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Sri Lanka’s first female ‘sinna dorai’

Sri Lanka’s first female ‘sinna dorai’

Possibly the first female planter in Sri Lanka, 26 year old Ms. Chaturika Rajapakse (third from left) will assume duties as the first ever Junior Assistant Superintendent of the Queens Town estate in Hali Ella under the Malwatte Valley Plantations from December 1.    A student of Vihara Maha Devi Girls’ College, Badulla, she dreamed big [...]

Doubts over take-over of key CB functions

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s budget proposal  to take away some key functions of the Central Bank (CB) including public debt management has come under strong criticism from various quarters including the bank’s own officials. It is said to be the worst  incidence in the history of the banking regulator where its work has been undermined [...]

Proposed change to single shareholder limit in banks raises alarm

The budget proposal to revisit the single shareholder limit in commercial banks has raised alarm bells as to whether powerful groups will regroup to raid commercial banks as was seen less than a decade ago. This proposal on shareholder limit now at 10 per cent and with special approval by the Monetary Board up to [...]

Tea estate developments on hold

Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) have put on hold new clearing and other development work on the estates in the wake of the recent budgetary proposal to limit the acreage owned by the companies. “A lot of companies have stopped new clearings and other development work on the estates,” former Planters Association Chairman and Hayleys Plantations [...]

Jeeps for 56 supervisory MPs run into ‘engine trouble’

A cabinet proposal to provide jeeps for 56 MPs who were appointed to supervise provincial development projects is to be reviewed by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) on a top level directive. The attempt to procure 56 jeeps for these MPs by the Finance Ministry has been suspended following a directive issued by [...]

Central Bank fast becoming a rubber stamp

Central Bank fast becoming a rubber stamp

Removing the Central Bank from the ambit of the Finance Ministry, whatever the reason, and bringing it under the ambit of the Prime Minister’s office last year was bad enough. At the time, the Business Times was off the blocks suggesting that such a precedent was fraught with danger and could lead to other issues. [...]

Sri Lankan economists critical of proposed national trade policy

Sri Lankan economists critical of proposed national trade policy

The Sri Lanka Association for Political Economy (SLAPE) has criticised the proposed National Trade Policy saying that apart from the  contents of the draft there has  been “no proper and transparent consultative process” in such preparation. The organisation, representing professional economists, made these comments in an ‘open’ letter to the President, Prime Minister and the [...]

PUCSL expressing ‘grave concerns’ over delay in construction of power plants

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) on Friday issued a directive expressing its grave concerns to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) over the delay in constructing the power plants according to the approved Least Cost Long Term Generation Expansion Plan (LCLTGEP). “The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka approved the LCLTGEP on September [...]

Twenty schools in fierce competition at first ever Colombo Aviation Quiz 2016

Ananda College Colombo won the inaugural Colombo Aviation Quiz 2016 from among 20 leading schools and international schools in the Colombo District that contested the country’s first ever quiz on the global aviation industry, organised by SriLankan Aviation College (SLAC). D.S. Senanayake College emerged 1st runner up with 37 points to Ananda’s 45, while Royal [...]

Sri Lanka’s historic crafts to go hi tech, get SME funding

Sri Lanka’s historic craft traditions are set to go hi-tech while the craftsmen themselves are set to receive international craft exposure. The country’s national crafts expo series has also for the first time, expanded to include SAARC region’s arts and crafts. “It is time we bring in new technologies to this sector. Together with our [...]

Brandix Lanka selects Riverbed SteelHead to overcome poor connectivity and accelerate cloud-first strategy

Riverbed Technology, the application performance company, announced this week that Sri Lankan apparel exporter Brandix Lanka Ltd has selected Riverbed SteelHead to address pervasive connectivity, low-bandwidth and latency issues, and accelerate its cloud-first strategy. This is an initiative aimed at speeding time to market, lowering OPEX and improving end-user experience through faster delivery of business-critical [...]

Lankan Angels back, a startup platform reaching Sinhala audiences

Since launching in January 2016, has made an indelible mark in Sri Lanka’s online space, the company claims. “ differentiates itself by steering away from the all too common Sinhala gossip website brimming with celebrity news and political scandal, and publishes wholly-original light and useful articles on topics including lifestyle, fashion, arts and culture, [...] announces the approach of “Black Friday” for the first time in Sri Lanka

Barely a month following its introduction in Sri Lanka, has announced the rollout of the biggest sale of the year. The Daraz Black Friday promotional event is a flagship event for Daraz globally, and the company has announced that it will become a key annual event for all online shoppers in Sri Lanka, the [...]

