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Lunch packets

Lunch packets

More and more Sri Lankans are relying on buying lunch packets from roadside vendors, as this picture shows. Another reason for this preference may be because people are not too happy with the level of cleanliness and hygiene in restaurants. Pic by Ishanka Sunimal

Government mulls state banking sector reforms

With the current political instability and massive debt repayment taking its toll on the country’s coffers, the Government is planning to draw money into state-owned commercial banks by selling 10 per cent of its shares to the public under a restructuring process. State-owned banks especially Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and People’s Bank will be allowed [...]

Finance Ministry fine-tunes populist Budget 2019

The Finance Ministry is now fine-tuning the upcoming budget 2019, the first by the United National Front (UNF) Government following the breakaway of the coalition with the SLFP, to be presented in parliament on March 5 amidst falling revenue, mounting public debt and severe balance of payments difficulties. Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told a forum [...]

NDB deploys robotic processing technology for account opening and transactions

NDB deploys robotic processing technology for account opening and transactions

The NDB Bank (NDB) opened its first paperless branch last month in Colombo where it has deployed robotic process automation (RPA) at this branch for the account opening and transactions processing. In an interview with the Business Times Dimantha Seneviratne, Group CEO NDB, said this move signifies NDB’s transition into the digital age. The new [...]

Rupee stabilises against US $

The Sri Lanka rupee was stable against the US currency this week being pegged at 179.60 per dollar on Friday. This was however a slightly higher rate for the dollar than Monday’s close of Rs. 178.60. Dealers said there was a shortage of liquidity in the market and noted that the Central Bank move on [...]

Parakrama Dissanayake steps down from State post

Less than six months into the job, Parakrama Dissanayake, a veteran in the maritime industry, will be resigning as the Secretary to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Southern Development by the middle of next month, to take up a new position as Deputy Chairman/Managing Director of the Aitken Spence Group. Prior to this appointment, [...]

Colombo’s traffic nightmare

This was a ‘friendly’ debate in the garden between Kussi Amma Sera, Serapina and Mabel Rasthiyadu under the margosa tree. Sweaty and perspiring, Serapina had rushed into the garden, complaining bitterly about the traffic on Thursday morning. “Balanna Akkey, goda kalayak nasthiwuna paare, traffic hinda (I wasted a lot of time on the road due [...]

“Twins” who don’t know each other

“Twins” who don’t know each other

The scene is Benjamin’s coffee shop located in the Covent Garden in London, not today or recently, but about 150 years ago. The fragrance of coffee aroma coming from the coffee shop was refreshing the whole area in the cold mornings. It was more than an invitation to the neighbours, the shopkeepers, the customers and [...]

Property market: Now the time to buy

“Now is the time to buy” was the chorus of property experts at the Lanka Property Show 2019, according to a media release issued by Lanka Property Web on the recently-held Lanka Property Show 2019. This year’s event also comprised a very perceptive panel discussion themed ‘Real Estate Market Outlook of 2019’ and included industry [...]

Sri Lanka moving towards truly liberalised economy, removing controls

Time has come for Sri Lanka’s private sector to change their attitude of depending on state concessions and protection to make a tradable economy as the government is committed to liberalise the economy removing excessive controls. This was the strong message conveyed to the public at the inaugural ‘Breakfast Buzz’ hosted by the American Chamber [...]

LAUGFS Chairman honoured with ‘Hall of Fame’ award by FCCISL

Recognising his exemplary contribution to the country, LAUGFS Holdings Chairman, W.K.H. Wegapitiya, was awarded the prestigious “Hall of Fame” award by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) at the 23rd Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year Awards held recently. “Hall of Fame” is a lifetime award bestowed to recognise [...]

‘Taxpayers frustrated by IRD’s RAMIS system’

Nadun Guruge, acting Commissioner General of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), has written to the Business Times with reference to last week’s story under the above headline. The letter says: “The IRD categorically rejects the allegations made in the said article which are baseless and factually incorrect. It is regretted that the article has been [...]

People’s Leasing eyes local consolidation, expanding insurance arm

People’s Leasing eyes local consolidation, expanding insurance arm

People’s Leasing and Finance Co. (PLC) says this will be a year of consolidation while exploring expansion into the insurance sector. “We are the fifth largest general insurer through a subsidiary, People’s Insurance. We have big plans to expand this year,” Sabri Ibrahim, CEO/General Manager PLC told the Business Times in an interview. People’s Insurance [...]

Visionary on eradication of rural poverty

It is nine years since the passing away of Dr. H.N.S. Karunatilake, a highly respected economist, scholar, able administrator and a strict disciplinarian. Dr. Karunatilake took over the governorship of the Central Bank during one of the darkest periods in the history of independent Sri Lanka, when the Northeast as well as the South of [...]

