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Hard times ahead

Hard times ahead

A small-time street trader trudges along with all-purpose baskets for sale in Colombo. Most traders and businesses are going through hard times with consumers being battered by natural and man-made disasters and living costs rising. Pic by Amila Gamage

Government suspends ICTA’s NPP

Sri Lanka’s controversial National Payment Platform (NPP) developed by the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) has been suspended. This follows allegations against the agency that it took arbitrary action in handing over its operations to private companies without Central Bank regulation. National Policies and Economic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Harsha De Silva told the [...]

PIA pays back $2 mln in A330 aircraft wet lease arrears

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has paid US$2 million to SriLankan Airlines recently as delayed payments and lease installments inclusive of extra flying hours of A330 aircraft wet leased to Pakistan’s national carrier in August last year, a senior official closely connected to PIA disclosed. This settlement of arrears was made, more than four months after [...]

CB Dep. Governor Samarasiri retires

Deputy Governor Central Bank P. Samarasiri on Friday retired from the banking regulator in a career that was plagued by allegations of complicity in the Central Bank (CB) bond scam under former Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s watch. Earlier attempts by former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, to extend his term (from August 18 when he reaches 60 [...]

Nano degrees from SL’s Nano Institute

Sri Lanka’s path-breaking Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology Pvt Ltd has been recognized as a degree-awarding institution by the Ministry of Higher Education and Highways. According to a gazette notification issued on Wednesday, the institute can offer degree courses in Master of Philosophy in Nano and Advanced Technology leading to the MPhil (Nano and Advanced [...]

LAUGFS gets Sinosure financing

On the back of securing a financing facility of US$ 20 million by China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) for the 30,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) Import and Export Terminal at Hambantota, LAUGFS Terminals Ltd is mulling some options to fund the rest of this mega project, top officials say. LAUGFS Gas PLC and Standard [...]

Budget blues and welcome showers

Budget blues and welcome showers

It was a welcome shower on Thursday evening in the city of Colombo, providing at least some coolness amidst dusty and warm evenings. Showers were also experienced in other parts of the country, in varying degrees and at various times. However, the devastating drought still persists and affected populations across the island are complaining that [...]

Adverse impact from cess removal on imported products –NCE

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) has raised concerns over the proposed withdrawal of ‘Cess’ on certain imports and the export ‘Cess’ imposed on certain primary materials, urging prior consultation with the private sector in future. The NCE, in a media statement, said that the cess should be stipulated to a time [...]

Central Bank takes umbrage over former ICTA CEO Canagey’s claims

Central Bank takes umbrage over former ICTA CEO Canagey’s claims

Sri Lanka’s Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) appears to have ignored a request from the Central Bank (CB) made more than a year ago – in mid-2016 – for details of the controversial National Payments Platform (NPP) even though the banking regulator is the authority under which such a mechanism must function. While ICTA [...]

GDP growth seen at 6% in 2018, Finance Ministry says

All budget proposals from ministries for next year should accompany the output targets with KPI (Key Performance Indicators) to comply with the performance budget, the Finance Ministry said on Tuesday. Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mr. Mangala Samaraweera is due to present the 2018 Budget in Parliament in November, his first since assuming office. [...]

Japanese consortium breaks Central Expressway impasse

The long-drawn impasse in the commencement of the third section of the Central Expressway (CE III) has ended with the Sri Lanka Government’s decision to allow two Japanese companies to form a consortium to carry out construction work. Considering the recommendation made by the Japanese Government and the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM), the [...]

Maliban launches new kids-learn ABC biscuit

Maliban launches new kids-learn ABC biscuit

Maliban, Sri Lanka’s famous biscuit brand, recently launched a new custom-made biscuit for children, helping to learn the ABC alphabet while munching away. The Maliban ‘ABC Learnies Biscuit’ which contains Folic Acid, Iron and Calcium is a nutritious snack for the growing age group. In a media release, the renowned brand said the company – [...]

eMarketingEye earns 19 wins at Horizon Interactive Awards

eMarketingEye earns 19 wins at Horizon Interactive Awards

eMarketingEye (, the award-winning Sri Lankan digital marketing agency and a pioneer in the industry, bagged 19 awards at the prestigious Horizon Interactive Awards competition held recently. This was the first time the company had participated in this particular international competition, the company said in a media release. The 19 awards included 4 Gold awards, [...]

UK University collaboration explores IOT security solution

A consortium of network security engineers from the UK and India drawn from academia and industry are exploiting the possibilities within blockchain architecture to provide security in Internet of Things (IOT) applications for healthcare data sharing. A media release issued by City, University of London Communications Department, quoted Professor of Network Engineering at City, University [...]

