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Future of tourism

Future of tourism

A young staff member from a hotel in Jaffna lights an oil lamp at a stall at the ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ (tourism trade fair) at the BMICH on Friday. On the same day, Sri Lanka also marked 50 years of tourism with several events. Pic by Amila Gamage

Sri Lanka’s Agency for Development gets off the ground soon

The much-awaited Sri Lanka’s Agency for Development is to be established within the next two months to fast-track, streamline and attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), official sources disclosed.  The Development Special Provisions Bill which provides provisions to set up this agency will be presented in parliament soon.  This agency has a specific task of attracting [...]

NITF steps in to rescue disaster victims from cash and property ruin

Thousands of flood victims whose homes and businesses were ravaged in the floods and slides will be rescued from cash and property ruin through the rapid response of Sri Lanka’s sole re-insurance agency, the National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF).  National Natural Disaster and Emergency Relief Insurance scheme launched in April this year has given the [...]

CB plans to launch Panda bonds

The Central Bank (CB) has requested permission from China to issue Chinese Yuan denominated bonds or Panda bonds in a bid to attract Chinese investors, officials said.  A Panda bond is a Chinese renminbi-denominated bond from a non-Chinese issuer, sold in China. The first two Panda bonds were issued in October 2005 on the same [...]

CB comes under barrage of criticism over failing finance companies

The Central Bank (CB)’s handling of failing finance companies came in for heavy criticism at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) recently.  This matter was raised during the discussion on ways and means to establish the Finance Institution Restructuring Agency (FIRA) in accordance with the 2016 budget proposal, official sources revealed [...]

KMPG to assist NSB in SriLankan Airlines restructure

In the quest to find a strategic partner for SriLankan Airlines which has become a heavy financial burden to the country, the government has selected audit firm KMPG to expedite the re-orientation process, officials said.  KMPG will assist the National Savings Bank (NSB) the lead manager appointed by the cabinet, in finding an international investment [...]

Pains of labour in the Post-Civil War Development in Jaffna

Pains of labour in the Post-Civil War Development in Jaffna

The welfare of working people is sine qua non for economic and social development of societies. More than a quarter century of civil war in Jaffna (1983-2009) has destroyed several institutions that are the lifeblood of economic and social well-being of democratic societies. The vanguard institutions of labour such as collective bargaining through labour associations/unions, [...]

Innovative Sri Lanka

Away from the floods and mounting post-flood work, the government’s attention was drawn this week to a conference put together by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on sustainable development through ‘foresight and innovation’.  The UNDP-led meeting brought some ministries and the private sector together to chart an innovative course for Sri Lanka’s vision to [...]

Edoardo Giuntoli appointed as GM of AVANI Kalutara Resort and Anantara Kalutara Resort

Edoardo Giuntoli appointed as  GM of AVANI Kalutara Resort and  Anantara Kalutara Resort

Serendib Leisure Management Ltd (SLML), a leading hospitality management company and a subsidiary of Hemas Holdings PLC, has appointed Edoardo Giuntoli as the cluster General Manager of AVANI Kalutara Resort and Anantara Kalutara Resort scheduled to open on 1st July 2016. With the recent launch of Anantara Peace Haven Tangalle Resort (December 2015) and with [...]

Land Ministry to digitise land bank

Land being the costliest asset in realty has often been at the epicentre of land fights, property crimes and frauds.  Sri Lanka’s Land Ministry now is mulling to digitise its land bank in a bid to curb these issues, a top minister said.  ”There’s a proposal to digitise all lands,” John Amaratunga, Minister of Lands [...]

Ceylon Shipping Corp secures full-term Certificates for “MV. Ceylon Breeze” from DNV GL

DNV GL, a leading classification society with 150 years long tradition in maritime industry and presence in over 100 countries, has added to its registry as of March 2016 a new vessel built for Ceylon Shipping Corporation (CSC).  Bulk carrier “Ceylon Breeze” built at the AVIC Weihai Shipyard Co, Ltd China will be flying the [...]

