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Oasis in the city

Oasis in the city

Step in to Ranjit Seneviratne’s garden in Kollupitiya and you would be amazed at the range of vegetables and flowers and the nature-friendly environment. Turn to Page 4 for a comprehensive story on this Sri Lankan’s oasis in the city. Pic by Indika Handuwala

SriLankan Airlines fails in new bid to lease aircraft to PIA

SriLankan Airlines lost a fresh bid this week to win a Pakistan Airlines (PIA) A 330 aircraft wet lease tender following the end of its 6-month commercial contract of the first aircraft lease in a three-A 330-deal inked in August last year. These developments had followed tough negotiations by the top brass of the national [...]

Mega state plan to create 25,000 more innovative companies

The Government, in a joint Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and Central Bank initiative, on Thursday announced a massive programme to fund start-ups with the potential of creating 25,000 new innovative companies. As part of the ‘One Million Jobs Programme, an official announcement said potential start-up companies will be offered grants and cheap [...]

EPF/ETF barred from investing in stocks until cleared of pump-and-dump allegations

The Central Bank (CB) is awaiting relevant authorities to clear the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees’ Trust Fund (ETF) of all charges pertaining to pump and dump allegations in order to restart investing in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), officials said. The two state funds stopped investing in the CSE following the bad blood [...]

Tea hub in Sri Lanka only a proposal, say exporters

Tea exporters who succeeded in getting the tea hub status and blending of teas in Sri Lanka passed in two successive budgets say the proposal is yet to get implemented due to strong opposition from sections of the industry. Government authorities have noted that they have not had any discussion on this subject. Plantation Ministry [...]

Public sector wages on two days

The Government is exploring the possibility of paying public sector employees’ salaries in two installments each month as a remedy for the sudden cash-flow problems in the Treasury, Public Administration Ministry sources disclosed. A proposal has been made to pay the basic salary of public servants on the 25th or a date between the 20th [...]

Knight in shining armour

Knight in shining armour

In the latter part of the 1970s, serving as a cub reporter at the now-defunct Sun newspaper, the Ministry of Public Administration was one of my beats. While the public service was still in its heyday politics was slowly (but surely) creeping in. On one occasion I walked into the office of the Secretary to [...]

Infrastructure growth in Asia and insurance opportunities through three steps

It is expected that we will have to live with a challenging low interest rate environment for some time to come. This is particularly a challenge for life insurance companies. The good news seems to be that the insurance sector in Asia is expected to grow further in the next 10 years and during that [...]

SL needs open-doors strategy with market oriented policies

SL needs open-doors  strategy with market  oriented policies

Our politicians keep boasting about our strategic location but have failed to exploit its full benefits. We don’t need to go begging when our country has all the ingredients. We need to let our private sector drive the local economy with the government involved as a facilitator. Sri Lanka has more potential to grow – [...]

Selling ‘non strategic’ state assets key to boosting foreign reserves, says Central Bank Governor

Central Bank’s officials are exercising their duties in a professional manner and so far there was no question about their integrity, its Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy told a media conference in Colombo this week responding to  a barrage of questions raised by journalists on accusations levelled against certain top officials whose names appeared in the [...]

Success at Sri Lanka Insurance Motor Plus Ceylon Motor Show 2017

It was three days of fun, excitement and a chance like never before to see the leading automotive brands from across the world, all housed under one roof. Motor enthusiasts from the length and breadth of the island used the rare opportunity provided by the Sri Lanka Insurance Motor Plus – Ceylon Motor Show 2017 [...]

CSE donates library to Diganegama Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recently completed a library donation project at the Diganegama Vidyalaya in Anuradhapura which the CSE said was aimed at recognising the value of fostering access to education in rural communities. The school was identified by the CSE as a potential beneficiary of its Corporate Social Responsibility project, and the exchange [...]

Appeal Court holds with Customs on adulterated palm oil issue

A Sri Lankan court earlier this week concurred with a Customs decision to detain a shipment of palm oil imported by Sena Mills Refineries Pvt Ltd pending a full investigation on suspicion that the consignment contained adulterated palm oil. Issuing a ruling on an appeal by the importer (Sena Mills) against the Customs decision, the [...]