Ten UNDP staffers join ‘talent’ event in Denmark

Ten UNDP staff members from across the globe have joined 1,000 bright global talents at the UNLEASH 2017 Innovation Lab event that is held from August 13 to 21 in Denmark. Select UNDP talents from country offices, regional offices and headquarters, together with other talents are competing in seven themes: Water, Food, Energy, Sustainable production [...]

CIMA competition offers great opportunities for local start-ups

CIMA competition offers great opportunities for local start-ups

CIMA Launch Pad, a competition seen encouraging and pushing Sri Lankan start-ups to be bold, brave and progressive in a global context, will begin receiving registrations for the 2017 competition sometime this month. The event has been recognised as a pivotal platform for budding young entrepreneurs. It is a rigorous two-month programme which aims to [...]

Offshoring 3.0: Innovation and Strategy

Offshoring 3.0: Innovation and Strategy

Either the corporates have learned to turn a deaf ear to the decades old argument, ‘offshoring doesn’t work’, or they have found a workable model to produce the expected results of software offshoring. Either way, corporations in developed economies today have accepted the norm of offshoring their software projects. 2016 statistics show that the global [...]

Sourcing products through renting

There is a growing trend for pay-as-you-go services. The basic idea is why own something when you can rent it only when you need it, say promoters of a new start-up. As businesses focus on their core business and innovation and operating in a lean way, rental or sharing economy models are becoming increasingly important. [...]

Mitra Innovation now an AWS Standard

Sri Lankan/UK based company Mitra Innovation; specialising in cloud integration, digital transformation, and product incubation; has become a Standard Consulting Partner for Amazon Web Services (AWS). Currently, there are only three companies in Sri Lanka, who are AWS partners. The status means that AWS has officially recognised Mitra Innovation as a trusted Consulting Partner for [...]

Ceylinco VIP ‘On The Spot’ additional med cover to scale int’l markets

Ceylinco General Insurance PLC is aiming to introduce its brand new motor product add-on, a Rs. 1 million cover that will reimburse medical costs for 21 critical illnesses, to markets abroad, top officials say. Ajith Gunawardena, CEO Ceylinco General Insurance on the sidelines of a media briefing to announce Ceylinco VIP ‘On The Spot’ Rs. [...]

INSEE Cement in community initiative on negatives of drug use

INSEE Cement in community initiative on negatives of drug use

Cement manufacturer, INSEE Cement recently joined hands with National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) and Sri Lanka Police to conduct a drug awareness campaign that reached over 1,700 school children aged from 14 to 18 in 23 schools in Aruakkalu, Puttalam and Galle. Officials from the Sri Lanka Police, District Secretariat and Municipal Council from [...]

Error in headline of Business Times Poll story

An error crept into the headline “Governance levels unlikely to improve – BT Poll” in the Business Times story on the front page in its August 13 issue. The headline should have read as “Governance levels likely to improve – BT Poll”. Some readers raised this issue pointing out that 57 per cent (the majority) [...]

Under-fire HNB records Rs. 13.4 bln in pre-tax profit in 1H2017

The HNB banking group, which recently went through a ‘traumatic’ couple of weeks after confidential customer data was accidentally released, this week said its first half 2017 post tax results were Rs.7.5 billion, up by 7.5 per cent from the same 2016 period. Group pre-tax profit was Rs. 13.4 billion, an increase of 13.8 per [...]

Like Softlogic, healthcare ‘heals’ many corporate bottomlines

Like Softlogic, healthcare ‘heals’ many corporate bottomlines

Softlogic Holdings, Sri Lanka’s fast growing and newest conglomerate aiming for stakes as high as John Keells, Hayleys or Aitken Spence, is realising – like many other groups exposed to healthcare services that healthcare is becoming its top earner. Announcing the group results for the quarter ending June 2017, its chairman Ashok Pathirage said that [...]

Hemas Group revenue up but profits ease

Hemas Holdings has reported a consolidated revenue of Rs.11.4 billion for the 3-months ending June 2017, up by 14.9 per cent from the same 2016 period while post-tax profit for the period fell marginally by 3.3 per cent to Rs. 677,237 million. The quarterly accounts, released to the Colombo Stock Exchange, revealed that pre-tax profit [...]

ComBank’s first half 2017 performance ‘extremely pleasing’

Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s first half 2017 pre-tax profit (PBT) grew by 17.19 per cent to Rs. 10.425 billion while its post-tax profit rose by 16.21 per cent to Rs. 7.540 billion. “There has been a perceptible further improvement across all key performance indicators, which is extremely pleasing given that margins have been narrowing over [...]