Sri Lanka implements 2-pronged strategy for economic prosperity and innovation

Sri Lanka implements 2-pronged  strategy for economic  prosperity and innovation

Sri Lanka is to implement a twin strategy based on reconciliation and strengthening democracy to achieve economic prosperity and innovation as it has to catch up several lost opportunities in the past.  This was disclosed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who participated in a panel discussion at, the 2-day National Summit on Foresight and Innovation [...]

UNDP to develop ‘outcome document’ for their development planning for the 2030 agenda

UNDP to develop ‘outcome document’ for their development planning for the 2030 agenda

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Colombo office will prepare the recommendations and outcome of this week’s National Summit on Foresight and Innovation for Sustainable Human Development in Sri Lanka to be used as a guide for long-term planning, according to UNDP Sri Lanka Resident Representative, Peter Batchelor.  He told the Business Times on the [...]

‘Politicians should, stay away from complex policy-making’: Leave that to the experts- Harsha

Sri Lankan technocrats -not government ministers and politicians – should be authorised to decide on policy matters that need complex technical solutions.  This was the view of Harsha De Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, during a summing-up session of the National Summit on Innovation in Colombo on Wednesday.  “The Prime Minister is serious about [...]

Complex financial transactions important for SL, says LSE

International markets infrastructure provider London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group said that Colombo had to compete with other regional countries to shift part of LSE’s technology and business functions to Sri Lanka.  The London Stock Exchange Business Services Colombo Ltd has now already hired 60 highly skilled staff and is aiming to up this to 400. [...]

JAT Holdings new corporate identity and positioning courtesy Michel Nugawela Designs

JAT Holdings new  corporate identity and positioning courtesy Michel Nugawela Designs

Michel Nugawela Designs has developed and created the new corporate identity and positioning for JAT Holdings.  JAT Holdings, established in 1993 to provide paints, coatings and related products to industrial and retail customers in the building and construction industry, has over the past 23 years grown its portfolio to include global brand leaders such as [...]

“Registrar of Companies’ deplorable service to the public”

The Registrar General of Companies, D.N.R. Siriwardena has sent the following response to a letter published in the Business Times on April 17 under the above heading:  “There are more than 600 documents submitted with the Department per day. After submission of the above documents, complete and accurate documents are registered and certified copies will [...]

Government to impose upper cap on bank leasing for vehicles

Commercial banks will continue to enjoy the leasing facility for vehicles, overturning a ban in the 2016 Budget, but would be restricted to accommodate requests for Rs. 5 million and above .  The Treasury will be withdrawing the 2016 budget proposal of completely halting banks from engaging in leasing business on the directions of Finance [...]

‘Micro Cars’ together with Chinese ‘Yutong’ offers modern bus servicing facilities

‘Micro Cars’ together with Chinese ‘Yutong’ offers modern bus servicing facilities

Micro Cars Ltd together with Chinese Yutong Bus company, an international seller of luxury buses, is now offering modern bus servicing facilities at its newly opened state-of-the-art servicing facility at Wedamulla, Kelaniya.  The new bus servicing centre provides value-added service, high quality workmanship and modern technology transfer to the people of Sri Lanka, General Manager, [...]

TVS introduces Sri Lanka’s first 2-door 3-wheeler

TVS introduces Sri Lanka’s  first 2-door 3-wheeler

“TVS”, an Indian automobile brand, has introduced its fifth innovation to the local market in the form of a 2Door, Three-wheeler.  This is the first of this type to hit the local roads. It is reinforced with firm-structured fibre hood and fibre doors, a media release issued by TVS Lanka revealed. Chief Executive Officer of [...]

Car and SUV imports pick up despite heavy taxes

Car and SUV imports pick up despite heavy taxes

Despite the government’s tightening of vehicle imports with heavy taxes, motor car and Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) registrations recorded an increase during April against March, even though it was a holiday month, JB Securities, an equities brokerage in Colombo said in an analysis. The holiday month however saw a drop in most categories except for [...]

