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New Manning Market complex

New Manning Market complex

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, amidst his busy schedule as Finance Minister attending the budget debate, seen here on Friday opening the new Manning Market complex at Peliyagoda. Picture from the PM’s media office

Colombo Port fights pandemic; freight rates skyrocket

Two of the Colombo Port’s terminals are back to full working capacity while the third one shows some improvement amidst the COVID-19 pandemic but shipping industry and exporters and importers are concerned about vessels bypassing and a spike in freight rates. “The congestion was there for the last two to three days – this will [...]

Two LNG power projects get underway

The groundwork towards commencing two LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) power plants involving an American and a local company has been laid by the government weeks before highlighting it in budget 2021, official sources said. Budget 2021 revealed that two LNG plants are to be added to the national power grid while a new plant will [...]

Inconsistency leads to mismatch in some budget numbers

Some inconsistencies in the Budget 2021 has led to economists and some opposition MPs questioning some of its numbers including several financial allocations which were over or underestimated. Unveiling some omitted numbers relating to the government’s overall revenue and expenditure in the 2021 budget, economists said these figures are (elsewhere) available in the supplementary documents [...]

Budget 2021 – A ‘grow’ your way out of trouble strategy

This year’s budget reflects a ‘growing your way out of it’ or spend your way out of it strategy with the government giving a push to businesses on the back of low growth. Focus on infrastructure improvements, like roads and railways, will increase the country’s competitiveness for the future, analysts said. The government’s focus on [...]

Revised taxes, MRP complicate commodities market

The Government has complicated commodities trading by slashing the Special Commodity Levy (SCL) on some essential commodities to 25 cents from Rs.50 and enforcing the maximum retail price (MRP/controlled price) without considering tax revenue implications and market dynamics, consumer affairs experts divulged. Taxes were reduced to 25 cents from Rs.50 for sugar and big onions [...]

Expolanka PLC sees 3% decline despite DPS

Expolanka PLC saw a 3 per cent fall in share price (80 cents) to Rs.26.10 on Wednesday, on a volume of 11.8 million shares, despite a dividend per share (DPS) announcement of 50 cents after trading on Wednesday. The decline in Expolanka’s share price in spite of its dividend announcement may be an indication of [...]

Inward-looking budget

Inward-looking budget

Despite being a gloomy morning, the three friends had gathered under the margosa tree for their regular Thursday ‘gossip’. They were there after buying ‘maalu paan’ from ‘Aldoris’, the ‘choon-paan karaya’, after some banter with him as he came down the lane. “Aya-weye honda deval thiyanawa. Ekak thama aanduwe kattiyata rassawal dekak karanna puluwan eka [...]

Poor pay more taxes?

Poor pay more taxes?

There is a popular saying, particularly during the time the government’s budget is presented, that “the poor pay more taxes than the rich” in Sri Lanka. Whenever I heard it, I had a question: How is it possible? I thought of worthwhile noting it at the outset for our discussion today, not just to answer [...]

Fairfirst Insurance launches Weather Index Insurance

Fairfirst Insurance in collaboration with Oxfam has launched a Weather Index Insurance that helps protect Sri Lanka’s farming community specifically the spice farmers. Insurance coverages available in the market at present do not cater to spice farmers, as such this insurance policy by Fairfirst, will be a strong supplement to existing insurance coverages available to [...]


MSC LANKA (Pvt) Ltd., has sent the following statement in response to our news item in the Business Times last week (November 15 issue) titled “Major shipping line pulls out of Colombo Port”. “We write to inform you that we, (MSC Lanka nor our Principal, MSC GENEVA) have published or made any announcement of MSC [...]

Steady growth at Janashakthi Life amidst COVID-19

Janashakthi Insurance PLC (Janashakthi) has posted pre-tax profit amounting to Rs. 545.03 million for the nine months ending September 2020, reflecting a double-digit year-on-year growth of 18 per cent, in comparison to the same period in 2019 – amidst the COVID-19 challenges.   The company’s net income recorded a growth of 14 per cent at Rs. [...]

Maize farming in Kantale sugar factory land struggles thro’ red tape

 ABoard of Investment (BOI) agriculture-based company is grappling with local bureaucratic red tape to initiate commercial maize contract farming at Kantale, Trincomalee, informed sources said. This large barren land will be handed over to farmers dividing it to five acre blocks each for maize cultivation under the facilitation of private companies and investors till the [...]

Port City Colombo competition: ‘Lodiya’ and ‘Wall of Bubbles’ emerge winners

Port City Colombo  competition: ‘Lodiya’ and ‘Wall  of Bubbles’ emerge winners

‘Lodiya’, a creative sculpture concept submitted by a team from the City School of Architecture – Tharindu Perera, Pulasthi Handunge and Viranga Waduge, won the Port City Colombo Student Design Competition ‘Envision the Future’ Beach Sculpture category while ‘Wall of Bubbles’ a creative concept submitted by R. Javaneesan, a student from Jaffna studying at the [...]

JSS membership falls sharply

The Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS), which is unofficially connected to the opposition United National Party (UNP), seems to be afflicted with the same concerns faced by the UNP – dwindling membership. The union, once one of the most powerful and oldest trade union organisations in the country when the UNP was governing at its peak [...]

Ceylon Chamber welcomes growth-oriented National Budget 2021

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has welcomes the proposals in the National Budget 2021 which are business friendly, production oriented and demonstrative of policy continuity. The Budget has focused on boosting economic growth by enhancing exports, providing investment relief for key thrust sectors supplemented by public investment proposals, promoting capital markets and supporting the growth [...]

Working towards a fair society and economic growth during COVID-19

The escalating PCR positive number alone is not a disaster for the country, as the “case rate” (the number of positive PCR cases divided by the total number of PCRs done) is almost static for the past few months. Considering this, the curfew enforced in October in Sri Lanka was unnecessary. The latter seems to [...]

Aitken Spence achieves 33% growth in 2Q PBT from non-tourism sectors

Aitken Spence PLC’s non-tourism sectors reported a Profit-Before-Tax (PBT) of Rs. 1.13 billion in 2Q2020/21, a growth of 33 per cent compared to the previous year in the midst of challenging economic conditions. These sectors also reported an EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Expense, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) of Rs. 1.59 billion prior to the impact [...]

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