Elephant Corridor undergoes changes to suit modern times

Elephant Corridor undergoes changes to suit modern times

Faced with an increasingly competitive environment in the hospitality industry at Sigiriya, the Elephant Corridor Hotel located near the town of Dambulla is now ready under a new operational management to bring about change in the brand’s culture established more than a decade ago. Taking up the challenge, the company’s new operational management under the [...]

H-Connect wins Silver for ‘Best Shared Services Team in Asia’ Singapore awards

H-Connect wins Silver for ‘Best Shared Services Team in Asia’ Singapore awards

H-Connect (Pvt) Ltd, the shared services arm of Hirdaramani, won the Silver award for the Best Shared Services Team in Asia at the 19th Shared Services Excellence Awards held recently in Singapore. The event was part of the Shared Services and Outsourcing Week – Asia, organized by the Shared Services and Outsourcing Network (SSON), the [...]

Sadaharitha team tours Assam to study best practices in Agarwood

A delegation from Sadaharitha Plantations Ltd including company’s Chairman, Sathis Nawarathne, toured Assam, in the south of eastern Himalayas recently, to get a hands-on experience of growing and marketing Agarwood, considered to be the world’s most sustainable investment in commercial forestry. Assam is known to be India’s Agarwood capital and sharing best practices in pricing, [...]

VirtusaPolaris Converse 2017 Summit Showcases Next-generation Technology Careers for Tech Graduates

VirtusaPolaris, a brand of Virtusa Corporation and Polaris Consulting and  Services, Ltd,recently hosted nearly 200 undergraduate tech students from 15 of the country’s leading universities and higher education institutions at the VirtusaPolaris Converse 2017 graduate meet up held at the British School in Colombo. The event which was organised as part of the company’s ongoing [...]

South African cricket seeks Sri Lankan sponsors

South African cricket authorities last week reached out to Sri Lanka’s corporate world, offering a chance to sponsor teams in a new T20 league tournament at the start of its 2017 domestic cricket season. In a tender notice in a local newspaper, governing body Cricket South Africa announced an invitation to secure franchise ownership for [...]

SLMC notice warns against misleading ads, advertorials

The Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) several days before an Appeal Court decision providing provisional registration to students of the South Asia Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM) placed a newspaper advertisement on what it called “certain misleading advertisements and advertorials”. This was pertaining to the recruitment of students for local and foreign medical and [...]

Rice-free diet helps iron man Ranjit Seneviratne beat the blues

Rice-free diet helps iron man Ranjit Seneviratne beat the blues

IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN: There was no serpent and Eve was missing. Adam, however, was there in the form of Ranjit Seneviratne, a spry 81-year-old who has had the flu only once in the past 11 years. I touch wood (my head) as he imparts this amazing bit of news as we walk through [...]

Tender bend straightens with issue of temporary NICs

Young Sri Lankans, reaching the age of 16 years and eligible to apply for a National Identity Card (NIC), will receive temporary plastic NICs due to the delay in the issue of the long-awaited electronic cards with biometric data. The temporary cards titled Interim NIC (INIC) will replace the 44-year old manually written laminated identity [...]

ReadMe joins hands with IT/BPM chamber in Sri Lanka

ReadMe, Sri Lanka’s premier IT magazine, and Sri Lankan Association of Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting the Sri Lankan IT/BPM industry growth and facilitate in the groundwork for the goals set to be achieved over the next few years. SLASSCOM, which is active in many [...]

One more year of fire-fighting, stock brokers say

One more year of fire-fighting,  stock brokers say

Most Sri Lankan stock brokers are giving just another (troubled) year for their very survival in the industry as the market continues in its dull and drab momentum. “After that, who knows,” said one exasperated dealer. The last straw was the directive issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) earlier this month mandating all [...]

