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Due to the rapid depreciation of the US dollar, electrical goods like this seen on a Pettah pavement have increased sharply in price drawing fewer buyers. Pic by Amila Gamage   

Kurunegala-Habarana railway project suspended

The Kurunegala- Habarana Railway line project which was based on an unsolicited Chinese bid of over US$ 959 million for the construction work has been suspended. The cabinet paper presented by President Maithripala Sirisena under the 5-year plan of ‘Let’s Awaken Polonnaruwa’ District Development Programme (2016-2020) to implement the project by accelerating the preliminary work [...]

Deliberate attempt to stifle investment promotion

Certain vested interests are conniving against the present regime by rubbishing the Colombo Stock Exchange’s (CSE) recent efforts in the UK to lure foreign investments, insiders say. A high-ranking official in the previous regime has visited certain foreign investors in London to negate the sentiment created by the CSE and the Securities and Exchange Commission-organised [...]

Melstacorp manages Joseph Frazer hospital

Businessman Harry Jayawardena-controlled Melstacorp is managing Joseph Frazer Memorial hospital in Colombo. This is in line with Melstacorp Plc, the parent company of listed liquor producer Distilleries Co, announcing in August that it was entering the healthcare industry, initially setting up diagnostic infrastructure and managing select hospitals. Insiders told the Business Times that Melsta Health [...]

“So, Sri Lanka” got branded!

Sri Lanka’s newest branding “So, Sri Lanka” will be launched next month ahead of the much-awaited three –year long multi-million dollar global promotional campaign. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Dehan Seneviratne told the Business Times on Friday that the official announcement of the new branding for Sri Lanka would be made in November and [...]

Public servants get Micro cars on permits

While the issuance of motor vehicle permits on concessionary terms for senior level executive grade officials among public servants to import motor vehicles has been rescinded, they would however be allowed to purchase locally produced or assembled cars using their tax slashed vehicle import permits, the Finance Ministry announced. This was one of the initiatives [...]

Ocean of Uncertainty

Ocean of Uncertainty

An ‘Ocean of Uncertainty’! This was not a term coined by me to explain the state of affairs in a land that got a welcome nod from Lonely Planet as the best place in the world to visit but one given by Arthika, my nonsensical economist friend, during a conversation earlier in the week. We [...]

Amidst fast runners

Amidst fast runners

Sri Lanka is now among the last group of countries in the region which is growing fast: South Asian countries. Fast growth has shifted from East Asia to South Asia, which has now become the fastest growing region in the world. Over the past three years, South Asian countries on average have grown by 7 [...]

Government takes systematic approach to resolve public sector salary anomalies

Sri Lanka’s public sector salary anomalies are to be resolved in a systematic manner without providing piecemeal solutions through ad hoc salary increases, presidential secretariat sources disclosed. The Special Presidential Commission to review Public Sector Salaries is now finalising its report to make recommendations towards this end, a senior official said adding that this report [...]

RPCs insist Rs.1000 basic wage unaffordable

The Planters Association (PA), representing the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs), said on Thursday that most companies were not performing well and continue to insist on the affordable all-inclusive wage hike of Rs.940 or the proposed Rs.46 per kilo with Rs.600 as gratuity. PA Chairman Sunil Poholiyadde, at a news briefing held on Thursday at the [...]

Western Union, Sampath Bank offer International Money Transfer services across SL

Western Union, a leader in cross-border, cross-currency money movement, and Sampath Bank, one of Sri Lanka’s leading private commercial banks, have combined to provide customers, nation-wide access to international money transfers in minutes from more than 200 countries and territories. Sampath Bank’s 229 branches across the island now offer Western Union® Money Transfer, providing greater [...]

Broken promises from budget pledges: Verite Research

The Government has performed poorly in executing budget proposals or promises, for, in its total pledges to disburse Rs. 149,350 million during 2018, only 8 per cent of these promises have been progressing at the end of the first six months. This revelation was made at the media briefing held at Sri Lanka Press Institute [...]

No prescription for innovation, says head of Virtusa

No prescription for innovation, says head of Virtusa

While the world we live today is completely revolving around new technology, innovation and moving in a digital space, there is no set prescription that drives anyone to think in one particular direction. In an organisation creating the right environment with the right people and processes in place, the performance, quality and experience will be [...]

