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Traffic control

Traffic control

A traffic policeman controls traffic at a busy junction outside Colombo when the curfew was relaxed last Tuesday. Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara  

Government steers employees through COVID-19 crisis

As Sri Lanka faces an indefinite curfew in Colombo, Gampaha and Kalutara districts and the whole country is under the COVID-19 watch, the Government has initiated action to protect employees and address private sector business challenges and risks. In response to a trade union request, Minister of Labour Dinesh Gunawardena recently convened a special ministerial [...]

CCC facilitates smooth operations for member firms

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has sought approval for member firms engaged in manufacturing food, medicine and personal hygiene items to continue their operations during the ongoing curfew. “We have submitted a list of companies engaged in manufacturing food, medicine and personal hygiene items such as soap and sanitiser to continue their operations, to [...]

Sri Lanka’s apparel industry shut owing to the crisis

With cancellations on the order books, Sri Lanka’s apparel industry is facing a crisis as most of its factories have shut down operations following the curfew imposed to battle the coronavirus pandemic. “We are completely shut down. The industry is going through cancellations and payments not coming in from customers as well as most of [...]

Hotels in Colombo open for dine-ins, deliveries

Hotels in Colombo are nearly empty but continue to be open for dine-in, takeaway or deliveries. Despite Sri Lanka going under a curfew in its combat against the coronavirus, hotels in Colombo will continue to remain open for guests and those wanting to buy food, City Hotels Association President M. Shanthikumar told the Business Times [...]

Boom in remote working

In these unprecedented times where people across the globe are confronting COVID-19 and adjusting their lives accordingly, more and more firms are shifting towards remote working or working from home. Concerns about the COVID-19 virus have led many companies to engage in remote working, as the government is encouraging or requiring people to stay home [...]

Here comes the recession again!

Here comes the recession again!

“Fall of the West and rise of Asia”, was the title of a couple of lectures I used to deliver a few years ago. It was about the global economic crisis in 2008/09. Although the crisis was called “global”, it was the advanced countries – particularly the US, Europe, and Japan, which suffered the most [...]



Whew! What a week and we are only at the beginning of the biggest-ever wait-and-see that the world has experienced in modern history. The ‘choon paan karaya’ was erratic with his bread and savouries’ delivery during curfew hours. Mobile bakers have been allowed to distribute items during the curfew. For the very first time, the [...]

Apparel workers struggle to meet expenses during COVID-19 curfew

The government and Sri Lanka’s garment industry employers have been urged to step in and look after the well-being of thousands of workers who face hardships as factories close and orders dry up in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many apparel factories are already closing due to a shortage of raw materials from China [...]



A policeman watches while people queue outside a cooperative store near Colombo. Pic by M.A. Pushpakumara  

Special initiatives from Hutch to encourage work from home

Mobile service provider, Hutch, in a statement on Monday, said that it is supporting the Government’s efforts by rapidly rolling out a number of innovative initiatives that will allow subscribers to remain always connected in order to be kept informed and also to continue with their daily activities from home. The first initiative is to [...]

SL Retail Association urges precautions to staff, customers to contain COVID-19

The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) has stressed on the utmost need for the business community to take all necessary precautions to protect their employees, their customers, and the community at large against COVID-19 outbreak. “The virus is an infectious condition which can spread both directly and indirectly, from one person to another. It involves [...]

Abans Group donates to hospitals across island

With many responsible citizens joining in to support the efforts of the government, Abans Group too has lent a hand. “It was a privilege to get the opportunity to support the frontline staff who are truly working around the clock for us,” said Tito Pestonjee, Managing Director, Abans Group in a media statement. Abans Group [...]

Wheat flour supplier Prima’s measures to ensure food security

Prima Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd (PCL), a primary producer and supplier of wheat flour in the country, has reassured the public and the government of Sri Lanka that it is fully prepared to continue its supply uninterrupted, to ensure national food security. Even in the event of more stringent measures being adopted within the country, with [...]

Hemas FMCG donates goods for quarantine centres

Hemas FMCG recently donated a large quantity of personal care items to the Sri Lanka Army. Over 10,000 assorted bars of Shield soap, and other personal care products including Clogard toothpaste, Clogard smart toothbrushes and Kumarika shampoo were donated to the Sri Lanka Army towards the comfort of the individuals in the quarantine centres located [...]

Serendib Flour Mills says has ample flour stocks

Serendib Flour Mills (SFML), one of the main wheat flour suppliers in Sri Lanka, has assured the general public of its commitment to ensure that there are ample stocks of wheat flour available in the market. In a public statement, the company confirmed that the current situation in the country has not adversely affected the [...]

Government facilitates exporters to maintain supply chains

The Government, battling with the coronavirus crisis, has assured that affected exporters will be provided with logistical and other assistance for the exportation of their already finished products and to meet the deadline of their export orders. The Ports and Shipping Ministry will be coordinating with relevant ministries and agencies to expedite the arrangements including [...]

