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“Wattakka on my head”

“Wattakka on my head”

A trader lifts a 28-kg, giant pumpkin received from Jaffna which was sold for Rs.3160 at the Dambulla Economic Centre and expected to fetch a much higher price in the retail market. The prices of vegetables have soared due to short supply following recent drought conditions, a sharp contrast from the Western, Southern and Sabaragamuwa [...]

Killer bureaucracy impedes tea exports

Killer bureaucracy impedes  tea exports

Sri Lanka’s government sector is steeped in bureaucracy so much so that its repercussions on the economy spell delays and setbacks, particularly for tea exporters who have been adversely impacted. President Maithripala Sirisena’s own admission that the bureaucratic machinery that causes delay should be overlooked at a time of crisis clearly highlights the problems encountered [...]

Credible CB Governor has brought macro-stability – Fitch

Emphasising ‘clear signals’ pertaining to monetary policy, the new management at the Central Bank (CB) has shown an ‘unambiguous’ consolidation path as against earlier, says a top rating analyst. Without this ‘clear consolidation’ it wasn’t apparent whether the said policies will stabilise the economy,” Fitch Ratings’ Associate Director Sovereign Ratings, Sagarika Chandra told journalists on [...]

Sri Lanka devises digital economic strategy with McKinsey assistance

Sri Lanka is devising a digital economic strategy with the assistance of a worldwide management consulting firm in order to successfully face future economic and social challenges, official sources said. A digital economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies. This ambitious initiative fundamentally seeks to ensure that public financial services [...]

Sri Lanka, China conclude 6th round negotiations

Sri Lanka is closing in on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China after ending the sixth round of negotiations on trade in services with senior officials hopeful that the deal could be concluded soon. According to agreed minutes of trade in services working group meeting held in Beijing, China recently, both sides further exchanged [...]

Browns to sell 5 hotels

Browns Investments, controlled by the LOLC Group, plans to sell five of its hotels – The Eden Resort and Spa in Beruwala, Dickwella Resorts, The Paradise Resort & Spa in Dambulla, The Calm Resort and Spa in Pasikudah and Kosgoda Turtle Bay (still being built), informed sources said. The share price surge at Eden during [...]

Export or perish

Export or perish

Haven’t we heard this cry before, in the 1980s when Lalith Athulathmudali was Trade Minister and Sri Lanka had just woken up from a period of deep slumber (1970-1977) when restrictions were the order of the day? Sri Lanka cannot also lay claim to the expression “export or perish” as it was a slogan first [...]

Sri Lanka introduces new international residency scheme

Sri Lanka introduces new  international residency scheme

The Government is planning to introduce a scheme somewhat akin to the ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ via introduction of a new law in Sri Lanka. For this purpose a Bill dated May 29, 2017 has been specifically published and is yet to be enacted in to Law. The preamble reads an “Act to provide for [...]

Pathfinder Foundation discusses ‘sustainable exploitation’ of the Indian Ocean

The Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives of the Pathfinder Foundation recently conducted a round-table discussion on “Bilateral Cooperation for promoting Blue Economy” in collaboration with the Vivekananda International Foundation, in New Delhi. The focus of discussion centered on the theme “Sustainable Exploitation of Marine Resources.” Three main areas were addressed during the two-day meeting  – sustainable [...]

SL plagued with a lame duck government, says former CB deputy governor

The Sri Lankan government at present is made up of “birds – ostrich, lame duck and icarus while seeking to take a flamingo flight without addressing its own weaknesses”, says W.A Wijewardena, former deputy governor of the Central Bank. Addressing a gathering of experts in the logistics sector on ‘Sri Lanka’s competitiveness in the region [...]

Asia Asset Finance moves ahead with a steep growth trajectory

Asia Asset Finance PLC (AAF), a licensed finance company, is now on a steep growth trajectory after the company’s tie up with Muthoot Finance a 128 year-old, Indian family-owned firm, an official at the helm of the company said. A large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and micro business enterprises across the country [...]