Fastest-growing South Asia expected to grow further, WB official says

The South Asian region is the fastest growing region in the world where growth has been strong. Eight countries in the region have recorded 6.9 per cent growth which is expected to exceed 7 per cent next year, said Dr. Hartwig Schafer, Vice President South Asia Region of the World Bank. The visiting official, speaking [...]

Dearth of female role models in Sri Lanka

There is a dearth of female role models in Sri Lanka to inspire other upcoming women, SAARC Chamber Women Entrepreneur Council (SCWEC), Chairperson, Rifa Musthapha told the Business Times. Women need to be encouraged and showcased with the achievements they have made in their career for other women to be inspired, she added. She was [...]

Tivanka Ekaratne elected 28th President of the Colombo Law Society

The Colombo Law Society, the largest branch association of lawyers in Sri Lanka, with more than 3500 members recently elected Tivanka Ekaratne as its President for the year 2019/2020. He is the youngest to be appointed to this prestigious office. Mr.Ekaratne possesses a Master’s degree in International Trade Law from the University of Wales, United [...]

Modest overall growth in FY 2018 for Seylan Bank

Seylan Bank, in the backdrop of a challenging external environment, has recorded a Profit-after-Tax of Rs. 3,189 million for the year ended 31st December 2018 after one-off adjustment of Rs. 1,135 million to resolve the long standing issue of additional gratuity. The bank’s advances grew by 16.4 per cent while the deposit base grew by [...]

Sapphire Residences get interest from local and foreign HNWI sportsmen

Sapphire Residences, a collaboration between ITC Ltd India and Welcome Hotels Lanka (Pvt) Ltd has garnered much interest from many High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) personalities, amongst them local and foreign sportsmen, officials said. An exclusive collection of 132 apartments with two to five bedrooms, including four penthouses (nearly 9,000 sq ft), it is a [...]

F&G Group, collapsed company saga continues with deceptions

Almost nine years after the collapse of the F&G Group of companies (F&G Real Estate and F&G Property Developers) along with the Golden key Credit Card Company debacle and the fall of the Ceylinco – Lalith Kotelawala empire, another attempt to mislead the judiciary has been revealed recently to the dismay of depositors and investors [...]

Japan’s Odakyu Group exclusively partners TAD Group for Rs. 4.5 bn investment in Sri Lanka

The Odakyu Group, one of the largest conglomerates operating in a multitude of mandates in transport, realestate and retail in Japan together with its consortium partners Stacia Capital and UDS, is no stranger to grand ventures. Now, for the first time in its illustrious 70 year history, it is reaching far beyond Japan as it [...]

Advocata Institute to host Asia Liberty Forum, 2019

Over 200 participants, comprising leading academics, policymakers and intellectuals from over 30 countries will come together in Colombo, Sri Lanka for the 2019 Asia Liberty Forum to discuss challenges facing the Asian region and to learn from each other on how to most effectively advance free-market reforms. Asia Liberty forum is an annual event by [...]

Condominium Developers Association responds to real estate article

The Condominium Developers Association of Sri Lanka has taken umbrage over comments made by Ravi Abeysuriya, Group Director, Group Director of Candor Group of companies in last week’s Business Times under an article titled “”Uncertainty in Sri Lankan property market”. In a letter to the newspaper, the association has criticised Mr. Abeysuriya’s comments on the [...]

Estate unions’ Rs.1000 demo kicks off in March

The agreed wage hike of estate workers between plantation companies and some unions has come in for further flak by the All Ceylon Estate Workers Union (ACEWU) whose 7000-strong membership will commence demonstrations from March 3 in Hatton. ACEWU Secretary J.M.A. Premaratne insisted that workers who were promised a Rs.1000 wage hike must be given [...]

Sri Lanka falls behind in emerging technologies, Singapore ICT expert says

Sri Lanka has a long way to go when it comes to adoption of emerging technologies, as the country is not even prepared to grasp changes in the face of technology disruption, an international ICT expert said. Veteran ICT expert, Prof. Alex Siow, who was on a short visit to Sri Lanka, noted that the [...]

Sri Lanka sells sovereign bonds first to repay mounting debts

Sri Lanka has met the scheduled repayment of the maturing International Sovereign Bond of US$ 1 billion last month. By end January 2019, gross official reserves stood at $ 6.2 billion, which was sufficient to finance 3.4 months of imports, Central Bank (CB) Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy told reporters in Colombo on Friday. Another $400 million [...]

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