Dialog’s e-working and other solutions during COVID-19

Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, as the global pandemic crisis intensifies, says it remains committed to keeping Sri Lanka connected during these challenging times. In a media release on Monday, Dialog said it is fully prepared and dedicated to maintaining business continuity of its telecommunication infrastructure and digital services for all its [...]

Checking groceries

Checking groceries

A woman checks her groceries outside the Economic Centre at Welisara. Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara  

NBFIs to extend credit support for SMEs to accelerate economic growth

The Government has included finance and leasing companies in the scheme to provide immediate relief to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are the economy’s backbone, by way of freezing capital repayment for one year to kick-start growth via key sectors. “Finance and leasing companies will be included in the scheme on the same [...]

EPF dormant accounts hits new high

Many Sri Lankans are in the habit of changing jobs frequently and they may have several Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts and at least one or more could be inoperative. This was due to the practice of opening a new account for them by employers, and employees may have forgotten to transfer, amalgamate or withdraw [...]

Pannipitiya hospital’s 20% off on all health checks

Pannipitiya Private Hospital, taking into account the situation in the country with the spread of COVID-19, is offering a 20 per cent discount on all its health medical check packages. The hospital has made this special offer taking into account the special emphasis people are placing on health issues these days. “Therefore Pannipitiya Private Hospital [...]

World Bank, IMF urge suspension of debt payments of poorest countries

The World Bank and the IMF on Wednesday jointly urged “official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA or the poorest countries in the world”. It said the coronavirus outbreak is likely to have severe economic and social consequences for IDA countries, home to a quarter of the world’s population and two-thirds of the [...]

HSBC offers relief to personal, corporate customers

HSBC Sri Lanka, is offering a range of relief measures for its personal and corporate customers given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a media release, Mark Prothero, CEO of HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives said, “The coronavirus will have considerable health and economic impacts across the country. Its impact on businesses, especially [...]

SLI to provide customers convenience vis-à-vis COVID-19

Sri Lanka Insurance (SLIC) in support of the Government initiative to prevent the spreading of Covid 19 virus has launched a series of initiatives to provide a safe continuous service to its customers. Motor insurance policy holders whose renewals fall within the period of March 16 to 19 who have contacted SLIC offices will be [...]

Key takeaways from the Ceylon Chamber Webinar on “COVID-19: Are We Prepared?”

In line with the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s initiative to tackle how the new coronavirus affects industries and businessmen, the Ceylon Chamber recently hosted an interactive webinar on “COVID-19: Are We Prepared?” for its member organisations. Besides, information on the current epidemic and the measures for prevention, personal protection and management, the emphasis was also [...]

COVID-19 crisis will not be over soon: Prepare for a long slog

The current lock-down – not only here but affecting two billion people around the world – should make it clear to everyone how serious COVID-19 is. What many still do not appreciate is that closing our ports and even a one month lockdown will not make the problem go away. Let me be clear first [...]

IMF chief urges countries to work together to tackle COVID-19

The human costs of the coronavirus pandemic are already immeasurable and all countries need to work together to protect people and limit the economic damage. This is a moment for solidarity—which was a major theme of the meeting on Monday at the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. This was stated by IMF Managing [...]

At least 25 mln will lose jobs due to COVID-19

At least 25 mln will lose jobs due to COVID-19

The human dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic reach far beyond the critical health response. All aspects of our future will be affected – economic, social and developmental. Our response must be urgent, coordinated and on a global scale, and should immediately deliver help to those most in need. From workplaces, to enterprises, to national and [...]

SriLankan Airlines appeals to the public to respect its employees

National carrier SriLankan Airlines on Tuesday urged the public to respect its workers after several social media posts appeared discriminating airline staff in connection with the COVID-19 infection. “It is extremely unfortunate that these posts have subjected the airline staff and their immediate families to discrimination, distress and embarrassment at public places such as hotels, [...]

Hirdaramani’s H One launches all-encompassing digital factory-floor solution, Res.Q 2020

H One (Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka’s leading full-service digital solutions provider and IT arm of textile powerhouse Hirdaramani, has announced the launch of the newest module of the Res.Q product suite; an end-to-end program that sets out to optimise the operations of Sri Lanka’s booming apparel manufacturing industry. At a recent event to launch the [...]

SriLankan Airlines appeals to the public to respect its employees

National carrier SriLankan Airlines on Tuesday urged the public to respect its workers after several social media posts appeared discriminating airline staff in connection with the COVID-19 infection. “It is extremely unfortunate that these posts have subjected the airline staff and their immediate families to discrimination, distress and embarrassment at public places such as hotels, [...]

NCE commends the Government on measures taken

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) which serves and represents Sri Lankan enterprises in the vital export sector, has praised the Government on the measures taken to overcome the challenges the country faces due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a media statement, the Council of the NCE has urged those in the [...]

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