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Playing in a train

Playing in a train

What’s unusual about a portable organ in a local train? A measure of progress! Over the years, musicians earning a living by singing and playing in a bus, bus station or train were mostly accompanied by a rabana, congo drum, flute, mouth organ and occasionally a guitar. Now street musicians are also taking on board [...]

High Posts committee exercise is futile

Is the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts examining the suitability of persons to state organisations, a futile, money-wasting effort? “Yes I believe it’s a futile exercise. The suitability of candidates must be examined prior to their appointment, not after,” says former parliamentarian D.E.W. Gunasekera. The attention of the Business Times was drawn by a reader [...]

Ravi’s move to get key institutions perturbs donors

  Newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s demand to bring institutions such as the Development Lotteries Board, National Lotteries Board, Mahapola Scholarship Fund, SriLankan Airlines, Hingurana Sugar and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under his purview has come under fire by three donor agencies, government sources revealed. The World Bank, International Mandatory Fund and [...]

CB Dep. Governor post still vacant

The Central Bank (CB) is yet to appoint a new deputy governor to a vacant position, nearly four weeks after S. Lankatillake retired from the post. Though the CB’s Monetary Board (MB) had submitted its nominee to fill the vacancy, the Finance Ministry has been dilly-dallying over the appointment amidst speculation that the terms of [...]

Long term $24 billion credit line to SL under OBOR initiative

Sri Lanka has been offered a long-term US$ 24 billion credit line from China under the ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, official sources revealed. This was a major outcome of Sri Lanka‘s participation in this forum in Beijing recently  a senior official said adding that the Sri Lankan delegation headed by Prime Minister Ranil [...]

No teeth for proposed Development Agency

With the stalling of the controversial Development (Special Provisions) Bill, the ‘Agency for Development’ set up at the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry is in a quandary without legal teeth for fast-tracking, streamlining and attracting Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), officials said. The agency was set up after receiving cabinet approval on 25-10 -2016 to [...]

Saga of the depositors of failed companies

  Saga of the depositors of failed companies The Finance and Guarantee (Property Developers) and (Real Estate) companies have been two subsidiary companies of the Ceylinco Group under the chairmanship of Lalith Kotelawala. We, the depositors of these two companies have invested our hard-earned monies in these two companies in the hope of getting a [...]

“Fighter to the end” – Kussi Amma Sera

“Fighter to the end” – Kussi Amma Sera

Hats off toKussi Amma Sera’s column piece titled “Fighter to the end” on May 12. On the one hand, it’s a sympathetic journalistic responsibility, towards an innocent group of human beings, craftily misled by thestate backed financial crooks. On the other, the article represents a bold example of how facts could be twisted byso called [...]

Legacy of ministers

Legacy of ministers

The compound outside was being vigorously swept as Kussi Amma Sera happily tested her new set of garden implements. The sound of the ekel broom swishing the leaves off the rain-swept ground was music to the ears. Gathering the leaves with a new rake, KAS said, “Mahattaya, hari santhosai, aluth baduth eka wedakaranna, apey aluth [...]

Colombo University holds “Stat Day”

The Stat Circle, a society formed by the students of the Faculty of  Science, University of Colombo, held “Stat Day 2017”, on March 30 at the  main auditorium of the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It was attended by many distinguished guests from the  government sector, private sector and academia, and undergraduates from  state universities and [...]

Now ‘tea-on-a-plate’ for world chefs via Dilmah

Now ‘tea-on-a-plate’ for world chefs via Dilmah

Believe it ornot now tea is not only served in a cup but also on a plate, thanks to ‘Dilmah Tea’ – pioneers who promoted ‘Pure Ceylon (Sri Lanka) tea as a brand all over the world and now exported to more than 120 countries. Dilmah is now helping to brand Sri Lanka Tourism by [...]