Amãna Takaful bounces back with Rs. 93 mln profit

After reporting a pre-tax loss of Rs. 43 million in first half 2016, Amana Takaful has seen a sharp turnaround, recording a pre-tax profit of Rs. 94 million for the same period this year. The group’s post-tax profit was Rs. 86 million compared to a post-tax loss of Rs. 50 million in the same 2016 [...]

Janashakthi confronted with rising claims in fire, engineering and medical

Janashakthi Insurance PLC (Janashakthi) registered consolidated Gross Written Premium (GWP) of Rs. 7.222 billion for the six months ending June 2017, with a Year on Year (YoY) growth of 11 per cent. However in its results posted on the Colombo Stock Exchange, the company said profitability was adversely affected by high claims in both the [...]

Ceylinco Life’s 6-month PBT up 64% to Rs 1.628 bln

Life insurance market leader Ceylinco Life has posted profit before tax of Rs 1.628 billion for the six months ending 30th June 2017, up by 64 per cent over the corresponding period of last year. The profit after tax grew by 59 per cent to Rs 1.357 billion for the six months, with income tax [...]

NTB 1H pre-tax profits up by 27%

Nations Trust Bank (NTB) closed the first half ending June 2017 with a pre-tax profit of Rs. 2,977 million, up by 27 per cent over the corresponding period in the previous year. Post tax profits, the bank said in a media release, also showed gains but at a lower rate of growth of 12 per [...]

International Conference on Agriculture and Forestry in Colombo

The International Institute of Knowledge Management (TIIKM) is organising the 4th International conference on Agriculture Forestry (ICOAF) 2017 at the Taj Samudra Hotel Colombo on August 24-25. The meeting will see the participation of 100+ local and foreign delegates representing more than 24 countries across the world. The organisers said in a media release that [...]

National Audit Bill blocked by vested interests

The Government’s efforts to curtail public corruption have become toothless due to unwarranted delay in presenting the National Audit Bill (NAB) in parliament although it was drafted 18 months ago, good governance activists alleged. The NAB was scheduled to be presented in parliament in 2015 but it was delayed due to amendments made to the [...]

ADB-KSP joint consultants hold dissemination seminar for CTEC

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently held a dissemination seminar on the Colombo-Trincomalee Economic Corridor (CTEC). This is aimed with sharing the final policy consultation paper with Sri Lankan government officials from the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Commerce, [...]

Many native Ayurveda physicians die without revealing their secrets

Research shows that indigenous and Ayurveda medicine have existed in Sri Lanka for more than 30,000 years. Some 600-odd Ola leaf Ayurveda manuscripts are being currently translated into lucid (understandable, layman’s) language that will provide insights into cures and sickness of people. “We have requested all Ayurvedic physicians to forward Ola manuscripts to us for [...]

PickMe launches ‘PickMe VIP”

Home-grown taxi service PickMe recently launched its newest feature ‘PickMe VIP’ which is a fleet chauffeur-driven, luxury cars that cater to premium clients and corporates. “Ideal for anybody who wishes to make a grand appearance, be it at an international conference as an important delegate or a luxury wedding as a beautiful couple, PickMe VIP [...]

Nightmare in Colombo over construction boom

With reference to the timely article “Zero-level city planning in Colombo” which appeared in the Business Times last week, it is time the authorities woke up to the ongoing construction mayhem that is plaguing the daily lives of its citizens. Are there no sensible building regulations to protect us? For example, the residents of the [...]

Real estate forum on Aug. 30, a top real estate online trading platform, is organising an “Investor Forum Sri Lanka’ on August 30 at the Kingsbury Hotel which will examine new Sri Lankan trends in real estate and property development. Billed to speak are experts from Candor Sri Lanka, Jones Lang LaSalle and the China Harbour Engineering Company involved in [...]

CCC raises ‘collective respon sibility’ issue over ministers criticising port deal

Sri Lanka’s most powerful business chamber has raised the issue of ‘collective responsibility’ of cabinet ministers in the decisions that led to the public-private partnership (PPP) in the Hambantota port deal. “While recognising the circumstances in which this PPP deal was required to be finalised, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) urges the Government to [...]

NCE seeks member views on Budget 2018

The National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) of Sri Lanka conducted a brainstorming forum to discuss and identify sector issues of members to be submitted as budget proposals to the Ministry of Finance for the 2018 National Budget. The forum was held on August 10 at the NCE conference hall with over 25 members and sectoral [...]

Sri Lankan manufacturer turns out revolutionary car umbrella

Sri Lankan manufacturer turns out revolutionary car umbrella

A revolutionary car umbrella has been introduced to the Lankan market by the country’s premier umbrella manufacturer, Kandurata Umbrellas. In a media announcement on Tuesday, the company said its car umbrella is a must-have product for every vehicle owner, and it is packed with loads of plus-points which can make lives easier for its users. [...]

