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Tax on pavement hawkers on the cards

Tax on pavement  hawkers on the cards

Sri Lankan pavement hawkers, on one hand a menace to pedestrians while on the other a crucial vote base for politicians, are to be provided legitimacy by making them taxpayers.  The proposed tax is aimed at making them contribute towards the economic development of the country, reducing the number of street vendors, maintaining cleanliness in [...]

Govt. – Airbus in talks to cancel SriLankan orders

In a bid to avoid future losses at the cash-strapped national carrier, the government has ‘laid-off’ one of the eight aircraft ordered from Airbus with three more tipped to be cancelled.  SriLankan Airlines had ordered eight A350-900 wide bodied aircraft with a flying time that could go upto 19 hours, which the government has shot [...]

President directs sale of three state hotels

President Maithripala Sirisena has requested the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development to issue bids for sale of three state-owned hotels to attract potential investors.  The three hotels are the Hilton, the proposed Grand Hyatt and Grand Oriental. “We’re gauging on how to maximise the value of these,” a source told the Business Times adding that [...]

S’pore hospital chain interested in Lanka Hospitals

A Singapore hospital chain has shown interest in a majority stake in Lanka Hospitals Corporation PLC (LHCL), should the government decide to divest these shares, officials said.  ”This is a renowned chain and they want controlling ownership in LHCL,” an official told the Business Times. He said that a powerful state minister is negotiating this [...]

CB woos fund managers in S’pore

The Central Bank (CB) is wooing foreign funds for Sri Lankan sovereign bonds, CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran said.  He told the Business Times that during visit to Singapore last Monday, he had met with some existing fund managers and rating agency officials in this regard. Some local fund managers told the Business Times that PIMCO [...]

Elkaduwa Plantations reeks of malpractices, mismanagement

Elkaduwa Plantations reeks of malpractices, mismanagement

State-owned Regional Plantation Company (RPC) Elkaduwa Plantations that has wreaked havoc with numerous alleged malpractices and mismanagement is currently on a restructuring drive following the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) calling for a full report on the issues. Disciplinary action has also been taken against several of its staff amidst litigation over money owed by [...]

Start-ups, the new generation

In the good old days, most budding entrepreneurs didn’t have the foggiest idea on how to transform an idea or innovation into a successful business. They had a plan but often the struggle to set up took months, even years.  Times have changed, drastically. In today’s world of business, new groups are emerging and one [...]

RPCs to change model to out-grower system, says Minister

Plantations Minister Navin Dissanayaka said last week that the industry has reached a consensus on establishing the out-grower model, currently being used by smallholders, for Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs).  The minister explained that the tea industry had reached an agreement to change the structure on the RPC plantations and they were in unison for the [...]

“CICT invests $10 mln in green port concept”

In the story that appeared on Page 7 last week headlined “CICT invests US$10 m in green port concept,” acronyms CICT and CMHI stand for have been incorrectly reported.  CICT stands for Colombo International Container Terminals and CMHI is China Merchants Holdings (International) Company Ltd.

Dialog TV introduces new pay-per-view Sri Lankan cinema product

Dialog Television on Thursday launched of its pay-per-view home theater innovation aimed at providing Sri Lankan movie and theatre producers with a platform to reach over 700,000 Sri Lankan homes.  Branded as the 7th Circuit, Dialog Television’s latest channel will carry pre-cinema movie premiers to homes across Sri Lanka based on a pay–per–view model. The [...]

SL packaging industry continues to urge government to withdraw proposed ban on polythene use

If you were a visitor to the 16th Lanka Pak Exhibition held for three days last week at the BMICH, you would have noticed near the entrance a stall run by the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) promoting nanotechnology for packaging applications.  While the Sri Lanka packaging industry is grappling with a problem of [...]

Petroleum Ministry orders crackdown on errant lubricant players

The Ministry of Petroleum Industries at a recent meeting held with firms in the lubricant sector has come out with some key decisions involving cracking down on illegal operations in the industry, sources said.  Some 11 industry players had met with the Minister of Petroleum Industries, Chandima Weerakkody who had made a decision to halt [...]

BOC, nurturing SMEs for nation’s prosperity

BOC, nurturing SMEs for nation’s prosperity

To Wijayantha Rangajeewa, the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) is more than just a bank , it is a part of his family. Having assisted him with the setting up and subsequent exponential growth of his ornamental fish export business, the owner of the aquarium counts the BOC among his biggest fans and staunchest supporters, a [...]