Illicit love affairs, stealing mangoes and wooing the girls – life was a ball at the Bamba flats

Illicit love affairs, stealing  mangoes and wooing the girls – life  was a ball at the Bamba flats

AT THE BAMBA FLATS – The wolf whistles were long and approving. The long-legged pretty girls walking by in their mini-skirts didn’t mind it. They just loved the extra-attention which added more spring to the step and flounce in the hip. Tony Martyn and his friends were all spellbound, caught in a thrall of admiration. [...]

Live in vertical slums or opt for a modern lifestyle – owners have to decide

The 10.5 acres of land on which the Bambalapitiya Flats stands on was once owned by the Catholic Church (in the 1940s). It was acquired by the government of that time (soon after independence) with plans by the Ministry of Justice to build a law complex. That was shelved and the site was handed over [...]

ETCA needs transparency, says author on ‘Global Trade’ book

ETCA needs transparency, says author on ‘Global Trade’ book

Sri Lanka’s trade ties need to be conducted in a more transparent environment including the present negotiations on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India, author of a new book on trade due to be released next week, said on Thursday. Naazima Kamardeen, author of the book titled “Global Trade and Sri Lanka: [...]

Remedies for traffic congestion

Remedies for  traffic congestion

Roads are full with traffic congestion as an average 250,000 vehicles, made up of 15,000 buses, 10,000 trucks and 225,000 private vehicles, enter Colombo daily. Around 2.7 million vehicles are on the roads, though the number of vehicles registered was over 4.4 million vehicles. It is indeed frustrating to get stuck in traffic. It is [...]

Long-delayed Sri Lanka’s e-Motoring project gets off the ground

Long-delayed Sri Lanka’s e-Motoring project gets off the ground

Sri Lanka’s e-Motoring project is still struggling to see the light of day since its initiation almost 11 years ago but finally is set to get off the ground. The project was launched with the signing of a MoU between the ICT Agency and the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT) with Manju Haththotuwa signing on [...]

Motor traders, car buyers go electric

In an unexpected move, the Finance Ministry has revised the tax rates on vehicles going against the pledge given by Minister Ravi Karunanayake (last month) to maintain the current duty rates for at least two years. Duty changes announced in the 2017 budget have made small cars and three wheelers more expensive while lowering the [...]

Lanka Ashok Leyland to expand manufacturing operations

Lanka Ashok Leyland is set to expand local manufacturing operations following the completion of the landmark 185,000 square feet facility at its Panagoda factory. It will facilitate the increase in assembly and manufacture and promote the development of local ancillary suppliers, Umesh  Gautam, CEO of the company said. The improved factory area features vast greenery [...]

Public Utilities Commission seeks public comments on its 2017 action plan

The Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), the electricity sector regulator, has called for public comments on its proposed plan of activities for 2017. In an announcement to the media, the PUCSL said the activity plan is aimed at “improving the productivity and convenience for electricity consumers, ensure an affordable price for consumers and [...]

JKH gets top billing at Business Today TOP 30

JKH gets top billing  at Business  Today TOP 30

Business Today TOP 30 this week recognised the top corporate performers of Sri Lanka for the financial year 2015-2016 with John Keells Holdings once again winning the main honours. The award ceremony was held under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as Chief Guest and Prof Maithree Wickramasinghe was also present on this occasion [...]

Sri Lanka Insurance felicitates high flyers of GCE AL and OL, and Grade 5 scholarship exams

Sri Lanka Insurance (SLI) this week offered over 300 scholarships to achievers from 25 districts who applied for the Suba Pathum scholarship, at an event held in Colombo this week. The unique scholarship scheme was launched in 2013 June in an effort to nurture an academically sound generation. This is the third batch of students [...]


“Indranie not Indani”   In our story headlined “It’s not Superwoman, just Indani on a tuk-tuk” in the Business Times last week, the name given of the interviewee ‘Indani’  should be corrected to read as “Indranie” in the headline and right along the story. The error is regretted.  - Business Times Editor  

Sri Lanka modifies gem business strategy

Sri Lanka has modified its gem business strategy by encouraging value added (cut and polished) gem exports of private entities and simplifying gem import and export procedures to regain its position as major global power in coloured gemstone trades. Moving away from a protectionist stance on gem exports which has fuelled smuggling, the National Gem [...]

EMP to revolutionise local medium voltage panel manufacturing

Electro Metal Pressings (Pvt) Ltd (EMP), Sri Lanka’s industry leading electro mechanical engineering solutions provider has signed an agreement with LSIS Co. Ltd, a global leader in the field of power solutions, for knowledge transfer and technological collaboration to locally manufacture Medium Voltage (MV) panel boards. “EMP, a company that has demonstrated progressive growth during [...]

Sri Lanka, US universities cooperate on innovation and entrepreneurship

Sri Lanka, US universities cooperate on innovation and entrepreneurship

Top American engineering and science universities have shared strategies for developing technology incubators and technology transfer offices with Sri Lankan university, government, and business leaders as part of the US commitment to helping Sri Lanka develop a diversified, modern economy that can attract foreign and domestic investment, the US embassy in Colombo said in a [...]

