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COVID-19 precautions

COVID-19 precautions

With economic activity increasing in the Western Province, a shop in Kelaniya has installed a COVID-19 disinfection chamber to enter the premises with staff wearing PPE standing by. Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara.

Third Vote on Account for 2020 on the cards

The Finance Ministry is now preparing another 3-month Vote on Account commencing from June 2020, the third for the year, to raise the necessary finances from the Consolidated Fund, the top official at the Treasury revealed this week. The move comes amidst protests from opposition parties that the new government’s spending must be subject to [...]

Virtual AGMs will be a ‘thing’ in SL

Companies across the world have been forced to alter their plans for their annual meetings in response to restrictions on mass gatherings aimed at halting the spread of coronavirus by the government. So this year, at least, some familiar sights on the corporate calendar will disappear. The beginning of AGM season coincided with the nationwide [...]

SriLankan retrenches staff, BIA readies for reopening

SriLankan Airlines has downsized staff with about a thousand already retrenched, the airline’s Chairman Ashok Pathirage said on Tuesday. “We have retrenched contract and trainees and reduced outsourced staff,” Mr. Pathirage said adding that there would have been about a total of 1000. When queried whether there would be further retrenchment of staff, the chairman [...]

Sri Lanka lobbies for FDIs in apparel

Sri Lanka continues to lobby for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) mainly from the apparel and manufacturing sectors and agriculture-based companies. Board of Investment (BOI) Director General Sanjaya Mohottala told the Business Times on Tuesday that they were currently having several ongoing discussions with prospective investors in the apparel and manufacturing sectors. Sri Lanka’s apparel industry [...]

Sri Lankan banks feel the pressure of non-performing loans

Sri Lanka’s banking sector will be feeling the pinch of moratoriums and other relief given for debtors of banks to enable them to survive in the present economic crisis triggered by   the COVID-19 pandemic, finance and banking analysts said. Non-performing Loans (NPLs) of banks are expected to rise to 7.4 per cent within six months [...]

Ramping up the stock market

Ramping up the stock market

Sudden change of plans. The Sunday Times being printed early this week meant I would be missing the usual Thursday morning conversation at the gate of Kussi Amma Sera, Mabel Rasthiyadu and Serapina. No more listening to snatches of their conversation this week. On this Wednesday morning, Kussi Amma Sera was preparing breakfast – kiribath [...]

Optimising use of grassroots public service to manage COVID -19

Optimising use of grassroots public  service to manage COVID -19

Mahattaya padinchiya mahanuwara neda? Ehenam bayak sakak nethiwa inna puluwani. Dalada saminduge balma thiyenawa ne… ane waasanaawai.” This was told to me by a fellow passenger, clad in white national garb, sharing a seat in public transport. My home is in Aniwatta, Kandy. I am safe. No visitors. House bound for over a month due [...]

Importers look for relief for survival from loss of business

Sri Lankan importers are scrambling to clear goods currently considered as essential items as well as non essential merchandise ordered by large number of them before COVID-19 crisis. Operating instructions issued by Import and Export Control Department on March 24 and the slow processing of documents and red tape of the bureaucracy have pushed local [...]

Tea exports drop by 50% in two months

Sri Lanka’s tea exports are half the normal quantities at this time of the year due to worker shortages amidst increased demand from overseas buyers. Tea Exporters Association Chairman Jayantha Karunaratne said on Tuesday that the March and April exports had dropped by about 50 per cent compared to last year. He noted currently tea [...]

Cinnamon Life resumes construction at site

Cinnamon Life resumes construction at site

Cinnamon Life by the John Keells Group, Colombo’s iconic landmark and the single, largest, private mixed development investment in Sri Lanka, has resumed construction after a lockdown since March 2020. An inspection of the Cinnamon Life construction site was made by Colombo Chief Public Health Inspector Dr. R. L. De S. Wijayamuni and other public [...]

Singer records 11% rise in PAT for 2019/20 amidst challenges

The Singer Group has reported a full year (FY) 2019/20 consolidated revenue of Rs. 55 billion with an 11 per cent rise in Profit after Tax (PAT) despite the ongoing challenging business environment. The group’s consolidated gross profit for the year increased by 2 per cent to Rs. 16.4 billion and at the company level, [...]

Legal action by unions if EFC firms cut wages drastically

The Ceylon Federation of Labour (CFL) is perturbed to learn of a purported agreement between the Employers Federation of Ceylon (EFC) and a rump of four unions claiming to constitute the labour task force to deprive workers in the private sector of their due wages and impose a drastic wage-cut on them. The proposed wage [...]

HNB Group posts Rs 3.3 bn PAT for Q1 2020

Hatton National Bank PLC (HNB) has posted a Profit After Tax (PAT) of Rs. 2.6 billion for Q1 2020, representing an increase of Rs. 607 million over Q1 2019. In a media release issued by the company, Dinesh Weerakkody, Chairman of HNB said, “2019 was extremely challenging for the entire banking sector and we welcomed [...]

NTB’s operating profit down but gains in post-tax profit for 1Q2020

The Nations Trust Bank Group’s operating profit before taxes fell by 7 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 due to a multitude of reasons including the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic but post-tax profit increased by 24 per cent due to withdrawal of the Debt Repayment Levy and NBT on financial services, the [...]

SEC-CSE joint committee draws up digitisation master plan

SEC-CSE joint committee draws up digitisation master plan

This time the capital market just cannot go wrong. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has got a gamut of proposals to relieve the market from its current brittle state and the new chief is determined to see them to fruition. A joint committee of the SEC and the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) on Wednesday [...]

CPC and LIOC sell petrol at 5 rupee price difference

Global crude oil prices are crashing to high levels amidst the COVID-19 crisis but Sri Lankans will not benefit from it as Sri Lankan and Indian fuel retailers maintain different prices not commensurate with world price fluctuations. Amidst massive accumulated operational losses, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) is compelled to keep the petrol price (LP 92) [...]

Hayleys Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC shines at Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2019

Hayleys Talawakelle Tea Estates PLC (TTEL) was presented with two Silver Awards at the recently concluded Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards (ASRA) 2019. Hosted virtually from Singapore due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the event saw over 200 senior business leaders, sustainability partners, academia, trade associations and advocacy organisations attend the event via a virtual conference, [...]

Jetwing’s Hiran says bilateral ties way forward

As hoteliers await a direction from authorities to welcome tourists they urge for bilateral ties to generate traffic, tourism authorities have stated July to be the reopening month for tourist arrivals. Veteran hotelier and Jetwing Chairman Hiran Cooray speaking with the Business Times on Tuesday said: “If we get into certain bilateral agreements from countries [...]

Overhauling the motor insurance industry

Given the record number of vehicles being imported, ensuing road congestion and the increase in accidents, the motor insurance industry should be closely scrutinised. Today, Sri Lanka’s motor insurance industry is dominated by a handful of companies but is lacking the best practices and standards compared to the rest of the world. It is plagued [...]

Designer facemasks from Signature brand

Designer facemasks from Signature brand

Signature, Sri Lanka’s iconic fashion brand, has launched the Signature brand face mask. The company said the re-usable, three-ply masks are made from 100 per cent soft cotton-fabric with an extra layer in-between the inner and outer layers, and are built to ensure maximum safety.  

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