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Scrap presidential system: BT-Second Curve Poll reveals

Scrap presidential system: BT-Second Curve Poll reveals

Respondents to a survey asking whether the presidential system should be continued or scrapped and if so, to provide more power to Parliament, have provided a clear verdict: The presidential system should be scrapped. However respondents in the poll conducted on the street (working class) and email (mostly intelligentsia) were divided on the kind of [...]

Storm in a teacup reaches boiling point

The Government has mooted plans to draw up a wage structure for estate workers; an all-inclusive over Rs.1000 with increases made over a 3-year period. Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake and Labour Minister Daya Gamage, during a meeting held on Thursday, have proposed to both the Regional Plantation Companies (RPCs) and the estate sector trade unions [...]

New sugar tax on confectioneries

A new sugar tax is just around the corner, and this time it will target sweets and confectionery in addition to a fizzy levy on sugary beverages. Despite the assurance given by President Maithripala Sirisena to the Sri Lanka Confectionery Manufacturers’ Association (SLCMA), this tax based on sugar content is likely to be introduced from [...]

Tax exemption for foreign earnings

Sri Lanka, in a desperate move to boost foreign exchange inflows, is exempting from income tax foreign earnings remitted to the country, the Finance Ministry said. This tax exemption will be granted to foreign earnings remitted to Sri Lanka through banks, on or after November 15, 2018. The new Inland Revenue Act which has no [...]

Ambeon Capital focuses on techno-centric diversification plans across all sectors

Ambeon Capital focuses on techno-centric diversification plans across all sectors

Ambeon Capital, the parent company of Ambeon Holdings PLC, after its recent restructure is focused on expanding all its businesses and some into the region, mainly through technological advancements, officials say. Earlier, the group which seemed disconnected and in different areas that weren’t aligned, completed a major re-structuring to be in line with the global [...]

Committees and committees

Committees and committees

If you go through the daily newspapers, the Sri Lankan government fancies appointing committees and committees for this problem and that problem. Like balm for the soul, it appears as if appointing committees to resolve a crisis or problem is the way out. Our attention was drawn to this when Kalabala Silva, the often agitated [...]

Economics of “double standards”

Economics of  “double standards”

As I reached the university one morning, I saw a student who had climbed on a chair placed on another table close to a tree in the compound, hammering a nail on the tree. He climbed down after finishing what he was doing and smiled with me too. I started a chat with him, while [...]

Mastercard drops its iconic name on cards

Mastercard drops its iconic name on cards

Mastercard has announced that it is dropping its name from its iconic brand mark in select contexts. “The interlocking red and yellow circles, referred to as the Mastercard Symbol, will now stand on its own across cards using the red and yellow brand mark, acceptance marks at retail locations both in the physical and digital [...]

TUs seek increase in minimum wage in private sector

Five trade unions are urging the Government to increase the minimum monthly wage in the private sector to Rs. 25,000 from a current Rs. 13,000 (which includes Rs. 3,500 budgetary allowance). “We hope to make representations to the Government shortly,” said veteran unionist Palitha Atukorale, President, National Union of Seafarers Sri Lanka. He was speaking [...]

Cargills prepares for 175th year, committing to serve the nation, communities

Cargills prepares for 175th year, committing to serve the nation, communities

Even as Cargills (Ceylon) PLC, one of Sri Lanka’s biggest conglomerates, prepares to celebrate a landmark in Sri Lanka – 175 years in 2020 initially as a colonial company and subsequently owned by Sri Lankans – its top management gave a commitment last week of working to building the nation, and then the brand. “Your [...] to bridge the services sector gap

While there is high demand for people in the services sector in Sri Lanka, a new online platform has been launched for people to obtain services or to make a booking through a mobile device with the touch of a button. Two young Sri Lankans came up with the online platform with the aim [...]

Public procurement guidelines now in the President’s court

Sri Lanka’s much awaited public procurement guidelines with necessary amendments to the relevant gazette have been forwarded to President Maithripala Sirisena enabling him to present it in Parliament via the leader of the house in accordance with the Constitution, a top official disclosed. Sri Lanka’s National Procurement Commission (NPC) which was formed after the 19th [...]

Heritance Ahungalla named TUI Environmental Champion 2019

Aitken Spence Hotels’ premier five-star property in the coastal belt, Heritance Ahungalla, recently received the double honour of being listed as the TUI Environmental Champions of 2019 for its excellent performance in sustainable hotel management as well as a winner of the TUI Top Quality 2019. The hotel was selected among many worthy contenders from [...]

Hayleys Advantis in landmark partnership to manage Abu Dhabi Container Facility

Hayleys Advantis in landmark partnership to manage Abu Dhabi Container Facility

Hayleys Advantis Ltd (Advantis), the transportation and logistics arm of Hayleys PLC, has announced that it has entered into a landmark deal with Dubai-based Group. Advantis is to operate and manage a state of the art Inland Container Depot (ICD) and third-party Container Freight Station (CFS) being developed by Group in the Khalifa [...]

