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Coconut prices ease

Coconut prices ease

Coconut prices are easing with a rise in production. While in Colombo it’s selling for around Rs. 50-60, in some areas it’s selling as low as Rs 20-30. Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara

Budget 2019: Subsidy-spending hike with eye on polls

Sri Lanka’s subsidy bill will balloon in the run-up to crucial elections next year at the risk of over shooting the 2019 budget deficit targets, reliable official sources revealed. Treasury officials were preparing a “populist budget” with huge subsidy expenditure amidst falling government revenue, mounting public debt and severe balance of payments difficulties. Tax options [...]

BT-Second Curve poll on strikes

The Business Times and its polling partner, research agency Second Curve is conducting an interesting poll/survey on the plethora of strikes and its impact on public life. While Second Curve is handling polling from the streets of Colombo and outside, the Business Times will be engaged in assessing opinion and views via email. Results of [...]

Professionals clamour for people’s power

United Professional’s Movement (UPM), a group representing Sri Lankan professionals and which is opposed to bilateral agreements, is set to secure its future as a mainstream political party. Aimed at drafting policy through the establishment of clusters of the different professionals, the new political movement also hopes to become a think tank. UPM will establish [...]

CB seeks info on ETI directors

The Central Bank (CB) took out an unusual newspaper advertisement on Friday seeking public information on the assets and properties owned by directors at the crisis-hit ETI/Swarnavahini Group. The notice by the CB’s Director of Non-Bank Financial Institutions, sought information on “monies, properties or other assets” owned by Jeewaka Hemal Edirisinghe, Nalaka Premal Edirisinghe, Ms. [...]

CNN blitz for three more months

Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities have spelled out plans to continue to feature the destination on CNN amidst concerns that the international news channel is not the most popular among viewers. Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga told the Business Times on the sidelines of a media briefing in Colombo this week that they have discussed with [...]

Bitter pills

Bitter pills

Kussi Amma Sera had walked into the OPD of a private Colombo hospital and was slapped with a near 2500-rupee bill for consultation and hospital charges. The drugs from the hospital pharmacy cost another 3,000 rupees. “Buddu Ammo” was her gut response, when describing her recent experience to her friend, Serapina, as they sat in [...]

Memorandum of misunderstanding

Memorandum of misunderstanding

Universities in Sri Lanka have the practice of entering into Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with foreign universities to carry out various collaborative educational and research programmes for both students and staff members. A few weeks ago, I came to know that they are no longer able to sign such MOUs with foreign universities without the [...]

“Island Escapes” promo targets millennials in low season

Tourism authorities will be launching “bite-sized curated holidays” to attract visitors during the low occupancy months investing Rs.65 million in a campaign titled “Island Escapes” scheduled to kick off on Saturday (September 15). Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said that their aim is to ensure Sri Lanka is a 365 day destination thereby increasing the [...]

Agony of the elders in Sri Lanka

Of Sri Lanka’s 21.5 million people, almost 3,325,000 individuals are over 60 years – elders in society. Unfortunately this valued sector is subject to numerous forms of injustice in the hands of bureaucratic administrators of the country. Common harassments, the elders are subjected to, have been continuously highlighted in relation to the routine activities at [...]

Colombo International Book Fair returns to the city for milestone 20th year

If last year’s figures are anything to go by, some 1.5 million book lovers from all over Sri Lanka can be expected to visit the BMICH over just 10 days later this month, when the annual Colombo International Book Fair (CIBF) returns for its 20th edition. More than 450 exhibitors, 40 of them from overseas, [...]

Perpetual Treasuries can’t subscribe for NDB Rights Issue

Perpetual Treasuries can’t subscribe for NDB Rights Issue

National Development Bank (NDB) is offering shares of under fire Perpetual Treasuries Ltd (PTL), holding some 7 million shares of its Rights Issue to prospective buyers as PTL will not be subscribing for them, informed sources say. The Financial Intelligence Unit of the Central Bank late last year ordered banks to freeze the accounts of [...]

AGM of the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC)

AGM of the Sunday Times Business Club (STBC)

The AGM of the Sunday Times Business Club was held recently at the Movenpick Hotel Colombo.  The office bearers of the new executive committee of the club are seen in the picture. They are: (Seated, from left): Rehan Kulathilake – General Secretary; Sampath Kulathunga – Immediate Past President; Chathuranga Perera – President; Sarath Wijesinghe – [...]

Nestlé initiative helps more than 6,000 young Sri Lankans become more employable

More than 6,000 young Sri Lankans have received support to build skills and enhance their employability through the ‘Nestlé Needs YOUth’ initiative. Nestlé, which has a long tradition of recruiting young people directly from universities, launched the programme in 2016 to help address the issue of youth unemployment. Since the initiative’s launch, Nestlé has strengthened [...]

