelines issued by the [...]

IMF Executive Board suggests Sri Lanka to tighten fiscal policies

Sri Lanka faces a policy challenge to reduce external vulnerabilities and address the deterioration in the balance of payments. Tighter fiscal and monetary policies could help restrict aggregate demand, contain the recent sharp rise in imports, and strenthen the externalbalance,International Monitoring Fund(IMF) executive board revealed in its assessment after its conclusion of fourth post-program monitoring [...]

Out with 2015, in with 2016: The changing face of technology

Out  with 2015, in with 2016:  The changing face of technology

Considering the unyielding forward march of technology, techKNOW would like to take this opportunity to, instead of providing a year-end wrap-up of old news, some up forecasts of technology and trends that have not just survived into 2016 that will likely thrive in the new year. The first step in looking at these trends is [...]

Every citizen to have a Personal Health Number

Every citizen to have a Personal Health Number

In the past nine months, I have written several columns in the Business Times on various aspects of eHealth and ICT implementation in Sri Lanka. Some of them have been descriptions of what is going on in the country and others, like the column in August,proposed a change to the status quo and a new [...]

Security predictions for 2016

Security predictions for 2016

Computing has increasingly become pervasive and enhanced almost all aspects of personal life and business. This has created more opportunities for innovation and introduced more vulnerability. Technologies such as sight, sound, and touch have enabled users to experience the world differently and interact with it and with each other in new ways. Everyday objects such [...]

Design and Manufacturing for sustainable economic growth

The performance of the design and manufacturing sector of a country decides the rate of its development and quality of living standard. Consider a developed country such as Germany that has a strong design and manufacturing sector where its economic growh is not only notable but also guaranteed. Thus, encouragement towards design and manufacturing initiatives [...]

Aitken Spence Travels hosts Top Travel agents from Egypt

Aitken Spence Travels hosts  Top Travel agents from Egypt

Top travel agents from Egypt were hosted in Sri Lanka by Aitken Spence Travels for a five-day educational tour in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Cairo and airline partner Emirates Airlines recently. The objective of the familiarization visit was to give them a first-hand experience of the product on offer and ensure that [...]

An Indian corporate leader spellbound local audience highlighting ethical issues

The guest speaker at the Sri Lanka Chartered Financial Analyst’s (CFA) awards ceremony held in Colombo recently was R. Gopalakrisnan, an author, an orator and a corporate leader who worked at the helm of many multinational companies such as Unilever , Tata, Brooke Bond Lipton , Hindustan Lever both in India and abroad for 31 [...]

Many local firms make deals for divestitures, acquisitions in the short run

Many local firms are consolidating their positions in their core areas or expanding into high-growth areas, showing large potential for growth in the Sri Lankan market, making way for divestitures and acquisitions in the short term, analysts said. Firms like Hemas divesting their non-core garment business, Hela Clothing to former MAS Holdings director Dian Gomes [...]

Hard to combat counterfeit business becomes global concern

Multinationals today are striving to protect Intellectual Property Rights as it has been found that for every genuine brand in the world, there is a fake, counterfeit or substandard product manufactured somewhere by someone. This was highlighted at the recently held media briefing by the American Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka (AMCHAM) aimed at [...]

SLIC’s MD post scrapped; Hemaka appointed Ex: Chairman Bangsa to Lotteries Board

The Managing Director’s (MD) position at the state-owned Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation Ltd (SLIC) has been scrapped following the tug of war by two directors with Hemaka Amarasuriya’s designation changed from non Executive to Executive Chairman as per instructions by the ‘highest authorities’. One warring official will be transferred to the Development Lotteries Board, officials [...]

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