Shippers’ Academy’s “Shoes 4 Education” for the underprivileged

The Shippers’ Academy Colombo (SAC) has launched a Facebook campaign with the participation of Internet users to support extremely poor school children to own a pair of shoes to attend school. A large number of rural area schools have students who don’t have proper school attire to attend classes including a pair of shoes. Government [...]

NCE enters into a Collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SLINTEC

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE), which exclusively serves Sri Lankan exporters, has entered into a collaborative MOU with the Sri Lankan Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC). In a media release, the NCE said it is increasingly conscious of the fact that it is imperative for Sri Lankan exporters to enhance their Research [...]

India provides $400 m to Sri Lanka’s foreign reserves

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank on Wednesday announced that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has agreed to provide US$400 million under a swap arrangement to enhance the country’s foreign reserves and investor confidence. The RBI has agreed to provide this sum to Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CB) under its SAARC SWAP facility. The CB [...]

Lanka Property Web to provide more visibility for customers with new acquisition

With the number one and two property portals coming together, Sri Lankan public can look forward to a better scale in property listings, officials say. Early this month LankaPropertyWeb acquired which brought the former into a dominant position as the leading property portal. “We are now giving the best platform for the advertisers and [...]

Access Engineering calls for consistent policy, coherent taxation

Access Engineering calls for  consistent policy, coherent taxation

Access Engineering PLC (Access), after battling economic depression and volatility last year, is looking forward to sound policy and saner politicking. The company whose equity holders’ profit surged by nearly 106 per cent year on year (YOY) to Rs. 630.6 million in 2QFY19 owing to a good performance in its core construction segment which saw [...]

Banks’ belt-tightening, exchange rate impacts on house constructions

Banks’ belt-tightening, exchange  rate impacts on house constructions

Loans issued to Sri Lanka’s house and property construction has seen a dramatic decrease recently, mainly as a reaction to the warnings by Central Bank and IMF on banks’ exposure to non-performing loans. Non-performing loans rose to 3.5 per cent from 2.5 per cent last year, however according to the Central Bank this is below [...]

Condo buying rises ahead of VAT imposition

The impending 15 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on sales of apartments for projects after April 1, 2019, has accelerated condominium sales, sector analysts say. The VAT was to be effective from April 1 last year but after builders made representations to the Treasury, it was postponed to this year. Sales ahead of April [...]

Tea smallholders want more for infilling, replanting

Tea smallholders have requested an increase in the payments made to them for infilling and replanting announced last month through their 21 proposals submitted to authorities to ensure sustainability of the sector. Sri Lanka Federation of Tea Small Holders Association President K. L. Gunaratne told the Business Times on Thursday that as part of the [...]

Good governance abandoned as politicians chase power

Good governance abandoned  as politicians chase power

The following are comments received in the BT- Second Curve Poll on the Presidency and Parliament. The poll was conducted on the streets of Colombo and via email. Its results are on Page 1. The two questions asked, which required a Y (Yes), N (No) or U (Undecided) response were: (1) The presidential system of [...]

ICC begins Rs. 4 bn apartment complex in Galle

International Construction Consortium (Pvt) Ltd, one of Sri Lanka’s frontline construction firms, has embarked on an ambitious Rs. 4 billion apartment complex in Galle. “The ocean-front serviced apartments’ concept, initiated by ICC, is one which goes beyond horizons in the real estate industry. Inspired by the success of service vacation condominiums on the beaches of [...]

Bank of Ceylon, first state institution to provide 1 MW to the national grid

Sri Lanka’s biggest bank, the Bank of Ceylon now contributes 1MW solar power energy to the national grid, the first state institution to do so, with the ultimate aim of providing solar power energy to 42 bank branches. It was generated with the view to reducing the energy consumption of the bank along with its [...]

‘WeChat Pay’ launched in Sri Lanka for the first time by Commercial Bank

Chinese tourists visiting Sri Lanka now have the added benefit of purchasing goods and services and paying for them through ‘WeChat Pay’ – one of the leading mobile payment solutions in China, consequent to a partnership between the Commercial Bank of Ceylon PLC and Tenpay Payment Technology Ltd. This mobile app solution is brought to [...]

Carmel Clothing’s CSR project

Carmel Clothing’s CSR project

Carmel Sri Lanka, a leading global fashion supplier, has donated Santa Gifts to the Parakrama Boys Home at Aniyakanda, Ragama. The team decided at a time of year of sharing and to spread the joy of Christmas by pooling their monies from the Secret Santa fund to help those in need. The gifts ranged from [...]

Amana’s insurance policy to care for the elderly

Amana Takaful PLC (ATL) recently announced “KruthaGuna” which covers those over 55. ATL’s pioneering hospitalisation policy, especially designed for individuals over 55 years, has taken this sentiment to the next level. Meaning ‘Gratitude’, KruthaGuna provides you with financial security and much needed support in times of need, providing you peace of mind to spend time, [...]