Being Responsible on Digital Social Platforms

Being Responsible on Digital Social Platforms

There has been renewed discussion about ragging in universities over the last few weeks. There is this interesting case I wanted to bring into our discussion. You may wonder what ragging has to do with the Digital Space! A female student from the University of Sabaragamuwa committed suicide three years ago; now it has emerged [...]

Motor traders in a tug of war over state vehicle tender policy

The Sri Lanka Government has been caught up in the middle of a tug of war between franchise motor dealers and used car dealers in a bitter dispute over the current vehicle procurement policy for state institutions. The Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka (VIASL – mostly used car sales) is lobbying hard for the [...]

Micro cars changes Sri Lanka’s automotive landscape tying up Fortune 500 firms

Micro cars changes Sri Lanka’s automotive landscape  tying up Fortune 500 firms

Sri Lanka’s automobile sector needs to be improved providing comfort and convenient and affordable passenger transport service and it has prompted Micro Cars Ltd to introduce super luxury buses, low floor city buses for citizens and cars for middle and upper income families partnering with three Fortune 500 Chinese companies in recent times. The company [...]

Jaguar, Land Rover migrate to regional warranty

SML Frontier Automotive, sole agents of Jaguar and Land Rover (JLR) has announced the official migration of Global Warranty to Regional Warranty in compliance with the Asia Pacific Region. All new Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles sold from June 1, 2018 onwards, which are not imported and sold by the authorised sole agent of Jaguar [...]

Micro Cars expands after-sales service

Micro Cars (Pvt) Ltd, authorised agents in Sri Lanka for the British brand MG, has focused on uplifting the after-sales service in partnership with two automotive servicing and detailing centres in the island, officials of the company said. “The MG ZS SUV is very popular now, as it offers a great set of features at [...]

Nexon after Nano here in Sri Lanka

Nexon after Nano here in Sri Lanka

Amidst the widespread Indian media reports recently relating to Tata Motors impending announcement on the discontinuation of low priced car Nano, its local distributor, Diesel and Motors Engineering PLC (DIMO) has launched the company’s compact SUV, Tata Nexon in Sri Lanka. According to latest Indian news reports, Chairman of Tata Group, N Chandrasekaran was likely [...]

New entity to handle Driving Licence Info System

In a bid to cut costs, upgrade services and tackle malpractices, the Motor Traffic Department (MTD) is planning to step up outsourcing some of its key functions and improve the quality of driving licences using modern technology, a top MTD official confirmed. The department will select a new private, public or joint venture (JV) entity [...]

Hayleys Advantis gains success by diversifying revenue avenues

Despite the present unpredictable economic situation, Hayleys Advantis Ltd, the transportation and logistics arm of Hayleys PLC, is quite confident it will weather the storm as the company has been diversifying its revenue avenues over the years, Managing Director of the company Ruwan Waidyaratne said. In a conversation with Business Times on the sidelines of [...]

Economic turnaround or going ‘round and round’ in cycles

While Sri Lanka is going through tough economic reforms, deficits and high debt burdens, the country needs to think differently about the kind of quick fixes that can generate higher growth and satisfaction to the kind of institutional structural changes that needs to be tackled. If not the country will not see an economic turnaround, [...]

Merrill J. Fernando honoured as “Most Admired Leaders in Sri Lanka”

Merrill J. Fernando honoured as  “Most Admired Leaders in Sri Lanka”

Dilmah Tea was selected recently as one of Sri Lanka’s Most Admired Companies by the International Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka. The 10 Most Admired Companies were selected with the involvement of an eminent panel of judges and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) based on financial and non-financial performance, according to a [...]

Triad featured in Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide

Triad has been recognised as the only Sri Lankan agency in the largest creative resource globally, “Lürzer’s International Archive 200 Best Illustrators Worldwide 18/19”. Triad competed with over 4000 illustrators globally and triumphed as one of the Top 200 Illustrations, the ad agency said in a media release. This feat was achieved through a partnership [...]

ATG Group sponsors young Eastern Province researcher’s PhD at Cambridge

ATG Group sponsors young Eastern  Province researcher’s PhD at Cambridge

ATG Group of Companies, a top glove manufacturer, recently signed an agreement to completely fund the Doctoral studies of M.I. Haseemdeen, a young scientist from the Eastern village of Oddamavadi involved in cancer research, at the prestigious University of Cambridge, England. Mr. Haseemdeen was awarded the opportunity to study at Cambridge following his successful efforts [...]