550 acre zone exclusively for ‘Akshata’ GMO-free rice

550 acre zone exclusively for ‘Akshata’ GMO-free rice

In an effort to meet the growing demand for Akshata GMO-free rice tagged the “Healthiest Rice in the World”, a special zone of 550 acres of paddy land was recently demarcated for the growing of this special rice varieties also known as ‘Traditional Rice’ in Sri Lanka. This historic event was graced by the Minister [...]

“Speak out, don’t be afraid”, British envoy tells chartered accountants

Speak out and play a part in encouraging and fostering a climate favourable for wealth creation and entrepreneurial activity, British High Commissioner James Dauris has told Sri Lanka’s chartered accountants. In more words of advice, he said: “Holding government to account and representing the interest of the business community are critical functions of business leaders [...]

Government functions will soon be digitalised

The Sri Lanka government is ambitiously working towards digitalising the economy and functions of the government where connectivity plays a major role in achieving success in the future, said the Secretary, Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Chulananda Perera at the WTTx Asia –Pacific Summit (Sri Lanka) Joint Declaration held at the Shangri-La [...]

Daunting challenges: Annual $4bn loan repayment in 2019-2021

Daunting challenges: Annual $4bn loan repayment in 2019-2021

Sri Lanka is facing daunting challenges ahead, one particularly being the repayment of loans amounting to US$4 billion per annum in the next three years (2019-2021). Outlining these challenges, State Minister of Finance, Eran Wickramaratne told an economic discussion that the Government has nevertheless stuck rigidly during the past three years where revenue consolidation was [...]

ComBank partners with SLT Campus/Cisco to offer IT hardware courses

ComBank partners with SLT Campus/Cisco to offer IT hardware courses

Students in grades 5 to 10 in selected schools can now benefit from a comprehensive 150-hour IT hardware course funded by the Commercial Bank of Ceylon and implemented in collaboration with SLT Campus (Pvt) Ltd and Cisco Networking Academy. This course was launched as part of the bank’s Online Education programme conducted as a Corporate [...]

AirAsia launches Colombo-Bangkok direct flights

AirAsia is offering direct services between Colombo in Sri Lanka and Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok. This 4-time weekly flight service is slated to commence operations on December 14, 2018 with a special promotional fare starting from Rs. 13,999 (one way). Operated by Thai AirAsia (flight code FD), this direct route to Bangkok in Thailand [...]

SL’s Exire Technologies in partnership with High-Tech Bridge, Geneva

SL’s Exire Technologies in partnership with High-Tech Bridge, Geneva

Experts from across the world spoke on “Cyber security needs” and attended the 8th Geneva ‘Information Security Day’ which was conducted at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Geneva on October 12. The conference emphasised the importance of adopting Statistical and Artificial Intelligence as well as the importance of Machine Learning and Cyber Incidence Responses required to [...]

Skål International, Sri Lanka launches “Young Skål Club”

Skål International Sri Lanka is creating a platform for young executives in the tourism/hospitality industry through the launch of the Young Skal Club in Sri Lanka. “Young Skål” is a forum created to groom future leaders in the tourism and hospitality industry. It offers a platform for the upcoming young executives between the ages of [...]

Challenging times ahead for Sri Lanka’s economy next year

While the near term economic environment of Sri Lanka doesn’t look very promising and more challenging than it has ever been so far, the country is very unfortunate that all factors affecting its growth are expected to converge next year, a prominent report reveals. The Institute of Policy Studies last week published its report on [...]

World demand for Asia rising

TTG Asia online, Oct. 19 – In Asia, emerging destinations like Sri Lanka and the Philippines are shining brighter on the global tourism stage as a growing demand for experiential travel and improved air links are encouraging travellers to venture farther for holidays. Philippe Roussel, tour operator at Asie Voyages in France, is looking for [...]

The Incriminated Millennial

The Incriminated Millennial

Millennials. The word, the generation, the topic that has academics, professionals, trainers, and gurus abuzz. Out of curiosity, prior to writing this article, a quick Google search was done, of the word ‘millennials’. A quick scroll through Google Images, and I found a majority of images that depicted young teenagers posing adventurously, tongues sticking out, [...]

CMTA urges registration of all vehicle importers

The Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA), whilst agreeing with the government dilemma over rising vehicle imports and outflow of foreign exchange, has called for registration of all vehicle importers. In a statement, the CMTA said it acknowledged the government’s concern in response to the sudden depreciation of the rupee. The CMTA suggests that the government [...]