Tourism, worker remittances top forex in 2010/16

Not unexpected, tourism and worker remittances made the biggest foreign exchange gains between 2010 and 2016, a new report from the Ministry of Finance shows. In its 2016 annual report released last week, Ministry statistics show that while export earnings rose to US$10 billion in 2016 against $8.6 billion in 2010, tourism revenue soared to [...]

Snapshots, interesting data and drawings in SL annual reports

Snapshots, interesting data and drawings in SL annual reports

Annual reports of Sri Lankan corporates can be boring and loaded with technical data which few shareholders and the public understand but they could also be interesting particularly in the context of businesses that are showing profit and geared for growth. In a cursory glance at a couple of annual reports this week as many [...]

SLT successfully tests pre-5G LTE Advanced Pro Technology

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) together with Huawei Technologies, has successfully carried out South Asia’s first comprehensive field trial of Pre-5G LTE Advanced Pro technology, laying the groundwork for the next generation of broadband technologies. In a media release, SLT said it has continued to develop its modern infrastructure; complementing its access technology portfolio with FTTH [...]

CTC relief worth Rs. 13 mln to flood victims

The Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) and its employees recently donated flood relief items worth over Rs. 13 million to victims of floods and landslides in several areas of the country. “As a company that has been a part of Sri Lanka for over a century and stood by the country during its most difficult [...]

Raigam’s salt units do well, aim to monopolise the market

Raigam Wayambha Salterns PLC wants to monopolise the salt market in Sri Lanka but says it is being deterred by small timers in the market who appear to be offering a bigger margin to the retailers. This was stated by company Chairman/Executive Director Ravi Liyanage, at a media briefing held in Colombo last week where [...]

Sri Lankan food imports not tested for quality or subject to health safety standards

That Sri Lankans are vulnerable to sub-standard food items as there is no mechanism to check the quality of food sold, especially in loose form compared to the branded packaged form, specially items like rice, sugar, etc, emerged at a media briefing this week in Colombo. These revelations came up during the media briefing by [...]

What no VAT?

The VAT uploading system at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has been badly implemented and not working for many months now. Under this system, filing of VAT details was supposed to be through the computer system. However, the system has not been working for the last six months and the IRD insists all the companies [...]

CreateLab – Creating futures

CreateLab – Creating futures

Our kids learn in a system of education set up for a world that ‘progressively more and more’ does not exist. Yes it’s hard to imagine, but it’s true. It was worse earlier, but now too to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, etc has always been a matter of great esteem. Analysing general [...]

90 % engineering work for Silicon Valley start-up ‘Sysco Labs’

More than 90 per cent of the engineering work will be handled in Sri Lanka for ‘Sysco Labs’ (former Cake Labs), US-based Silicon Valley start-up company, according to Sysco Labs – Sri Lanka Managing Director, Shanil Fernando, speaking to the Business Times on the sidelines of an event organised by the company last week. Sysco, [...]

Attitude is everything for successful start-ups

Someone once said that ‘your passion may determine what you can do, but your attitude redefines how far you can go while you do what you can.’ Sadly in the Sri Lankan start-up context attitude takes a back seat. So says Lanka Angel Network (LAN) founder and venture capital fund, BOV Capital partner, Prajeeth Balasubramaniam. [...]

Auxenta’s new office dedicated to product innovation

Auxenta’s new office dedicated  to product innovation

Auxenta Inc, a Silicon Valley based IT company, recently moved to a new state-of-the-art office in Colombo with a modern workspace designed to create an exciting work environment for nurturing new ideas. It is dedicated to the company’s product innovations, one of which is to be launched soon – MillionSpaces. Commenting on the new office, [...]

South Korea, a haven for business start-ups

 Opportunities will be provided for entrepreneurs under the “K – Start-up Grand Challenge competition” of South Korea to display their start-ups to enter the South Korean market in order to expand their reach to global customers.The project is conducted and financed by the Korean government. The global start-up event is open to technology-based start-ups having [...]