Motor traders relieved by introducing transacted value for vehicle tax

Sri Lankan motor traders – battered by inconsistent state policy, increasing import duty, high interest rates and other levies on vehicles – heaved a sigh of relief after the government decided to consider the ‘true transacted value ‘when imposing tax on vehicles.  This decision has been taken on a recommendation made by the high powered [...]

Back again duty free/duty slashed vehicle permit for MPs and officials

Sri Lanka’s parliamentarians, provincial people’s representatives and senior government officials are in for a bonanza: They get duty free /duty slashed vehicle import permits once again following the government’s recent decision to withdraw the 2016 budget proposal to scrap the permit system.  The relevant circular to grant this facility again while increasing the permit value [...]

Franklyn, Tarun Das step down as JKH directors after 9-yr stint

Franklyn Amerasinghe, senior Independent Director and Tarun Das, non-executive director at John Keells Holdings (JKH), are both stepping down after a 9-year stint on the board and reaching 70 years.  The company said in an announcement on Wednesday that the two directors were not seeking re-election at the upcoming annual general for the 2015-16 year. [...]

NTB sees through challenging conditions

Nations Trust Bank (NTB) closed the first quarter ending 31stMarch 2016 recording a post-tax profit growth of 20 per cent underpinned by a moderate growth in non-fund base income of 17 per cent and a reduction in impairment charges by 63 per cent.  A NTB media release said that this first quarter performance was achieved [...]

Kingsbury affected by increase in income tax

The steep increase in income tax has impacted on Kingsbury Colombo, owned by Hayleys PLC, according to its interim accounts for 1Q2016 which however reported a growth in profit.  The report showed an increase of 14 per cent in gross profit for this period to Rs. 1.4 million against the Rs. 1.25 million in the [...]

Hayleys PLC posts Rs. 6.8 bln in PBT

Hayleys PLC on the back of aggressive expansion in its tourism sector has posted a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of Rs. 6.8 billion for the financial year 2015/16, a 7 per cent increase over the previous year. It ended the year with a group turnover of Rs. 92 billion.  Hayleys PLC Chairman and Chief Executive [...]

NDB aggressive on growing organically

National Development Bank PLC (NDB) says it’ll be aggressively expanding in Sri Lanka and this organic growth will capitalise bigger opportunities for them.  ”We’ll be opening some 18 branches this year and will be concentrating on our core banking business,” Rajendra Theagarajah, CEO NDB told the Business Times.  The NDB Group companies commenced 2016 on [...]

Hilton reports Rs. 55 mln profit

State-owned Hotel Developers PLC (HDEV), the owning company of Colombo Hilton, has made a Rs. 55 million net profit for 1Q2016, against the loss of Rs. 35 million for the corresponding period of last year, its results show.  The company has commenced a major refurbishment of the hotel from October 2014 which will see improvements [...]

Dipped Products acquires remaining stake of Icoguanti SpA

Dipped Products, a subsidiary of the Hayleys Group, has announced that it acquired the remaining stake of Italian glove marketer Icoguanti SpA for Rs. 535 million on the back of posting Rs. 22 billion in Group Turnover during the financial year 2015-16, a 21 per cent reduction from a year ago.  Dipped Products PLC (DPL) [...]

Facing the nation: The ‘Good, Bad and the Ugly’ of GSP +

Sri Lanka’s ‘big boys’ (industry) are ready but are small and medium scale garment manufacturers prepared for and able to take advantage of the return of GSP + with all the required paraphernalia including upgraded technology?  Prof. Lakdas Fernando the Chairman Sri Lanka Apparel Institute, posed this question during a recent media conference at the [...]

Sri Lankan students triumph at Intel ISEF 2016

Sri Lankan students triumph at Intel ISEF 2016

A Sri Lankan team secured five awards at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2016, world’s largest high school science research competition, which took place in Phoenix, Arizona recently.  For the excellence shown in the area of embedded systems, Abishekh Gomes from Belvoir College International, Colombo won a grand award and two special [...]