Sri Lanka economists’ annual gathering on Jan. 18-19

President Maithripala Sirisena, Central Bank Governor, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy and World Bank Country Director Dr. Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough are among the speakers at the inauguration of the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA)’s annual sessions next week. This regular annual meeting will be held on January 18-19 at the Centre for Banking Studies Auditorium, Central Bank [...]

Cost and resolution of the fishing dispute between Sri Lanka and India

Cost and resolution of the fishing  dispute between Sri Lanka and India

Fisherpersons of Sri Lanka and India have been fishing in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, Palk Strait (the latter two together are also commonly known as the Sethusamudram), and elsewhere harmoniously from time immemorial using traditional equipment and methods of fishing. However, due to technological advancements (modern fishing vessels including multi-day boats and trawlers, [...]

NDB’s unique sustainable solution for the human-elephant conflict

NDB’s unique sustainable solution for the human-elephant conflict

NDB Bank recently embarked on a unique initiative to mitigate the human-elephant conflict in some areas in Sri Lanka. In a media release, the bank said the threat to elephants due to the human-elephant conflict has become one of the most pressing conservation issues in wildlife management in Sri Lanka. The country was home to [...]

Illicit cigarette market: Rs. 18 bn loss to the state

While businesses keep arguing over various outrageous taxes imposed by the government of Sri Lanka in certain sectors, pointing out the loss made due to smuggling of cigarettes into the country is vital. If smuggled cigarettes were taxed the government would have earned billions, a new study reveals. Three professors from the University of Kelaniya [...]

Standard Chartered Sri Lanka appoints first local CEO

Global bank, Standard Chartered has appointed its first Sri Lankan Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Bingumal Thewarathanthri effective January 1, 2019. He takes over from Jim McCabe, who has retired at the end of 2018 following a four-year tenure in Sri Lanka since 2015, the bank said on Saturday. The new CEO, counts for more than [...]

Foresight and innovation lessons for SL’s public sector

Foresight and innovation  lessons for SL’s public sector

Citra, Sri Lanka’s first Social Innovation Lab, recognising the vital role of a strong public sector in the achievement of Sri Lanka’s ambitious development goals, through a partnership with the Ministry of Public Administration and Law and Order co-developed and conducted a five day ‘Foresight and Innovation for Public Service Excellence’ training in early October. [...]

HSBC’s Global Head of Digital visits Sri Lanka

HSBC’s Global Head of Digital visits Sri Lanka

Josh Bottomley, Global Head of Digital, Data and Development, HSBC visited Sri Lanka last month with the highlight of his visit being a Breakfast Briefing hosted for CEOs, CXOs and HSBC Premier clients, themed “Evolving Digital Opportunities”. The event was conducted in partnership with SLASSCOM, the local body representing the IT/BPO industry, one of fastest [...]

Vehicle screens go super-sized at CES as tech catches up

REUTERS, LAS VEGAS, Jan 9 – Take a glance at the vehicle displays shown at CES and you could be forgiven for thinking you are at the movies. “This is not science fiction!” announced the head of Byton, an electric vehicle startup, onstage earlier this week at the global technology conference in Las Vegas. CEO [...]

Private insurance to compensate farmers hit by wild elephant attacks

Data shows that during 2011-2015, elephant attacks have led to 414 human deaths and 6320 incidents of property related damage in Sri Lanka. “We have also lost 1147 elephants during the same period on an average of 230-240 a year. The break down is about four elephants a week which is very alarming,” said Dr. [...]

Mercantile Investments wins at CA Sri Lanka competition

Mercantile Investments wins  at CA Sri Lanka competition

Mercantile Investments and Finance PLC (MI) was recognised yet again for financial reporting excellence, winning two prestigious awards at the recently held CA Sri Lanka annual report awards ceremony. The company secured the Finance Company sector Silver award and went on to win the all island Bronze award in Integrated reporting, for the “best disclosure [...]

HNB, 27th Lane Business Hub to introduce Sri Lankan SMEs to German market

HNB, 27th Lane Business Hub to introduce  Sri Lankan SMEs to German market

HNB PLC in partnership with 27th Lane Business Hub (27LBH) will be sponsoring Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) exporters to visit International Green Week (IGW) in Berlin, Germany. Taking place from January 18 to 20, the delegation of Sri Lankan SMEs will be provided with an invaluable opportunity to showcase locally manufactured organic products at [...]

CBL wins Gold at Singapore Quality Convention

CBL wins Gold at Singapore Quality Convention

Ceylon Biscuits Ltd (CBL), one of Sri Lanka’s largest FMCG conglomerates, was recently awarded a prestigious Gold at the 43rd International Convention on Quality Control Circles (ICQCC) in Singapore. Winning a coveted Gold at ICQCC 2018, CBL’s Synergy team emerged victorious from a pool of 475 competing teams that represented 13 countries. The team was [...]

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