ICTA implements speedy citizen service delivery system at MFA

ICTA implements speedy citizen service delivery system at MFA

Sri Lankans can now get their certificates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) attested and certified within five to 15 minutes, by simply accessing one single counter at the ministry’s consular division under a new electronic system. This came after the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) launched the electronic Document Attesting System (eDAS) [...]

Major promotion for Pure Ceylon Tea in Russia

Major promotion for Pure Ceylon Tea in Russia

Minister of Plantation Industries Naveen Dissanayake, Chairman of Sri Lanka Tea Board Rohan Pethiyagoda and with Managing Director Hyson Tea (Pvt) Ltd Lushantha de Silva (see picture) visited ‘Prodexpo2017’, the 24th International Exhibition for Food Beverages and Raw Materials, held at the Expocentre Fairgrounds, Moscow Russia from February 6 to 10. The minister inaugurated the [...]

AIA links up with DFCC in strategic bancassurance partnership

AIA Insurance Lanka PLC has entered into an exclusive, long-term, strategic bancassurance partnership with DFCC Bank PLC. The partnership is intended at offering DFCC’s customers a range of innovative savings and protection products and services along with the best of AIA’s experience and expertise in Asia. “As a pioneer of cancassurance in Sri Lanka, the [...]

Chinese Envoy at Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration

The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Yi Xianliang will deliver the 13th Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration on the topic “One Belt, One Road – Sri Lanka – China Relations.” on Wednesday, February 15 at the BMICH. The Annual Sujata Jayawardena Memorial Oration, is a premier annual event of the University of Colombo, hosted [...]

Tourism earnings and workers’ remittances cushion Lanka’s adverse trade balance

Earnings from workers’ remittances and tourism in 2016 continued to  minimise  the adverse impact of the trade deficit on the overall balance of payments, the Central Bank (CB) said this week in its monthly review of the economy. “Earnings from tourism were estimated to have increased by 14 per cent to around US$3.4 billion during [...] celebrates 10th anniversary with property show and expert discussions celebrates 10th anniversary with property show and expert discussions

Sri Lanka’s leading property website,, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the ‘Lanka Property Show’ on February 17-18.   Being held at JAIC Hilton, the show will feature the latest luxury apartments and villas, exclusive previews of new property launches, and provide an opportunity to meet Sri Lanka’s prominent developers showcasing their latest projects.   The [...]

Companies struggle to match increase in skill supply amidst a more, young educated labour force

Companies struggle to match increase in skill supply amidst a more, young educated labour force

With a record low of 46.9 per cent in 1992, Sri Lanka’s labour force participation rate has experienced an upwards trend and settled at around 53 per cent in the last two years. With labour force participation increasing, it is positive to observe a downward trend in the country’s unemployment rate, despite its minimal rise [...]

Proceed with caution in measuring Lanka’s poor

Proceed with caution in measuring Lanka’s poor

The Sri Lankan government has boldly declared 2017 as the ‘Year of poverty alleviation’. Reactions to this declaration have been mixed, with some applauding and remaining cautiously optimistic about the President’s promise, and others expressing a degree of skepticism, towards any actual follow through on such lofty rhetoric. After all, many governments around the world [...]

CRI able to accurately forecast 2015 nut production, report says

The Coconut Research Institute (CRI) has made huge advances in research and development for the year 2015 including an almost-accurate forecast of nut production, the institute said in a media release issued this week. Listing out its achievements, it said in research, the following happened in 2015: Long term research efforts lead to the development [...]

Fairway will plough Japanese investment in Multi Finance

Fairway Holdings, with main business interests in real estate, has bailed out Multi Finance PLC, a former Entrust Group Company that was in a bad financial state. The aim is to start lease financing for its apartment business, a top Fairway official said. He added that they intend to bring in a Japanese investor to [...]

Mineral Sands Ltd and Paranthan Chemicals eye upswing via PPP

Sri Lanka will be enhancing mineral sand and chemical exports by adding value to it under an ambitious plan to restructure Lanka Mineral Sands Ltd (LMSL) andParanthan Chemicals Factory, a cabinet memorandum prepared by the Prime Minister’s office revealed. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has recommended restructuring these two state owned enterprises (SOEs) on [...]