Travel and the sharing economy

Travel and the sharing economy

  Travellers want the human face back in tourism in a digital age where machines book your hotel room, air ticket and other needs, say experts.   According to Rafat Ali, Founder/ CEO of Skift, a US-based travel industry intelligence and marketing platform, research shows that travellers are yearning for a ‘more human touch’ and [...]

Are communities safe from strangers in local communities?

Are communities safe from strangers in local communities?

Does Airbnb pay taxes? This was one of thekeenly-sought after queries from delegates at the 2017 annual Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) summit held in Sri Lanka’s west coast town of Negombo over the weekend. “Yes we do pay taxes and want to pay taxes,” was Airbnb official Thao Nguyen’s stock answer to the many [...]

SriLankan adds new routes in India, flies to Vietnam

  Sri Lanka’s national carrier is planning to fly to more destinations in India, increase frequencies to Hong Kong and launch a new service to Vietnam. SriLankan Airlines Chairman Ajit Dias told reporters, on the sidelines of the May 18-20 annual summit of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), that the debt-ridden airline is adding [...]

New tool to measure tourism impact

New tool to measure tourism impact

The World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) is planning to introduce nextmonth  a new method of measuring the impact of tourism and its benefit to a country’s economic and social wellbeing instead of relying on arrivals alone. UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai said they would be launching the Measurement of Sustainable Tourism (MST) index as a tool [...]

PATA talks disruption, innovation to foster new age tourism

PATA talks disruption, innovation to foster new age tourism

The future of tourism looks disruptive to the current system with innovation the key concept and transformation in marketing skills set to make a trend in the new age through millennial professionals taking the lead. An interesting feature of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) 2017 Conference held at the Jetwing Blue, Negombo last week [...]

Palm oil the winner at Watawala Plantations

Watawala Plantations PLC has seen its profit rise to its highest-ever in the history of the company purely owing to its palm oil plantations against traditional crop – tea. Out of the company’s net profit of Rs. 1,230 million for the year ending March 2017, which was an increase of Rs.712 million from the previous [...]

Key insurance executives come together to discuss new trends

GrayMatter Software Services and Global Business Counselling (GBC) jointly conducted an event for key executives from the insurance industry recently at the Hilton Colombo Residences, in Sri Lanka. The attendees were C-Suite officers and senior IT/PMO personnel from Top Tier Insurance companies in Sri Lanka, such as AIA, Amana Takaful, Janashkathi, Union Assurance (UAL), UAG [...]

Sexual harassment of female workers at FTZs dominates seminar on voting rights

A  recent discussion on the right of voting and increasing female representation in Parliament for women employed in free trade zones at Katunayake, Biyagama and Wathupitiwala turned out to be  a forum where the woes of the women and their problems were expressed. Mahinda Deshapriya, Chairman – Elections Commission, was the keynote speaker at the [...]

NDB committed to bring success to women entrepreneurs

NDB committed to bring success to women entrepreneurs

Microfinance services have become an important tool as they start contributing to the economy by providing support to uplift and encourage especially women. Over the years manyorganisations have worked towards empowering women and have seen positive growth in their skills through the support of microfinance in most parts of the country. The NDB in a [...]

No existing industry can provide jobs for today’s youth – ICTA CEO

While start-ups are taking the lead among today’s young generation, none of the existing industries can provide jobs for aspiring talented individuals, according to Muhunthan Canagey, Managing Director/CEO of Information and Communication Technology Agency in Sri Lanka (ICTA). “Start-ups are the only way forward among upcoming youth in the country to become successful business men [...]

Dr.Web security useful against ransomware

Dr. Web Security Space Rescue Pack saves users from encryption ransomware, a product marketed in Sri Lanka by PanAudio Pvt Ltd. The company said that Doctor Web is a unique product used by the Russian defense forces that is dedicated to providing security against the threat landscape of malware on the worldwideweb (WWW). Dr. Web’s [...]