AMW discusses vehicle buying in Sri Lanka

Vehicle buyers in Sri Lanka are faced with a choice. Do they purchase a brand new export model or an unregistered vehicle meant for the Japanese domestic market? Associated Motorways (AMW) is setting the record straight and in a media release, General Manager of Nissan, AMW Rajith De Silva explains that AMW is the only [...]

Sri Lanka Govt. urged to resort to consistent policies

Sri Lanka’s main business chamber on Monday urged the government to resort to consistent policies to build investor confidence.  “Consistency in policy should be a top priority of the government in order to build confidence and boost private sector investment,” members of the main Committee of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) said in a [...]

Every corporate company should try things differently, says logistics management expert

Around the world corporates are doing business the same way as most other corporates have been doing all these years. But there are companies that have come up with unique ideas and technologies in the challenging and competitive world. Every corporate company should try things differently and come up with distinctive concepts to provide best [...]

Cinnamon Air now flies to Hambantota

Cinnamon Air, Sri Lanka’s premier domestic airline, now offers daily scheduled flights to Hambantota (Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport) from Colombo’s Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Cinnamon Air’s secondary hub, Kandy.  Since inception in December 2013, Cinnamon Air has been progressively expanding its coverage through scheduled services to additional destinations around the country. Hambantota and its [...]

Draft National Audit Bill must be placed before public – AHRC

A National Audit Bill has been drafted in Sri Lanka regarding the post of the Auditor General following basic international principles that need to be adhered to in ensuring an independently functioning Auditor General’s Office.  These principles have been incorporated into the National Audit Bill of Sri Lanka where the process has taken 14 years [...]

Moratuwa undergrads develop novel flexible robotic arm

Moratuwa undergrads develop novel flexible robotic arm

Three final year students of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Moratuwa have developed a novel biomimetic flexible robot arm. This robot arm differs from traditional robot arms by being flexible instead of being rigid.  Traditional robot arms are normally associated with large production factories with ample room for manoeuvring of their [...]

More than 600 global policymakers, businesspersons due here for global export parley in Oct.

The World Export Development Forum (WEDF) 2016 to be held in Colombo will thrust Sri Lanka on the global stage.  The government’s priority is to build a framework for exports by establishing one stop shops to speed up processes and procedures. “We are receiving the World Bank’s assistance in this regard. The Economic and Technological [...]

Waves casual footwear now in the Maldives

Waves, a revolutionary footwear brand in Sri Lanka, has plans to take their products global by having entered the Maldives. In a media release this week, the company said its flip-flops are considered a fashion statement and are now available at main resorts in Male. Plans are also underway to take Waves to other global [...]

Arden Institute appointed as top American Hospitality Institute’s academic partner in Sri Lanka

Arden Institute appointed as top American Hospitality Institute’s academic partner in Sri Lanka

Arden Institute, Sri Lanka’s leading school of personal and professional development, has been appointed as the global academic partner of American Hospitality and Lodging Educational Institute – AHLEI, in Sri Lanka.  Founded by renowned personality development and professional training guru – Nedra Wickremesinghe, Executive Director, Arden Institute, the school benefits from a wealth of experience [...]

Visa opens its first Innovation Centre in Asia

Visa Inc. this week announced the opening of its Singapore innovation centre, the first in a network of new innovation centres that Visa is opening around the world.  The new 7,000 square foot facility in Singapore has been established as a destination for clients, partners and developers across the region to work alongside Visa experts [...]

HSBC migrating to Mastercard from Visa

HSBC is migrating its corporate card portfolio from Visa to MasterCard as part of a global approach to have a standardised card offer across markets. Responding to complaints from some Sri Lankan customers, a HSBC spokesperson in Colombo said that the new MasterCard platform will provide enhanced functionality and provide more control and governance to [...]

Hayleys expands in tourism here and abroad

Hayleys PLC has set its sights on more expansions in its tourism footprint locally as well as overseas.  Officials said that negotiations are on with local parties to buy luxury properties and a foreign resort by the conglomerate which is the third largest resort operator in the country.  According to them, Hayleys has ongoing negotiations [...]