Blue Diamonds seen abusing public funds, independent Sri Lankan audit reveals

An independent audit commissioned by Sri Lanka’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveals several irregularities at the troubled Blue Diamonds Jewellery Worldwide PLC (BLUE) including possible abuse of public funds.  In a public announcement on Thursday, the SEC said the findings by Messrs Ernst & Young “… reveal inter alia several irregularities in the conduct [...]

PickMe’s SOS feature breaks new ground

Some start-up companies, while Colombo came under a flood of public empathy and relief measures from ordinary citizens, experimented with unique ways to support relief measures, with mobile app based taxi hailing service, PickMe being amongst them.  PickMe initially teamed up with a television station to pick up dry rations from those who wanted to [...]

Panama Papers stink: SEC must take action

A retail investor – Rajivpriya Fernando, in an open letter to Thilak Karunaratne, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Sri Lanka (SEC), has urged action against Sri Lankan parties named in the ‘Panama Papers’ fiasco.  He has said that many high profile directors of listed and unlisted companies under the watch of the [...]

Genetically engineered crops are safe, US analysis finds

Genetically engineered crops are safe, US analysis finds

New York Times, May 17, New York – Genetically engineered crops appear to be safe to eat and do not harm the environment, according to a comprehensive new analysis by the advisory group the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  However, it is somewhat unclear whether the technology has actually increased crop yields.  The [...]

Of climate change, floods and landslides

Much is talked about these days by the Department of Meteorology, National Building Research Organization and many other connected departments about change in weather patterns, extreme heat, heavy rain, landslides and lightning  Who or what is the cause for all these changes? It is a well-known fact that humans are the cause for these changes [...]

New Risk Based Capital (RBC) for supervision of local insurance industry

The new Risk Based Capital (policy) or RBC is focused on managing the risks rather than complying with rules by insurance companies as well as by the regulator. It is also a flexible framework for maintenance of minimum capital requirements based on riskiness of respective insurance company.  After reviewing the status of local insurance industry, [...]

50 years on Sri Lanka lacks tourism promo

The Sri Lanka Tourism industry this year marks 50 years but the celebrations are short of similar campaigns to those in neighbouring countries or Asia which is believed to be mainly due to a lack of a promotional campaign.  The key element of promotions has brought down any prospects of celebrating 50 years with a [...]

EPSI expands e-commerce offering with partnership

EPSI Technology (Pvt) Ltd last week announced an exciting new partnership with e-commerce retailer for the resale of a vast variety of sophisticated IT-based products.  “Through its timely partnership with, an increasingly popular platform for a growing number of Sri Lankans across the island, EPSI aims to further consolidate its significant market share [...]

Vasco Worldwide enters into strategic alliance with Janashakthi Insurance

Vasco Worldwide, a travel service group, said this week it was opening an office in Sri Lanka and has entered into a strategic alliance with Janashakthi Insurance.  Vasco provides an extensive platform that covers the entire spectrum of travel services including travel concierge, visa application support, travel retail, religious and holiday travel, insurance and telecom [...]

Janashakthi says flood claims more than tsunami

Janashakthi Insurance PLC (Janashakthi) says that the floods that affected the country in the past two weeks will see them pay claims more than during the time of the tsunami some 12 years ago.  Prakash Schaffter, Managing Director, Janashakthi told the Business Times that his estimate for the payout is Rs. 1.5 billion to Rs. [...]

Microsoft to partner with Government in Sri Lanka’s Technology Transformation

Microsoft Corporation has assured the Government of Sri Lanka of its continued support to accomplish the country’s ICT (information and communications technology) plans and goals.  Following up with the meeting between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Microsoft International President Jean-Philippe Courtois in Davos in January, the US-based firm has reiterated its commitment to facilitate Sri [...]

Fairfax talks with Asian Alliance to buy general insurance biz progressing

Fairfax Financial Services Holdings Ltd (FFHL), a Canadian property and casualty insurer is in talks with Asian Alliance Insurance PLC (AAI) which is a Softlogic Holdings subsidiary, to buy its general insurance arm is still progressing, industry sources said.  They said that AAI’s general insurance business is for sale and that negotiations have been underway [...]