Sri Lanka motor traders in Japan see ‘silver lining in dark cloud’

Sri Lanka motor traders in Japan see ‘silver lining in dark cloud’

With the Japanese brand new and used car sector taking a hit from the import control measures in the wake of rapid rupee depreciation, Sri Lankan motor traders in Japan are now seeking new ways to remain in business. Weaker demand in Sri Lanka is seen as negatively affecting Japan’s used-car industry, and the outlook [...]

Sathosa Motors goes live with IFS Applications

IFS, the global enterprise applications company, has announced that Sathosa Motors PLC, Sri Lanka’s main distributor of Isuzu commercial vehicles, has successfully gone live with IFS Applications following a rapid 6-month implementation project. Implemented on time and on budget, IFS Applications was deployed throughout all branches of Sathosa Motors, covering new vehicles, spare parts, and [...]

SK Group invests $40 m in Micro Holding electric cars

SK Group invests $40 m in Micro Holding electric cars

One of South Korea’s leading conglomerates, SK Group – a Fortune 500 Global Company – recently announced an equity investment amounting to US$30 million-$40 million in Sri Lanka’s Micro Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. SK Group Senior Vice President C.H. Lee said his company was very much interested in investing in Micro Holdings to revolutionise the Sri [...]

Government to levy vehicle import fee for Entitlement Certificate

In addition to already introduced import control measures, the Sri Lanka government will make a vehicle import fee compulsory for importers to obtain a Vehicle Entitlement Certificate for each vehicle with the aim of discouraging car imports and ease pressure off the rapidly depreciating rupee. This certificate will be issued by the Inland Revenue Department [...]

Vehicle taxation formula jacks up car imports

The new vehicle taxation formula based on engine capacity has opened avenues for motor traders to import more small cars less than 1000cc engine capacity, Finance Ministry data revealed. The new tax structure on vehicles was introduced under the Budget-2018 presented by Minister Mangala Samaraweera scrapping the calculation of Excise Duty on vehicles on the [...]

TVS Ntorq 125 scooter hits the roads in Sri Lanka

TVS Ntorq 125 scooter hits the roads in Sri Lanka

TVS Ntorq 125, the latest 125cc scooter from Chennai-based manufacturer TVS Motor Company launched in Colombo last week, caters to all age groups especially the youth while offering something lively and fresh with high tech to the present generation, officials of the company divulged. This also marked the unveiling of an exclusive technology platform TVS [...]

Myths of leadership theories

Extracted from a FB post recently: “Obama retired at 55. Trump started at 70. Sydney is 3 hours ahead of Perth but that doesn’t make Perth slow. Someone graduated at 22 but waited five years before securing a good job. Someone became a CEO at 25 and died at 50. While another became a CEO [...]

Import controls temporary, says Finance Minister

Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera has dispelled fears and assured that Sri Lanka would never go back to ‘closed economy’ of the 1970s in the light of present import restrictions, etc seen as likely to go back to that era. He was speaking at the ‘Sri Lanka Retail Forum 2018 held last [...]

SL fintech start-ups win gold and merit awards at APICTA

SL fintech start-ups win gold and merit awards at APICTA

The 18th Asia Pacific ICT Alliance (APICTA) awards 2018, which was held in Guangzhou, China from the 10th to 14th October, picked Sri Lanka’s DirectPay as the overall winner in the Consumer – Wealth and Retail Category and Park and Pay with a Merit Award in the Start Up of the Year – Business and [...]

EU wake-up call for diversifying Sri Lankan exports

Sri Lanka has no time to waste in diversifying its exports to the European Union (EU) and grab the last chance of GSP + before the country graduates to an upper-middle income economy status (as classified by the World Bank) and remains in that category for three years. This wake-up call was made by Head [...]

CSE launches Advanced Diploma in Financial Markets

The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) recently launched an Advanced Diploma in Financial Markets (ADFM) academic qualification with the programme for the first intake of students presently underway. The CSE in a media release said that this is the first occasion the organisation is awarding an academic qualification in its history. It is an initiative implemented [...]

Architecture Xtudio – conference for architecture and construction industries

Architecture Xtudio, a conference for the architecture and construction industries, will be held tomorrow from 9 am to 5 pm at the Hilton Colombo. The event will bring together key decision makers and actors in the industry to synthesise the conversation on fac,ades and interiors while also showcasing vendors, all incorporated into parallel track sessions [...]