CSE Chairman Chairs 4th SAFE Executive Committee Board Meeting in Mumbai

CSE Chairman Chairs 4th SAFE Executive Committee Board Meeting in Mumbai

Vajira Kulatilaka, Chairman of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), in his capacity as the Chairman of the South Asian Federation of Exchanges (SAFE) recently chaired the 4th SAFE Executive Committee Board Meeting and Ideas Workshop held in Mumbai.  Leaders representing capital markets across South Asia were present at the event to discuss the vision and [...]

Singer sells most ‘fridges’ in company’s history last month

Singer sells most ‘fridges’ in company’s history last month

The Singer Sri Lanka Group, which posted group revenue of Rs. 10.6 billion in the first quarter of 2016 representing a growth of 23 per cent per cent has sold the highest amount of refrigerators in its history in April through Singer PLC, officials said.  ”Our refrigeration campaign for ‘Gas R600 A’ type which is [...]

Union Bank sets its sights on enhancing customer propositions

Union Bank of Colombo PLC (Union) has set its sights on enhancing customer propositions along with alternate channels to aid its branch expansion.  ”In this regard we rolled out an offsite ATM and digital banking strategy,” Indrajit Wickramasinghe, CEO Union told the Business Times.  The bank’s post tax profit for the quarter is Rs. 80.4 [...]

Chevron plans increased volumes to B’desh

Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC has plans to increase its volumes to Bangladesh, officials said.  ”We aim to increase our share in Bangladesh,” Kishu Gomes, Chairman Chevron told the Business Times.  During 1Q16 the company’s revenue expanded by 11 per cent year on year (yoy) to reach Rs. 3.1 billion from 2.8 billion. “This was primarily [...]

Bangladesh Bank remains compromised months after heist-forensics report

DHAKA, Reuters, May 13 – Three hacking groups “are still lurking” in the network of Bangladesh’s central bank, putting the bank at risk of further attacks about three months after it lost $81 million in a cyber-heist, according to a report by U.S. computer security firms investigating the theft.  “There are some residual risks that [...]

Pan Asia Bank to get a new chairman

The Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC (PABC), which has posted a Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 304 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2016 (1Q’16) recording a 72 per cent growth from the same quarter last year is to get a new chairman at the end of this year, Central Bank officials said. [...]

Piramal Glass on trial runs for dual furnace firing to beat high fuel cost

Piramal Glass Ceylon PLC (PGC) is carrying out trials for dual furnace firing in its glass-making factories in an attempt to beat the high cost of furnace oil, officials say.  Having recorded its highest ever turnover this year of Rs. 6,755 million and a profit after tax (PAT) of Rs. 654 million for the year [...]

Sri Lanka embarks on new development strategy and matrix

The government, in another economic recovery milestone of Sri Lanka, is set to devise a 4-year master plan on a new development strategy and development matrix that will see the country revamp and rejuvenate nine key sectors, official sources said.  These sectors are tourism, digital economy, mega-polis development, Kandy city development, public private partnership for [...]

Seminar on “proper laying of concrete floor”

Seminar on  “proper laying of concrete floor”

A specialized seminar on concrete floors’ preparation will be held in Colombo on May 31 organised by Concrete Floors Asia (CFA).  CFA is a consortium of companies whose objectives are to bring new information and expertise to organizations that are involved in the design, construction and delivery process of concrete floors as well as owners [...]

Stay order on Entrust case

The National Savings Bank (NSB), which is temporarily managing the failed Entrust Ltd and Entrust Securities on state orders, has secured a stay order from the Colombo High Court against a case in the Colombo Magistrate’s Court pertaining to Entrust.  In that case which has been ‘stayed’ till June 16, a depositor had filed action [...]

Ambitious goal of a million start-ups in Sri Lanka by year 2022

Ambitious goal of a million start-ups in Sri Lanka by year 2022

Start-ups in Sri Lanka are gaining in popularity due to the efforts of investors who have banded together to support entrepreneurs in the targeted fields that are needed for Sri Lanka. One such group of investors is Lankan Angel Networks (LAN), comprising individual investors, venture capitalists and angel investors. In an interview with the Business [...]

Start-ups in Sri Lanka; the long journey ahead

Start-ups in Sri Lanka; the long journey ahead

Start-ups have become a buzzword in Sri Lanka. Most people have heard it, but many people don’t really know what they are, or how start-ups contribute to the overall economy. A start-up is essentially a new business usually very much tech driven and most importantly has the ability to ‘scale’ in a relatively short amount [...]