National Coconut Replanting Programme: An alarming scenario

National Coconut Replanting Programme: An alarming scenario

The coconut palm generally has an economically productive life span of about 60 years, although it depends on various factors such as cultivar planted, soil type, climatic conditions of the area and the past and recent management history. Therefore to maintain the sustainability of coconut production the senile palms, generally over 60 years, are to [...]

Grand Hyatt Colombo to open by 2017 winter season

The much-awaited Grand Hyatt Colombo, which has gone through many a false start in recent years owing to the change in governments and questions over its local owning company, is now set to be operational by December 2017.  A statement to the media by owning company Sino Lanka Hotels and Spa said the Grand Hyatt [...]

Sri Lanka requires hardcore skills for people to be employable today

While Sri Lanka is aspiring to become a knowledge hub in the region with a vast pool of talent amongst the upcoming youth, the country requires hardcore skills for the people to be employable.  Cambridge University Press (CUP) India Managing Director Ratnesh Jha made this comment to the Business Times on the sidelines of the [...]

PM invited for 12th World Islamic Economic Forum

PM invited for 12th World Islamic Economic Forum

Jakarta will host the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) for the second time, following the successes of WIEF forums that have travelled the globe, including Kuala Lumpur, Islamabad, Kuwait, Astana, Johor Bahru, London and Dubai.  This year, the forum will be held at the Jakarta Convention Centre from 2 to 4 August.In Colombo this [...]

Overwhelming response for Venture Engine 2016 submissions

Sri Lanka’s pioneering entrepreneur empowerment platform Venture Engine has ended its “Call for Entries”, with the programme having received an overwhelming response from an ever expanding pool of potential participants.  The organisation said that the quality and variety of submissions received in 2016 was an increase in the level of sophistication in terms of both [...]

Profiling Sri Lanka as the investors’ top choice

The country needs to be the investor’s top choice to succeed as a preferred investment destination through excellence, commitment and creative solutions which will strengthen the economic growth of the country. The government should consider a change in the economic and tax policy structure. The ongoing policies may not suit the modern business model or [...]

‘Maggi’ marks digital milestone with cooking website for mothers

Iconic food brand Maggi, with a strong heritage of empowering women for over 30 years, launched its very own website this Mother’s Day to help new age mums access cooking recipes quickly and easily.  Strengthening its digital presence to cater to new consumer trends and preferences, Maggi’s new website offers modern, digitally savvy mothers [...]

CCC and Fair Deal to help Lankan importers source goods at ‘Factory Prices’

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in collaboration with Fair Deal as, a global import sourcing arm, is planning to launch a programme to help Sri Lankan importers buy goods at ‘factory prices’.  Under this scheme, Fair Deal will function as the purchasing agent of the Sri Lankan importer, thus helping to source quality goods [...]

Salaries of directors of banks

The Business Times last week carried a news item where it was stated that the Central Bank Governor wishes to monitor and even suggest a reduction in the salaries paid to directors of banks and financial institutions.  Maybe the first thing that should be done is for the Central Bank to make a public declaration [...]

31 bln transactions on Oracle Cloud daily through over 70 mln users

Local businesses are benefiting from Oracle’s Cloud portfolio, making it easier and faster to adopt new innovations and provide greater predictability. At an Oracle Day event this week, Oracle Sri Lanka showcased the breadth and depth of Oracle Cloud in modernizing data, data warehousing, marketing and digital processes. Speaking at the event, Regional Director for [...]

New passenger terminal at Maldives international airport

Saudi’s largest construction group – Saudi Bin Ladin Group (SBG), founded by the father of slain al-Queda leader Osama Bin Laden, has been awarded the contract to build a new passenger terminal in the Maldives, according to media reports from Male.  The terminal on completion in 2018 will cater to more than seven million passengers [...]

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