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Protest against VAT

Protest against VAT

The JVP held a protest near Parliament on Tuesday against the new VAT rate on the same day the bill was approved. Seen here are MPs Sunil Handunnetti and Bimal Ratnayake with others at the event.  Pic by Indika Handuwala

Auditor General to appoint audit firms for state companies

Sri Lanka’s state-owned companies (state owned enterprises – SOEs) have been brought under the scrutiny of Auditor General (AG)’s  Department with authority, for the first time, to select and appoint private auditors for auditing of accounts. In some cases earlier the Auditor General got the assistance of private auditors which were however selected by the [...]

PM’s committee to examine tea blending

The Government has appointed a committee to study the impact of blending tea for re-export from Sri Lanka, a controversial issue that has dogged the industry for many years due to opposing views. The committee has been appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and would be headed by the National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry [...]

Cloud of uncertainty in tourism industry over ‘arrests’

The recent arrest of two tourism industry professionals, later released on bail was strongly condemned by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga during an address at the annual general meeting of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) on Tuesday. “Some hoteliers (trade personalities) have been remanded unreasonably through no fault of theirs while there are  [...]

US$10 billion Hambantota Development up for Chinese grabs

The US$10 billion Hambantota Development project contracts including the Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port are set to be offered to Chinese investors willing to make high investments stipulated by official authorities bypassing the tender process, several local representatives of foreign investors alleged. Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka Yi Xianliang has recommended several Chinese investors to [...]

3 powerful MICE events in Nov.

Sri Lanka’s MICE sector is going to be busy next month with three major conferences in the largest-ever grouping of business visitors in a single month. The events kick off tomorrow October 31 when Colombo hosts the all-important French travel agents congress till November 5 with the participation of over 300 agents and others. This [...]

Achcharu politics in Budget 2017

Achcharu politics in Budget 2017

Eleven days from now, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake will present his second budget and in the days after that corporates will scramble to try and understand what is in there for them; firstly the tax breaks, incentives and to them personally as individuals. Opposition politicians will beat the drums, warning of hard days ahead, tightening [...]

‘Packed in Ceylon’ tag for blended Ceylon teas on the cards

‘Packed in Ceylon’ tag for blended Ceylon teas on the cards

The Government is expected to introduce a number of measures to ensure the regional plantation companies (RPCs) in the tea sector would increase their income levels and production capacities in addition to opening the doors to tea blending. A re-introduction of the fertiliser subsidy for the RPCs is being worked out by Plantations Minister Navin [...]

How a daily cup of tea may improve your health

No matter what the season, tea can be a tasty beverage since it can be served iced or hot. But its benefits go far beyond refreshment. There is plenty of research showing that drinking tea can actually improve your health. Here are the top 10 health benefits of tea: 1.  Tea contains antioxidants   Antioxidants work [...]

CB’s soiled money destruction system undergoes modernisation

The Central Bank system of destroying unserviceable currency notes has been modernised following the replacement of a current shredding machine installed at the banking regulator with a modern Swedish-made currency disintegrator machine. The contract to supply and install the currency disintegrator machine has been awarded to Crane Currency Company of Sweden to fast track destruction [...]

Nihal Hettiarachchi & Company awarded “Audit Firm of the Year – Medium Category” at the South Asian awards event

Nihal Hettiarachchi & Company awarded “Audit Firm of the Year – Medium Category” at the South Asian awards event

Nihal Hettiarachchi & Company (NH & Co) received an award as the Audit Firm of the Year – Medium Category” at the recently held South Asian Partnership Summit & Business Awards (SAPS) 2016, presented by World HRD Congress and endorsed by the Asian Confederation of Businesses. The ceremony was held  at Waters Edge with a [...]

STBC’s “Trends in Education” event raises many issues

STBC’s “Trends in Education” event raises many issues

The Sunday Times Business Club (STBC) panel discussion on “Trends in Education: Gearing to a technology-driven marketplace” on Wednesday at the Kingsbury Colombo raised many interesting issues that all stakeholders are faced with. The panellists were Sunil Hettiarachchi, Secretary – Ministry of Education and Dr. Jayantha Balasooriya also from the Ministry; Murtaza Esufally, Director – [...]

Anantara opens in Kalutara amidst Bawa ambience

Hemas Leisure that recently opened Anantara Resorts in Kalutara together with Minor International is currently working on establishing two more new brands under the global hotel chain. This latest hotel unique in its architecture is one of the last experiments of renowned architect Geoffrey Bawa and plans are underway for a long term vision to [...]

Singer continues to spearhead e-waste collection for greener environment

The Singer Group, in line with a new government proposal over the disposal of electronic waste, has announced that such waste can be handed over to Singer centres. In a media release, the group said it’s committed to promoting awareness on responsible electronics disposal, nationwide. “Our motive to be a driver of positive change in [...]

Future of Sri Lanka relies on responsible use of social media

Social media has today become a top notch platform for people to get connected with their long-lost friends and families while many businesses and corporates use it as a powerful tool to make money out of it. While on the one hand there are people who use these social media platforms with positive intentions, on [...]