Price wars, oversupply cloud country’s thriving leisure sector

Price wars, oversupply cloud country’s thriving leisure sector

Price wars, lack of a national plan and proper regulation, and oversupply are plaguing Sri Lanka’s tourism and hospitality sector, according to several companies in the business. These concerns have been reflected by many hotel companies namely John Keells, Aitken Spence, Hemas Hotels, Grand Hotel (Nuwara Eliya) and Pegasus Reef in their 2016/17 annual reports [...]

Awakening of a tourist promise unexplored, under- travelled

The southern tip of Sri Lanka is opening up to live a tourist promise for the discerning traveller in the quest for an unexplored and largely under travelled region opened up by the Ruhunu Tourist Board. Authorities have plans to develop this area by highlighting a number of tourist attractions like the Ridigama Safari Park, [...]

Udaya heads SLTPB

Udaya heads SLTPB

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has appointed Udaya Nanayakkara as its Chairman, assuming office from June 6. Mr. Nanayakkara, a veteran in the tourism industry previously too held the office of Chairman of the Sri Lankan Tourist Board. Meanwhile Paddy Withana who continues as Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman was previously the acting [...]

Regulators roll up sleeves in seven tourist hubs

Tourism’s regulators are readying to give the industry’s stakeholders a good deal by revamping some of the key cities that attract the largest number of travellers focusing on holidaymakers’ requirements and addressing social concerns. As part of the master plan of the tourism industry the government will be looking at improving, in the first, round, [...]

Robotics and AI the next frontier in hospitality

With tourism being one of the fastest growing industries in the world, the demand for workforce in the hospitality sector is also rapidly increasing. As technology advances rapidly with new emerging trends, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) will replace the human workforce in the hospitality sector in the future, according to Manesh Fernando, General Manager [...]

Ports veteran Parakrama Dissanayake takes over as SLPA Chairman

Ports veteran Parakrama Dissanayake takes over as SLPA Chairman

Veteran ports and shipping logistics expert, Parakrama Dissanayake was last week appointed Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), assuming this position for the second time in his career. Dr. Dissanayake was the Chairman of SLPA from 2001 – 2004 and is also a past Chairman of state owned Jaya Container Terminals Ltd and the [...]

Wijemanne, new President of IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka

Channe Wijemanne, Director/CEO of George Steuart Travel Ltd has been elected as the President of the IATA Agents Association of Sri Lanka (IATA – AASL) at the 29th AGM of the association held recently in Muscat, Oman. Rizmi Reyal, Chairman/ Managing Director of The Traveller Global (Pvt) Ltd was elected as the Vice President. The [...]

Finally, new deputy governor appointed

Finally, new deputy governor appointed

The Monetary Board (MB), with the concurrence of the new Finance Minister, has promoted Assistant Governor, K.D. Ranasinghe to the vacant post of Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CB) with effect from April 30. This follows the April 30 retirement of S. Lankatillake from the post, and dilly-dallying for weeks by [...]

MTI Consulting marks 20 years

MTI Consulting, since its humble 1997 beginnings in Bahrain and Sri Lanka, celebrates 20 years in the business and in the process has been recognized as an internationally networked boutique management consultancy for delivering impactful business solutions. In a media release, MTI said it has carried out over 530 projects across 42 countries and worked [...]

‘Seven Trails’ – Natural Disaster Readiness for Corporates

‘Seven Trails’ – Natural Disaster Readiness for Corporates

A flood of water was what it appeared at the outset – and a ‘flood of tears’ what it really was in the end. A year after the 2016 floods – and 13 years after the 2004 Tsunami -, we were mercilessly tested for the ‘Aqua Challenge’ once more and it exposed our readiness deficiencies [...]

Managing disasters: It’s time to shift gears

While there are so many waiting to find fault with the present government, we should also be thankful to our President for taking a very bold and timely decision to stop the import of vehicles for all Government institutions this year, considering the outcome of the adverse weather conditions, which caused havoc in the country. [...]