Salvaging SriLankan Airlines

Lately, SriLankan Airlines (SriLankan) has been making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Even though it is a national symbol, SriLankan has been plagued with threats such as political interference, excessive debt, staff issues, corruption and many other operational and management issues. The bottom line is that the airline has accumulated a monumental loss [...]

Sri Lanka’s north lagging in GDP growth despite improved business environment

Sri Lanka’s northern region hasn’t grown as expected in the post-conflict  2009 era and local businesses are hoping trade fairs like the Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF) 2017 would help drive more interest. This was stated at a media briefing in Colombo this week chaired by Rishard Bathiudeen, Minister of Trade and Commerce to promote [...]

Gulf Air adds Colombo to its network

Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, last week announced the addition of Colombo, to its network of destinations with the upcoming launch of 5 weekly flights to/from Bandaranaike International Airport from January 19, 2017. This latest addition to Gulf Air’s network is in line with the airline’s business strategy which sees [...]

Micro insurance could wipe out poverty in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is looking at opportunities to increase its chances of giving micro insurance a push to ensure that more people living in poverty would be protected and that they do not slip back to it in the event of a disaster. This was brought to the fore this year at the meeting of international [...]

Providing water and sanitation by Fonterra to schools and other areas in Gampola

Doluwa (Gampola): When a group of journalists reached the Lagumdeniya Kanishta Vidyalaya it was time for the tea interval and the sight of children enjoying the gushing water from newly installed taps was a very pleasant scene one morning last week. The group was taken to this village by Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka (Fonterra). For [...]

‘Teejay’ launched as the new brand in fabric and fashion

‘Teejay’ launched as the new brand in fabric and fashion

Sri Lanka’s largest weft knit textile manufacturing company (formerly known as Textured Jersey) last week unveiled its new corporate brand ‘Teejay.’ The new brand articulates the vibrancy of the different DNA within the group, and the synergy they bring to every aspect of their operations with CEO Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne expressing the hope that [...]

Hambantota port holds the key to Sri Lanka’s golden era

Hambantota port holds the key to Sri Lanka’s golden era

“Sri Lanka-China-Hambantota debacle, may now be too big to fail. Hambantota has been the site of one of the most ambitious development plans in the world,’’ wrote Wade Shepard (author and travel writer since 1999) after spending several days in Hambantota. He added, “China has a history of sticking it out, and rarely cuts its [...]

Consumer durable retailers remain resilient despite macro headwinds – Fitch

Rising interest rates, an increase in indirect taxes and currency depreciation which affect  the prices of products sold by Sri Lankan retailers could make consumer durables less affordable, Fitch Ratings says. Value Added Tax (VAT) was raised from 11 per cent to 15 per cent recently which would not only increase the prices of consumer [...]

Trade liberalisation the key to export growth, more foreign investments

Though Sri Lanka is keen to pursue economic growth and the efforts are commendable, more needs to be done to boost exports and attract foreign investment for which trade liberalisation is required. This was stated by Tung-Lai Margue, Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and to the Maldives when [...]

Sri Lanka revenue reform, step towards stronger finances – Fitch

Sri Lanka’s budget for 2017 is broadly in line with the targets set out under its IMF programme, and contains a number of positive measures to boost the very weak revenue base, Fitch Ratings said in a media release this week. However the agency said it believes the impact of the revenue reforms will depend [...]

Commercial Bank shows growth amidst rate hikes

Commercial Bank shows growth amidst rate hikes

Commercial Bank’s overseas operations encompass Bangladesh,  where the bank operates 18 outlets, Myanmar – where it has a  Representative Office in Yangon and the Maldives, where the bank opened a  fully-fledged Tier I Bank in September 2016. The bank has also received a licence to operate a  fully-owned Money Transfer Operation in Italy. Commercial Bank [...]

Colombo court dismisses case against Mackwoods sale of shares

The Commercial High Court of Colombo has dismissed the case filed by Ms. Nirmali Samaratunga regarding the sale of shares in Agalawatte Plantations PLC (APL) by Mackwoods Plantations (Private) Ltd. The case was filed against, among others, Mackwoods (Pvt) Ltd, Mackwoods Plantations (Pvt) Ltd and its directors including Dr. Chris Nonis and Ms. Shelendra Nonis. [...]

Ceylon Chamber’s mixed view on the budget

Budget 2017 has signalled continuity in the economic policy priorities of the government, following from Budget 2016, and the Prime Minister’s economic policy statements of November 2015 and October 2016, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) said in a media statement. The CCC observed that Budget 2017 seeks to continue the government’s focus on modernizing [...]

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