SC says courts doing the work of the Central Bank

When the Supreme Court on Monday took up the matter of Finance and Guarantee Real Estate and Property Developers Companies (F&G PDL & RECL), it was observed by court that because the Central Bank (CB) is not performing its duties, the courts have been assigned this onerous task, too. The case was heard by a [...]

FIU and IRD in MOU to exchange information

FIU and IRD in MOU to exchange information

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank (CB) recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Inland Revenue to exchange information in order to facilitate investigations and prosecutions on money laundering and terrorist financing. Ms. Kalyani Dahanayake, Commissioner General, Department of Inland Revenue and H. Amarathunga, Director, FIU signed [...]

Entrepreneurship is all about creating an idea

For many, the word entrepreneurship is about turning out to be a millionaire, being your own boss, doing it your way or becoming famous. Also for most to be an entrepreneur means one has to be a ‘genius’. This is not completely true. Those are only some of the side results of entrepreneurship that may [...]

KLM in the 1990s

With reference to the KLM saga in Sri Lanka as described by D L Sirimanne in the Business Times on October 9 and elaborated upon by Roger Thiedeman in the same section on October 16 I would like to add the following:  During KLM’s 20 years or more in our Emerald Isle, their advertising and [...]

ETCA final draft is still to be released, says State Minister

Sri Lankan and Indian  authorities are now finalising the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) which has triggered a major controversy from professional groups. While ETCA is now at the final stages (as a discussion document) it is yet to be released as a final draft. National Policies and Economic Affairs State Minister Niroshan Perera [...]

Cash-starved Treasury says will take back idle funds of state agencies

The Finance Ministry, in the wake of recent findings of weak financial management of some ministries and departments, has directed all state institutions to implement suitable cash control systems with the aim of streamlining the daily cash flow. According to Treasury operations circular No 6/2016, it has been found that several ministries and departments are [...]

Dusit Thani Sri Lanka promotes real estate investment to Australian citizens

Dusit Thani Sri Lanka promotes real estate investment to Australian citizens

Dusit Thani Sri Lanka, Beachfront Balapitiya recently hosted ‘Australia Showcase 2016’ for Sri Lankan-Aus society crème de la crème, in Melbourne to garner interest from both expats and locals alike in Australia. The event with 80 attendees was hosted exclusively for The Beachfront apartments owners as well as interested parties. A few famous names in [...]

MEGA Maldives launches flights between Male and Colombo

MEGA Maldives Airlines, despite stringent staff cuts to battle lower loads, has announced new services between Male and Colombo. The Male-based airline said it will link the two tourism destinations initially with three flights per week. The move comes after lower arrivals from China, the Maldives’ biggest source market, forced the airline to announce a [...]

Lions Forum in Colombo with 2,500 delegates

The 44th ISAAME (India, South Asia, Africa and Middle East) Forum 2016 involving Lions Clubs to be held in Sri Lanka on November 30-December 3 will probably be the largest ever MICE tourism event in Sri Lanka. MICE means Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events and Exhibitions. ISAAME is expected to attract a minimum of 2500 foreign [...]

Auxenta – A case study on innovation

Auxenta – A case  study on innovation

The most successful entrepreneurs are not merely the hardest working, they’re the most innovative. You can hustle and put in crazy hours of work, but if you’re not unfolding your innovative muscles, you’ll never achieve success. Ask Prasath Nanayakkara and he’ll tell you. Reminiscing the not-so-old days when he started his entrepreneurial venture, Auxenta Inc., [...]

Fiscal reforms imperative for sustained growth, says Economics Prof. Indraratna

Fiscal reforms imperative for sustained  growth, says Economics Prof. Indraratna

Populist proposals such as salary increases, various perks and consumer subsidies should not be undertaken without commensurate proposals for enhancement of revenue, especially direct tax revenue, Sri Lanka’s best-known economics professor has said. Prof. S. Indraratna, President of the Sri Lanka Economists Association (SLEA), speaking at the inauguration of last week’s 13th annual sessions [...]

Structural engineers fostering culture of research and innovation

Structural engineers  fostering culture of research and innovation

The Annual Sessions 2016 which was the platform created by the Society of Structural Engineers Sri Lanka (SSE-SL) for the local structural engineering fraternity to showcase their ingenuity and share ground breaking ideas, saw its successful culmination at the Cinnamon Grand recently. The event had over 200 delegates representing the construction community comprising engineers, consultants, [...]

Coal power opponents praise President, PM for bold decision on abandoning Sampur project

A group called the ‘Coalition Against Coal’ has welcomed a recent Sri Lanka government decision to abandon the controversial Sampur Coal power plant saying it is a ‘wise decision”. In an open letter to the President and the Prime Minister and circulated to local media by PR agency GPR, the group says that “this is [...]

100 fuel stations outside CPC and LIOC purview in dilapidated state

An old issue of 100 petroleum stations which got ‘lost’ in its ownership when Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) came into the local retail trade more than 10 years ago, was resurrected last week. At the 44th AGM of the Petroleum Dealers Association held in Colombo, some petroleum dealers urged the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to [...]