Dialog powers annual developer conference

Dialog Exiata PLC in collaboration with Google Developer Group (GDG) Sri Lanka presented the ‘Google I (annual developer conference) Extended’ for the first time in Sri Lanka in 2016, which was the largest extended event happening outside the US and held for the second time in Sri Lanka this year. Dialog Axiata powered the country’s [...]

Women Leadership Summit: Closing the gender gap

Last week’s Colombo Women Leadership Summit 2017 clearly sent out a message that mirrored what Kathleen Schafer, a leadership guide, speaker and author had said, “Leadership is not about men in suits. It is a way of life for those who know who they are and are willing to be their best to create the [...]

Janashakthi records double digit growth in Premiums in Q1 2017

Janashakthi Insurance PLC (Janashakthi) reported a 14 per cent Year on Year  (YoY) growth in consolidated Gross Written Premium (GWP) which stood at Rs.3.789 billion for the three month period ending 31st March 2017. The insurer in a media release recorded a consolidated Profit After Tax  (PAT) of Rs.217 million at the end of Q1 [...]

Hayleys crosses Rs.100 billion turnover in 2016/17

Leading Sri Lankan conglomerate Hayleys PLC concluded the 2016/17 financial year with its strongest performance to-date, setting a new benchmark for the turnover among listed Sri Lankan corporates. Revenue during the year increased by 21 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs. 111.4 billion supported by strong performances across the group’s core businesses spanning transportation, purification, [...]

SWT Associates admitted as independent member of IAPA International

SWT Associates admitted as independent member of IAPA International

UK-based International Association of Practising Accountants (IAPA) recently inducted chartered accountant firm SWT Associates as its member firm in Sri Lanka at the group’s international conference held in Dubai last month. Martin Clapson, IAPA Vice-Chairman, said, “Success in a global market comes from local knowledge. We are delighted to recruit such a dynamic and progressive [...]

Tea Board cuts red tape on tea exports

  In a bid to cut down on the bureaucracy that is hurting tea exporters, the Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB) has taken measures to use state-run laboratories outside of the institution to speed up quality tests. Laboratories of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) and the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) have been used since [...]

GSP+ big boost to exports, Business Chamber says

The Colombo-based Business Chamber of Commerce has expressed its happiness that Sri Lanka has finally been able to regain GSP+ which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on exports. “We are happy to join the rest of the chambers of commerce and all other trade promotion organisations in offering our congratulations to the Government which [...]

Waste and affluence: More money, more garbage

Waste and affluence: More money, more garbage

The catastrophe that was Meethotamulla in mid-April during what should have been a joyous time of anticipating a New Year was a stark warning of a serious man-made disaster that can recur, not just in Kolonnawa but in other areas as well. Smaller dumps due to indiscriminate dumping can be seen rising up in various [...]

CB Governor’s comments on ‘bubble’ excessive, says condo builder

Sri Lankan condo industry officials are reacting strongly to a comment by Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy that the industry is getting overheated with too much credit and prospects of a bubble. “I know we are living in a post truth world, but some of the broad generalisations made by the Governor are excessive, precipitous [...]

Many Sri Lankan products can be exported to India, Pakistan duty-free

Sri Lanka’s Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade agreement and the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Agreement allow more than 8000 products to be exported to these two markets on zero duty basis, said the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Rishad Bathiudeen addressing a media briefing at the Hilton Hotel Colombo last week in connection with the SAARC Trade Fair [...]

Maintaining Growth in a Fast-Aging Asia

SINGAPORE – Asia has been the world champion of economic growth for decades, and this year will be no exception. According to the latest International Monetary Fund Regional Economic Outlook (REO), the Asia-Pacific region’s GDP is projected to increase by 5.5% in 2017 and 5.4% in 2018. Despite escalating geopolitical tensions, most countries in the [...]

Mitra – Stitching solutions to improve daily life

Innovation is the salient buzz word for tech businesses, whose managements are always seeking out new ideas from start-ups, incubated projects or other unusual channels, listening for murmurs which may disrupt their industry. In such a scenario, it’s not incredulous if Sri Lankans will use drones to count or even pluck coconuts. So says Dhammika [...]