Lawlessness, crimes against tourists deterrent to increasing arrivals

Lawlessness in the country has a disturbing impact on tourism in Sri Lanka as the news of crimes committed on the tourists spreads in the world like wildfire through word of mouth and social media. This was stated by Dr. Meitner Doering, Chairman, Aquarius Resorts Pvt Ltd and CEO, AGSEP Research at a media conference [...]

Sri Lanka, no more an ‘open economy’

Sri Lanka cannot be called an ‘open economy’ anymore, according to a top economist in the country. This view was expressed by Prof. Sirimal Abeyratne, Prof of Economics, Colombo University addressing the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute (LKI) Foreign Policy Round Table on Managing Effective Trade – Sri Lanka and International Experience held last week at the [...]

Sri Lankan retailers briefed on new airport VAT refund scheme

The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) member company representatives recently participated in an awareness programme conducted by the officials of the RAMIS Project Office of Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to educate and promote implementation of the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme (TVRS) at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA). The scheme was launched on Monday. TVRS will [...]

Looking through the environmental lens of unregulated tourism

Looking through the environmental lens of unregulated tourism

The story of Sri Lanka tourism is now turning out to be one of misadventure than satisfaction, given the unregulated nature of the entire enterprise and the resulting environmental consequences. Although, the post-war era has witnessed a boost in the island nation’s tourist industry in general, it continues to exist as an untapped economic potential [...]

Ambeon selects MTI to strategise financial services

Ambeon selects MTI to strategise financial services

Taprobane Capital Plus (Pvt) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ambeon Holdings PLC, has selected MTI Consulting to conduct a strategising exercise to explore and identify opportunities for Taprobane Capital Plus within the financial services domain. Taprobane Capital Plus is the financial services arm of Ambeon Holdings comprising three subsidiaries – namely; Taprobane Investments, Taprobane [...]

Evolution of new thinking and passing the baton, key role in a creative agency

Evolution of new thinking and passing the baton, key role in a creative agency

While the world is evolving with new ideas, new thinking and technology that constantly changes the culture of people’s behaviours and habits, passing the mantle of responsibility from one generation to the next plays a pivotal role in a creative agency. It is important that any industry evolves and young people are empowered and young [...]

Micro finance as a tool of poverty alleviation; not for private profit

Micro finance as a tool of poverty alleviation; not for private profit

The writer was the pioneer in commencing best practice micro finance in Sri Lanka, through the establishment of SEEDS in 1986 which went on to assist over 300,000 families. In the past microfinance was purely a tool for poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. However there are a significant number of organisations having social development as [...]

Red tape holds up President’s order against foreign retail businesses

The President’s suspension order over the mushrooming of retail outlets owned by foreigners specially Chinese, Indians and Japanese in Sri Lanka has been delayed by bureaucratic red tape, informed sources divulged. President Maithripala Sirisena has directed the relevant authorities to immediately suspend the process of approval and registration of foreign-owned retail businesses following representations made [...]

Kapila Jayawardena – new Seylan Bank Deputy Chair

The Board of Directors of Seylan Bank PLC has appointed its non-executive Director and LOLC Group Managing Director/CEO, Kapila Jayawardena as Deputy Chairman of the Board with effect from September 10, Mr. Jayawardena, who served as Country Head and CEO (Sri Lanka and Maldives) of Citibank NA from 1998 to 2007, joined LOLC in 2007 [...]

Janashakthi PLC acquires 31% stake in Dunamis Capital

Janashakthi PLC (JPLC) has acquired a 31.14 per cent stake in Dunamis Capital PLC, the holding company of First Capital PLC and Kelsey Developments PLC, for Rs. 1.4 billion. The sellers were Next Ventures Ltd and Janashakthi director Dinesh Schaffter. The transaction will result in the consolidation of all of the listed holdings of the [...]

Top Fintech expert to address LankaPay Technnovation Awards 2018

The entire banking and finance industry of Sri Lanka will gain valuable insights first-hand this September via an international Fintech expert from Singapore who is slated to deliver the keynote address at LankaPay Technnovation Awards 2018. Chia Hock Lai, Founding President of Singapore Fintech Association (SFA), will speak on the future of the payment industry [...]

SriLankan Catering posts Rs. 3.8 billion operating profit

SriLankan Catering Ltd, part of SriLankan Airlines, has recorded a 26 per cent year-on-year growth in operating profit for the financial year ended March 31, at Rs. 3.81 billion. Its unaudited financial statements, released to the media on Monday, the company said operating profit ratio which stood at 42 per cent in the last year [...]

Pharma industry’s issue with authorities

Pharma industry’s issue with authorities

Sri Lanka’s pharmaceutical market in Sri Lanka is close to Rs. 80 billion including both the private and the state sector and 50 per cent of it supplied directly through the private sector, the industry said this week, in putting forward a case for a change in the current system of controlled prices of drugs [...]

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