Why every day should be environment day

In the first six months of this year, Sri Lanka has experienced a number of major events that demonstrate exactly how critical managing the environment is. Drought, landslides, a garbage avalanche, flash floods – and many other events at scales that have not caught the attention of those not affected. The damage to lives and [...]

PickMe’s SOS/AID help flood relief and rescue efforts

PickMe’s unique in-app features – SOS and AID, once again came to the fore supporting rescue and ongoing relief efforts for people who had been affected by floods and landslides. Using PickMe’s SOS feature, Sri Lankans who were stranded during the adverse weather could click the SOS icon on their app, helping PickMe to identify [...]

Qatar drama: How it affects India

With four Arab nations cutting their diplomatic ties from Qatar for fostering terrorism, West Asia is headed into a major turmoil in the coming days. Travel within the region from Doha, the capital of Qatar, is likely to be impossible in the immediate future. Qatari citizens resident in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have [...]

2022 World Cup in Qatar under threat

The prospect of Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup has been plunged into the most serious doubt after the country’s neighbours broke off diplomatic relations and blockaded its borders. In a culmination of hostilities simmering for years and accusations that Qatar is a major funder of terrorist organisations, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and [...]

Gulf crisis to impact Qatar’s economy

Doha’s trade and transportation sectors will suffer greatly, with further impacts on finance and investment. We will never know whether Qatari decision makers were aware of the dangerous repercussions that might unfold if Qatar continues its double standards and ambiguity in dealings with its brotherly Gulf Cooperation Council nations. The Gulf countries were very patient [...]

Airbus CEO worried by Qatar crisis, risk of hard Brexit

REUTERS, London – The head of Airbus expressed worries about growing geopolitical uncertainties on Thursday, calling the rift between key customer Qatar and its Gulf neighbors troubling and warning of the impact of a “hard Brexit” on the planemaker’s UK operations. “Any disruption in any mature region or market that is relevant for us is [...]


The Qatar crisis is threatening to impact across many sectors and in Sri Lanka’s context in the absorption of migrant workers. The series of articles on this page (which are current up to Thursday June reflect the pros and cons of the impact on the region and the world economy with a pro-Qatar and or [...]

IMF looks forward to final IRA version

International Monetary Fund (IMF) is looking forward to the final version of the new Inland Revenue Act (IRA) to fully evaluate the proposed taxation framework while holding back the third tranche of US$168 million out of the total $1.5 billion extended fund facility to Sri Lanka. IMF’s endorsement for the government’s economic strategy and its [...]

Sri Lanka late in adopting green building techniques

Sri Lanka has been too late in adopting the green building construction concept whereas Europe and some other countries have significantly adopted this concept was the view expressed by Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Megapolis and Western Development. He was addressing the inauguration of the Construction Expo 2017 held at the BMICH last week which [...]

Hayleys launches own online tea portal

Hayleys launches own online tea portal

Hayleys group this week, announced its entry into digital marketing e-commerce platform through the launch of its latest website, to promote the finest garden fresh Pure Ceylon Teas. This is from its own tea estates Kelani Valley and Talawakelle under Mabroc brand and coincides with the 150th Anniversary celebrations of Ceylon Tea. Hayleys partnered [...]

SLT land phones

With the proliferation in the use of mobile phones, the usage of the land phones is now very limited. Subscribers of the land phones have to pay the monthly rentals including the taxes (which incidentally is a whopping 49.67 per cent being levied on the rental) irrespective of the usage. Why can’t Sri Lanka Telecom [...]

Taiwan and Sri Lanka trade opportunities

The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and industries of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Taipei World Trade Centre is organizing a business forum to explore opportunities available in both countries. The forum will be held on June 14 at the Atrium Lobby, Cinnamon Grand, Colombo starting at 9.30am and will be followed by B2B [...]

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