Fonterra’s Rs. 2 bln investment creates sustainable impact across Sri Lanka

Fonterra’s Rs. 2 bln investment creates sustainable impact across Sri Lanka

Fonterra Brands Sri Lanka is seeing sustainable returns from its 10- year plan to build a thriving dairy industry and improve access to locally-made dairy products. In a media release, the dairy co-operative behind Anchor said it recently surpassed the Rs. 2 billion investment-mark, which has contributed to a strong and sustainable wave of change. [...]

Unions urge PM to call stakeholder meeting on GSP+

Sri Lankan unions have urged Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to immediately call a meeting of stakeholders in garments and other industries to discuss the way forward in the GSP+ concessions agenda. “We call upon you to convene a meeting of all stakeholders without delay to discuss modalities to set up a monitoring committee as proposed [...]

BILEETA hosts customers to ERP forum

BILEETA, a company with an award-winning Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution, hosted customers to a B2C event focusing on the company’s product portfolio and unique offering. The event kicked off with CEO Sanji de Silva addressing the guests on the importance of deploying an efficient, reliable and scalable ERP solution to benefit from return on [...]

‘Cobots’ by Universal Robots to catch on in Sri Lanka

‘Cobots’ by Universal Robots to catch on in Sri Lanka

  The virtual reality that we only seein the big screen is now real.  Remember all the sci-fi thrillers Short Circuit, The Iron Giant, Bicentennial Man, Terminator, I, Robot, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Real Steel, RoboCop, and Transformers? Remember dismissing them as science fiction? Remember wishing that all-purpose live-in robot maid Rosie the Robot from The [...]

99X Technology Quiz Team crowned champions at Biz Quiz 2017

99X Technology Quiz Team crowned champions at Biz Quiz 2017

  The 99X Technology Quiz Team, after hours of a tense battle among some of the most knowledgeable masterminds in the corporate sector, emergedvictorious and was crowned the Overall Champions at the fifth Glitz Biz Quiz. The company also won the sector award for the IT and Software Category – retaining this title for the [...]

Demand for office space rising: 5 mln sq ft expected by 2030

While the real estate sector is booming rapidly with numerous high rise buildings coming up round the corner, especially within the Colombo city, there is lack of office space, says Aasim Mukthar, CEO of Lanka Exhibitions and Conference Services (LECS). The demand for office space is increasing in Sri Lanka by many foreign and local [...]

DFCC 1Q2017 sees 42% hike in net profit

  The DFCC Group saw its first quarter 2017 consolidated post-tax profit rise by 42 per cent to Rs.1.37 billion from the same end March quarter in 2016, the company said last  week. From this the bank’s post-tax profit alone rose by 45 per cent to Rs. 1.34 billion in the period under review. The [...]

Top design firms compete to redefine urban plans for Colombo Port city and Marina

  The International Urban Design Idea Competition, an effort conceived and initiated by CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd under the sanction of International Union of Architects (UIA) concluded successfully, with enticing innovative and sustainable urban plans for the proposed Financial District and the Marina, located within Colombo Port City. Organised for the first time [...]

Sri Lanka Customs ‘Rosewood’ sale sparks controversy

Sri Lanka Customs has been embroiled in a controversial ‘Rosewood’ sale three days before Monday’s cabinet reshuffle in which Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake took over the Foreign Minister’s portfolio, trade union officials of the department told the Business Times. The Customs incurred a loss of more than Rs. 1 billion due to improper tender procedure [...]

Amãna Bank gets capital boost from ICD

Amãna Bank gets capital boost from ICD

IB Growth Fund (Labuan) LLP, a subsidiary of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), is to increase its stake to nearly 30 per cent in Amana Bank through the bank’s forthcoming rights issue. In a media release, Amana said it had received confirmation from this foreign partner of such intention. [...]

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