Essence of Sri Lanka captured by Saraii

Essence of Sri Lanka  captured by Saraii

HAMBANTOTA – Unlike Elizabeth, who went up a tree in Kenya a Princess and came down a Queen back in 1952, I stumbled down the tree house at Saraii Village in Weerawila still very much a commoner last month.  Yes, I had an encounter with a frog in the loo of the tree house, but [...]

Food and a sweet tooth key to Yamu’s success

Food and a sweet tooth key to Yamu’s success

A yummy mouthful of chocolate biscuit pudding is everyone’s delight, yet it caught YAMU co-founder Indi Samarajiwa by surprise when a suggestion by a co-worker that a good way to boost ‘hits’ on the website would be to carry a video-recipe showing how the dessert is made. “It’s crazy. A simple pudding like that getting [...]

A new series …

This is a new section in the Business Times on ‘Start-ups’, a new breed of entrepreneurship that is gaining ground in Sri Lanka and across the world. Any queries on these pages should be sent to


News in the global start-ups’ industry has been full of news of reduced perks, reduced valuations and all-out collapse. Ping Pong valuations Twitter recently reported weak revenue growth, but keen observers could have seen warning signs in late 2014 – when they stopped ordering ping-pong tables. The Wall Street Journal reported that sales of ping-pong [...]

Releasing information on bond issues tantamount to endangering Lanka’s economy, CB says

The Central Bank (CB), despite pressure mounting on allegation of insider trading in Treasury bonds, has refused to release information on recent bond issues as it is bound by secrecy provisions.  The request for access to information under the Constitution and the proposed Right to Information (RTI) bill was made by good governance activist Chandra [...]

Chinese Digital Marketing Experts at Cinnamon Travel Bloggers Conference

Sri Lanka’s Cinnamon Travel Bloggers’ conference (TBC Asia) on June 7 at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo will see a series of presentations delivered by global experts on multiple topics ranging from developing corporate content and how bloggers can help, the takeover of video blogging, effectively reaching out to the Asian millennials and many others.  Amongst [...]

Elephants aside, Sri Lanka well-placed to become trading hub

With preferential access to a market of over three billion people in the future, Sri Lanka is well-positioned geographically for foreign investors to piggy-back on, according to deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha De Silva addressing the Sri Lanka-Austria Economic Forum this week. Geography seems to be Dr. De Silva’s forte, even though he [...] launches E-Commerce Tool ‘Grasshoppers’ launches E-Commerce Tool ‘Grasshoppers’

The e-commerce tool Grasshoppers launched by is intended to revolutionise the ‘dispatch rider network’ in Sri Lanka and is aiming to be the chosen partner for leading brands and rising local businesses.  Still being piloted with a few handpicked partners in Colombo and Kurunegala, Grasshoppers is an emerging extended arm of e-commerce operations of [...]

Airlines significantly improve baggage handling in 2015

The global airline industry’s focus on improving baggage management is showing strong results with 2015 baggage mishandling rates dropping to their lowest ever. According to the SITA Baggage Report 2016, released last week, the rate of mishandled bags was 6.5 bags per thousand passengers in 2015, down 10.5 per cent from the previous year, less [...]

Top German business delegation visiting Colombo this week

Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy will visit Sri Lanka from May 15 – 17 accompanied by a large business delegation.  This is a follow up to the visit of President Maithripala Sirisena to Berlin in February this year. The growing political and business relations between [...]

8th Sri Lanka Islamic Banking and Finance Conference on May 17

The 8th Sri Lanka Islamic Banking & Finance (SLIBI) Conference to be held on Tuesday, May 17 is expected to cover new ground and from a fresh perspective.  UTO EduConsult (Pvt) Ltd, the organisers, said the event at the Ramada Colombo Hotel will see new players discussing contemporary issues with some of the veterans of [...]

Nominations called for 7-week Eisenhower US Fellowships 2017

Sri Lanka is among 20-25 countries chosen to select nominees for next year’s prestigious Eisenhower Fellowships where successful candidates under the Multi-Nation Program (MNP) are provided an intensive seven-week fellowship experience.  The Eisenhower Fellowships Association of Sri Lanka said in a media notice that it has been requested to shortlist two nominees from Sri Lanka, [...]

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