Departmental stores and hypermarkets

Departmental stores  and hypermarkets

The world has been changing since the beginning of the year. Over the last 40-50 years we have seen extraordinary changes in our country. But as always we are still a developing country. The one thing that developing nations like us have in common is the fact that we are not (or not yet) developed [...]

While trade is improving, no FTA between SL and Australia

While bilateral trade between Sri Lanka and Australia has been very strong in recent times, a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries is very unlikely, according to Bryce Hutchesson, Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. He made these comments at the ‘Meet the High Commissioner’ discussion organised by the National Chamber of Commerce [...]

Colombo Hilton & Grand Hyatt’s RFPs soon

The Grand Hyatt Colombo, owned by Sri Lanka’s biggest insurance and pension fund, along with the partly refurbished Colombo Hilton are set to be divested by the government, their majority owner.  The Ministry of Public Enterprise Development which is now in the process of restructuring key State owned Enterprises (SOE) is preparing Request for Proposals [...]

Malaysia’s MINDA, CA Sri Lanka aim to build high performing directors

In an effort to enhance the effectiveness of directors in the region, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (CA Sri Lanka) has joined hands with the Malaysian Directors Academy ‘MINDA’ to offer directors both in Sri Lanka and also in the region unique tailor made courses to help them become high performing directors. [...]

No new tourism-related taxes in 2017 Budget, Tourism Minister says

No new tourism-related taxes in 2017 Budget, Tourism Minister says

The Government is setting up a cabinet sub-committee to fast-track decisions pertaining to tourism while assuring the industry that no new tourism-related taxes will emerge in next month’s budget. This assurance was given by Tourism Minister John Amaratunga amidst applause by hoteliers attending the 51st anniversary and AGM of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri [...]

NDBIB successfully finalises Mobitel’s e-Channelling buyout

NDB Investment Bank (NDBIB) successfully closed its advisory role in Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd recent acquisition of e-Channelling PLC. “NDBIB takes pride in having partnered Mobitel in its maiden acquisition and supporting the latter as it ventures in to value added services, particularly in the fast growing e-health space,’ the bank said in a media release. [...]

Union Bank’s 9-mth net sharply up 148%

Union Bank of Colombo PLC and its subsidiaries UB Finance Co. Ltd and National Asset Management Ltd have recorded a combined post tax profit of Rs.415 million for the nine months ended September 2016, up sharply by 148 per cent from the same 2015 period. The bank’s (standalone) post tax profit for the period was [...]

Commercial Bank’s Rs 5 bln debenture issue oversubscribed twice over

The Rs 5 billion debenture issue of Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC closed within minutes of opening on October 24 after it was oversubscribed twice over, the bank announced. The bank said it received a substantial amount of applications and has decided to exercise its option of enlarging the issue to Rs 7 billion. The [...]

DFCC Bank launches Rs. 4 bln debenture issue

DFCC Bank recently launched its Debenture Issue to raise Rs. 4 billion with an option to go up to Rs.7 billion in the event of an over subscription. The purpose of this issue is to strengthen the Tier II capital of the bank while supporting its lending operations in the corporate, business and SME sectors. [...]

‘PACE’ to pace up soft skills of youth entering the job market

PACE Institute, a professional education academy in  Pannipitiya has devised a training module to impart social skills of youths which is one of the main factors for getting and retaining a job, the head of the institute revealed. Every employer wants to recruit youths with a specific set of skills that are necessary to perform [...]

Dialog uses Cloudera Enterprise to enhance its offerings

Cloudera, the global provider of the fastest, easiest, and most secure data management and analytics platform built on Apache Hadoop and the latest open source technologies, announced this week that Dialog, Sri Lanka’s largest and most rapidly growing mobile telecommunications network provider, has adopted Cloudera Enterprise to gain a unified view of their customer insights [...]

Inaugural member-meeting of the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association

Inaugural member-meeting of the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association

Picture shows the new office bearers of the association with SLRA Chairman Hussain Sadique, Deputy MD Hameedia (seated 4th from left).  The inaugural founder-membership meeting of the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) was held recently at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC).  Hussain Sadique, Deputy Managing Director of Hameedia was appointed the association’s first Chairman/President.

Sri Lanka reaching record-breaking death toll from road accidents

Road accidents are on the rise in Sri Lanka and the country is heading towards a record-breaking death toll due to unawareness and indiscipline by both vehicle drivers and pedestrians, say officials from the government and the private sector. This was emphasised at a media briefing organised by Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC at the Colombo [...]

VAT hike to swell government coffers by Rs. 100 bln annually

With the Supreme Court’s determination of ‘consistency with the Constitution’ and consent of parliament, the Value Added Tax (VAT) hike up to 15 per cent from 11 per cent will bring additional revenue of Rs. 100 billion per annum for government coffers with effect from November 1, a senior Finance Ministry official said. The government [...]

Sri Lanka coconut sector faces combo of low prices, low productivity

Sri Lanka’s coconut industry is reeling from a combination of low prices, low productivity and costly fertiliser making it uneconomic for most growers. Many are considering whether to sell off their properties as costs override profits on plantations. Coconut Growers Association President Lionel Fonseka told the Business Times on Tuesday that some coconut estate owners [...]

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