COYLE hosts diplomats aimed at improving commercial and diplomatic ties

COYLE hosts diplomats  aimed at improving commercial and diplomatic ties

The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) recently hosted High Commissioners, Ambassadors and representatives from diplomatic missions and international agencies at its 6th annual “Diplomats’ Evening” at the Galle Face Hotel. The event was aimed at facilitating opportunities to network, showcase successful partnerships and discuss new forms of cooperation between Sri Lankan businessmen and international [...]

2017 set to be a great year for Mitra Innovation

2017 set to be a great year for Mitra Innovation

Mitra Innovation, a technology innovation company based in Sri Lanka, Australia and the UK and set up in 2012 by three co-founders – Ashok Suppiah (CEO), Derek Bell (COO) and Dammika Ganegama (MD), is looking at major developments this year. It has ambitious plans for 2017 with regard  to technology innovation, advanced R&D and launching [...]

SAGT puts Sri Lanka’s maritime expertise on the world stage

SAGT puts Sri Lanka’s maritime expertise on the world stage

South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT), the first private container terminal operator in Sri Lanka with approximately 60 per cent Sri Lankan shareholdership, has yet again featured Sri Lanka prominently on the world maritime stage. This time SAGT was awarded the “Best Terminal in South Asia” by the Singapore-based Global Ports Forum (GPF) at a glittering [...]

Sri Lankan leather products exporters should focus on the fashion market

Sri Lankan manufacturers and exporters of footwear and leather goods should focus on more fashionable products like sports and athletics footwear as the profit margin in these categories are high and overcome rising raw material costs. This was stated by Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Commerce and Industry when he addressed the inauguration of the 9th [...]

PIA flight to London diverted with SriLankan operating crew

A Pakistan International Airlines flight, using a plane wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines, was on Tuesday ordered to be diverted by British authorities. PK757, an A330-300 aircraft wet-leased from SriLankan Airlines with a SriLankan Airlines operating crew, was en route from Lahore, Pakistan to London Heathrow, when it received a request from authorities in London to [...]

Launch of second print of Deepal’s book on ‘Inward Bound for Mindful Living’

How do you collaborate the spirituality of meditation with corporate management? Deepal Sooriyaarachchi’s book ‘Inward Bound’ explores how the currently ‘military-sounding’ business environment saturated with ideas such as ‘war room’, ‘penetrate’, ‘takeover’ and ‘obliterate’ can be balanced with spiritual attributes through ‘mindfulness’. First published in the UK in 2012, the second print now titled “Inward [...]

50 years on, ADB vows to help stimulate FDI to SL

The Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s role in the past years was filling the gap to meet the nation’s  requirements. But in the coming years and in the future the ADB will be looking at removing impediments for high investments and create a new engine of growth in the country, said Director General, South Asia Regional [...]

Top marks for Sri Lanka from Fitch Rating

Sri Lanka received top marks from a global rating agency on Thursday when Fitch Ratings affirmed Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at ‘B+’ and revised the ‘Outlook to Stable from Negative’. Fitch, in a  report released to the media on Thursday, said that the country’s fiscal performance was better [...]

Ceylinco General Insurance announces premium income of Rs.16.1 bln

Ceylinco General Insurance Ltd has, during 2016 recorded a premium income of Rs.16.1 billion up by 18.9 per cent, from Rs.2.5 billion in the previous year. Patrick Alwis, Managing Director of Ceylinco General Insurance, was quoted in a company media release as saying, “Despite the price undercutting practised by some players, customers have understood the [...]

Trade unions rights established at two FTZ factories

Trade unions, helped by international unions and pressure from European ambassadors, won a major battle in a Katunayake Free Trade Zone  company  that was opposing attempts to set up a trade union. On Tuesday February 7, referendums were held at the factories of ATG Occupational and ATG Ceylon under Labour Department supervision with over 40 [...]

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