FAO and EU promote agri-business in partnership with Hayleys

FAO and EU promote agri-business in partnership with Hayleys

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has facilitated two contract farming agreements between farmer groups in the Ampara district and Sunfrost (Pvt) Ltd of Hayleys Agriculture Holdings. The agreements were facilitated under the European Union-funded Support to District Development Programme (EU-SDDP). The signing of MoUs and agreements for an export-oriented green [...]

Cinnamon Future of Tourism Summit next month

Cinnamon Future of Tourism Summit next month

Marketing destination Sri Lanka and awakening the travel bug in potential travellers will be discussed in depth on September 26 at the Future of Tourism Summit 2017 at the Cinnamon Grand Colombo in its second year. Speakers at this event will include Minor Hotels Group Ltd CEO Dilip Rajakarier, a Sri Lankan born industry specialist [...]

New Joint Council prepares for future tourism challenges

New Joint Council prepares for future tourism challenges

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is gearing up to establish a Joint Council comprising hoteliers and tour operators to work together in partnership with other stakeholders in the industry to face up to the future challenges. Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte told the Business Times on Friday that the joint council [...]

Ban lifted on morning safaris at Wilpattu

Sri Lankan authorities have reversed a ban on morning safaris at Wilpattu National Park, which had been earlier enforced owing to an ongoing drought. The decision to reverse the ban came during discussions the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) had with Minister of Tourism, the association said in a media release earlier [...]

School children treated to tour of Emirates A380

School children treated to tour of Emirates A380

A group of school children were provided a rare opportunity to walk through the world’s largest passenger aircraft when Emirates operated a one-off flight with the iconic aircraft to the Bandaranaike International Airport last Monday. The children from schools in the vicinity were given a conducted tour of the twin-deck aircraft and its First, Business [...]

William Angliss Street Food Festival

The William Angliss Institute Sri Lanka in partnership with the Colombo Academy of Hospitality Management organised a Bollywood themed ‘Street Food Festival’ as part of the final assessment in the Advanced Diploma of the Batch Eight students. The festival titled “Prasthaan” or “Departure” organised by the academy with support from the Indian Cultural Centre, the [...]

Denesh Silva elected PATA Sri Lanka Chairman

Hotelier Denesh Silva was elected the PATA Sri Lanka Chairman at the recently concluded AGM of the organistaion held on July 31 at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The Sri Lanka Chapter enables its members to conduct their various assigned responsibilities for selling travel related products and providing services to visitors to the island in [...]

Govt. to revise fees to enter heritage sites

Govt. to revise fees to enter heritage sites

The government is currently working out a possible revision of entrance fees to heritage sites in the wake of calls by the industry regarding ‘high’ rates. Discussions are currently underway with the relevant authorities including a Tourism Task Force established to look into the possible adjustments regarding fees to heritage sites, Tourism and Christian Affairs [...]

Tourists fear mosquito bite

Travellers to Sri Lanka particularly from China, soon to be considered the highest arrivals in the country, have cancelled bookings in the wake of the recent dengue epidemic outbreak. Chinese visitors had cancelled bookings to Sri Lanka resulting in a drop in arrivals from this market in the months of June by 13.8 per cent [...]

Tea, rubber in crisis? So is the Plantation Minister

Tea, rubber in crisis? So is the Plantation Minister

It’s not only tea, rubber and coconut producers in Sri Lanka having a hard time with lower prices, rising costs of production and fertilizer issues. The Plantation Industries Minister says he has the same problem. “The most difficult responsibility for me as the Plantation Minister is balancing the (interests of) stakeholders in tea, rubber and [...]

SDB marks 20th anniversary with new Tele-collection service

SDB bank has introduced a broader and efficient mechanism to collect loan payments from its customers under the name ‘Tele-collection’. Through this loan review mechanism, the bank said in a media release this week that it would be able to keep tabs on customers and their repayment schedules, while obtaining details on all those who [...]

Lakshman Silva takes over as CEO DFCC Bank

Lakshman Silva takes over as CEO DFCC Bank

Lakshman Silva has taken over as CEO of DFCC Bank PLC with effect from August 16, the bank said this week. Commencing his professional career at the Department of Inland Revenue of Sri Lanka, he moved to the financial services industry and joined the DFCC Group in 1987. He was DFCC Vardhana Bank’s Chief Operating [...]

CCC workshop on “Marketing & Digitalization”

The Young Members Forum (YMF) of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) is holding a workshop under the title ‘Marketing & Digitalization” on August 31 at the CCC office. The workshop will be conducted by Rohan Jayaweera, Chief Operating Officer of Antyra Solutions Pvt. Ltd. In a media release, the YMF said it recently held [...]

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