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13th September 1998

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Business delegation to Bonn, Rome

A business delegation will leave for Germany, Italy and Belgium next month.

The mission to Germany is organised by the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the German Embassy in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Bonn. In Germany, the delegation will visit the BDI, with ministers, sectoral associations and with the business community.

EBIC is organising this activity in the framework of its objectives to raise the profile of the European Union among the business community in Sri Lanka, organising seminars, workshops and other public events on issues relating to doing business with the European Union, and promoting a better understanding of the business environment in Sri Lanka and the European Union.

In Italy, the delegation will first visit Rome to meet ministers and the confederation of industries and other trade promotion organizations to appraise them of the investment climate in Sri Lanka and on the various incentives the Sri Lankan government offers to foreign investors through the Board of Investment.

In Belgium, the delegation will meet officials of the European Commission in Brussels, to better acclimatise themselves of the programmes of the Commission as well as EU regulations and other aspects governing business in the EU. The visit to Belgium will also include establishment of business contacts with sectors of mutual interest.

India comes to SAARC trade fair in a big way

The Second SAARC Trade Fair will be held from Sept. 8 to 15 at the BMICH, Colombo. The fair is organised by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka and Export Development Board of Sri Lanka.

India's participation at the SAARC fair is the largest with more than 90 participants. India pavilion will cover an area of 1000 sqm space - both open and covered.

A wide range of products and services offered by India to the international markets like transport equipment, cars, mopeds , 3-wheelers, tyres, machine tools, builders hardware, welding equipment, electrical motors, electronics, telecommunications equipment, packaging machinery, chemicals, dairy equipment, processed food, textiles, writing instruments, etc, will be on display.

India's emphasis at this fair is to promote greater co-operation in the small scale sector, notably on technology transfer, joint ventures, and buyback arrangements.

India's participation is organised by the country's premier trade promotion agency, India Trade Promotion Organisation with the support of the High Commission of India, a High Commission release said.

A high level business delegation from India is visiting this fair to promote trade relations among SAARC members. India has recently relaxed quantitative restrictions on the import of 2000 items for SAARC member countries.

Minister of Internal and International Commerce and Food Kingsley T. Wickremaratne will participate.

Seminars on Debt Securities

The Colombo Stock Exchange in association with USAID is conducting a series of seminars on Corporate Debt Securities to create an awareness in the market place on the investment opportunities in debt securities.

These seminars will be conducted in two segments. The first series will be for the general public or the retail investor which will be in the form of two seminar/workshops, one being an introduction to debt securities and this will be a followed up with an advanced workshop for the same group.

The second segment will be for state and private sector fund managers and will consist of two in-depth workshops on debt securities, a Stock Exchange release said.

These seminars will deal with aspects of the different types of debt and their features, the selection of debt instruments, the trading mechanism, yield curves, assessment of risk, pricing and the issuer perspective through the participation of several issuers of debt securities.

Several industry specialists will be drawn in as resource persons for these workshops and will include. Hiran Mendis, Director General Colombo Stock Exchange, Mangala Boyagoda, Assistant General Manager Treasury - DFCC, Dr. Lalith Samarakoon, Senior lecturer University of Sri Jayawardenapura, Ajit Fernando, Vice President, Vanik Incorporation Ltd and Seth Isaccs, Training Specialist - USAID and floor trader - Pacific Stock Exchange, San Francisco.

The first in this series open to the public titled "Introduction to Corporate Debt Securities" will be held on September 26 at the Taj Samudra Hotel. This will be a halfday program and prior registration is required.

The second will be held during the second week of October for fund managers and attendance will be on invitation. Those interested in participating may contact the marketing division of the Stock Exchange for details.

C-Plan to train small industrialists

Foreign and local delegates from the small and medium scale sectors are undergoing a training program on small and medium scale enterprise development at Hotel Bluewaters Wadduwa.

The ten-day programme is sponsored by the Colombo Plan Secretariat and conducted in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board.

Minister of Internal Commerce and Trade Kingsley Wickremaratne said: "In contrast to the mode of production and business development, concentrated in few conglomerates, the small and medium scale enterprise development strategy provides a realistic answer to most deep rooted problems in the developing countries.

"Hundreds and thousands of SME will be mostly depend on local raw material and will provide a wider opportunity for employment to the unemployed in the countryside. The network of small and medium scale enterprises also could act as a conduit to convey the benefits of economic growth to the rural masses".