Allianz further strengthens position in Sri Lanka

Allianz Insurance Lanka Ltd (Allianz), one of Sri Lanka’s leading insurers, announced that following the acquisition of Janashakthi General Insurance in February 2018, it has now successfully completed the amalgamation process between itself and Janashakthi General Insurance Ltd. The new entity will henceforth operate as Allianz Insurance Lanka Ltd with its head office relocated to [...]

ComBank joins RippleNet for blockchain-led remittances

The Commercial Bank of Ceylon recently joined RippleNet, a global payments network leveraging Ripple’s Blockchain technology which facilitates both inward and regulator-enabled outward blockchain technology-powered remittances that are virtually instant and extra secure. Joining RippleNet ensures that remittances are received instantly with an end-to-end tracing and tracking solution, that the process is transparent and tamper-proof, [...]

SL’s first-ever study on SMEs

Sri Lanka’s first ever nation-wide study on the country’s SMEs has recommended an apex SME Advisory Commission integrating the three top national SME institutions under one roof. It also recommends Sri Lanka’s first ever SME Industrial Zone, a national SME portal ‘e-platform’, and an SME-only licensing agency on the lines of the Board of Investment [...]

Lanka Tiles gears for global market

Lanka Tiles PLC (LTL), manufacturer of floor tiles, has completed its Rs.2 .5 billion capacity expansion and is ready to make a global footprint, officials said. “We are in the process of commissioning our Ranala factory after the expansion. This expansion has made us the biggest manufacturer of tiles in the country,” Mahendra Jayasekara, Managing [...]

Biodegradable bags

Biodegradable bags

Plastic Packaging recently participated at the 19th October Presidential Environmental Award Exhibition, displaying its trademark compostable bags. Visitors to the stall were also given leaflets on the reduction of single use plastics. The company distributes 40 million non-degradable bags in Sri Lanka every month. The company is campaigning for Sri Lankans to use reusable bags [...]

Request for allowance Rs. 10,000 to pensioners

An increase of Rs. 10,000 was given to public officers on assumption of duties as President in 2015. A 15-member Special Salaries Review Commission has been appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena to formulate a national policy on wages and submit a report by end October. Even though the Commission is studying only public servants anomalies, [...]

ATG Group invests Rs.127 m on solar

ATG Group invests Rs.127 m on solar

ATG Group of Companies, Sri Lanka’s leading innovative glove manufacturer, recently announced an investment of Rs.127 million to add 1060 kw to the national grid by way of generating solar power in three of its factories in two Export Processing Zones – Katunayake and Wathupitiwala. “With sunlight being an abundant resource available throughout the year [...]

Linear Squared drawing best minds in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence

Pioneers in AI-driven business solutions in Sri Lanka, Linear Squared recently brought on board Prabath Gunawardane, an ex-Google Engineer and a Ph.D. in Computer Science as CTO and Devini Senaratna, M.S. (Stanford University) as Chief Data Scientist of the company. Coincidentally both Mr. Gunawardane and Mr. Senaratna are alumni of the University of Colombo, who [...]

SEC strengthens Investigation Division

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has finally managed to strengthen its Investigation Division. In the past three years the SEC had advertised for Director Investigations but was unable to secure a suitable candidate. Now they are evaluating candidates, according a SEC source. The Business Times learns that within four weeks of his appointment in [...]

Ceremic ware importers complain of over-protection of local industry

The construction industry is part and parcel of the country’s economy and today it is internationally accepted that the cost of construction industry in Sri Lanka is one of the highest in the region. This could be one reason plus the very high cost of electricity that is distancing investors from the country. At a [...]

Estate worker payments drop in percentage increases

Collective agreements between the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and the estate worker trade unions have been signed for over a decade now but interestingly the percentages in the increases were evidently dropping over the years. A look back at the numbers since 2009 indicate that in that year the percentage increase over the previous daily [...]

Union Bank achieves top pre-tax profit in 9-mth 2018

Union Bank Group crossed Rs. 1 billion in pre-tax profit for the nine months to September 2018 with the bank recording an impressive pre-tax profit of Rs. 921million, a 37 per cent growth YoY. Focused revenue management using portfolio re-alignment within and across business units resulted in a 17 per cent YoY growth in Net [...]

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