He urged the SME industrialists to be fully conscious of the changed environment of trading due to globalisation.

Dr. Hak Su Kim, Secretary General of the Colombo Plan Secretariat said the Colombo Plan which earlier gave heavy weightage to civil service development in the Commonwealth has now incorporated the private sector development as an added dimension to its program, keeping in line with changing needs.

New company offers telecom services

A new telecommunication engineering services company, Folec Communications Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. (Folec Lanka) commenced operations recently. The BOI- approved joint venture is between Keppel Communications of Singapore and Sri Lankan telecommunications expert Trevor Alphonso.

The company's business portfolio includes designing, supplying, installing and maintaining microwave systems, Nortel PABX systems, radio base stations, structured cable systems, advanced call centres and interactive voice response services.

These services would be handled by a highly qualified and experienced team of engineers. A well- equipped workshop will provide maintenance facilities and after sales service, a news release said.

Folec Lanka's aim is to be Sri Lanka's leading telecommunication engineering services company, utilising the technology, technical expertise, financial strength and international presence of Keppel Communications. The company's vision is to extend their services to the entire Asian region, utilising the technical expertise of Lankan professionals and the resources of Keppel communications.

With over 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, Keppel Communications has been involved in a wide range of activities, including the development and implementation of communication solutions for business corporations and turnkey infrastructure system integration.

Leicester trade mission here

A trade mission from the Leicestershire chamber of Commerce and Industry comprising 20 companies will visit Sri Lanka this week.

The LCCCI is the major business organisation for the county of Leicestershire, representing 2,000 business members employing over 83,000 people providing a wide range of products and services.

The economy of Leicestershire consists of a wide range of industries with the majority involved in the engineering and textile related activities.

This is the chamber's fifth visit to Sri Lanka with a delegation and both the Sri Lankan and UK economies are beginning to see benefits from this long term relationship. A number of companies who have accompanied previous missions have now established manufacturing bases in Colombo and are beginning to produce products for not only the Sri Lankan line market but also for export.

The Chamber also acts as Secretariat to the UK/Sri Lanka Trade Council and Keith Horton who in addition to being the Chief Executive of the Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce is also Secretary to the Council. Mr. Horton who will lead the Mission commented: "we are extremely pleased to see the developing work of the UK/Sri Lanka Business Council and the close ties it is now establishing (which is run by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce)."

Mr. Horton will be willing to meet with local companies/interested parties during the visit which will see the majority of the delegates staying at the Hilton Hotel, Colombo.

Fentons offers new wireless alarm system

Fentons Ltd. has introduced to Sri Lanka Alarmnet, a state of the art wireless alarm monitoring system which is described as South East Asia's most sophisticated Alarm and Fault Monitoring System.

Present at the launch were Minister for Industrial Development, C. V. Gooneratne, Ken Hewson, Sales Manager, Ademco International, and several government and private sector representatives, says a company release.

Alarm Monitoring System adds complementary advancement to the fire, security alarm and CCTV systems which have been very successfully marketed in Sri Lanka by Fentons since 1980, a company release said.

Fenton's partner in this business is Ademco International, the world's largest security equipment manufacturer and Javelin Systems, both of the USA. These two companies are divisions of Pittway Corporation, a fortune five hundred company.

When there is an alarm status conveyed in this manner to the Central Monitoring Station, it is simultaneously conveyed to the operations room, of either one of the three associated Security Companies who are partners with Fentons in promoting Alarmnet. This information will be conveyed immediately to state emergency services such as fire, police, ambulance etc. that would also be notified by the Central Monitoring Station.

Optionally such emergency messages can also be conveyed by the monitoring station to radio pagers, walkie-talkie systems or to conventional/cellular phones as well as to any authority, organization or individual.

The three security companies are MIS, De Zoysa Organization (Pvt) Ltd, and Kay Jay Agencies Ltd.

Mr. Hewson, elaborating on the technicalities of the system said that the ability within the system to poll remote stations at intervals to ensure integrity of the communications channels and Passive-Infra -Red-Detectors, panic-Buttons, Magnetic-Reed-Switches, Smoke- Detectors and Manual-Call-Points make Alarmnet a customer Alarm System that can provide the highest level of protection for both property and lives.

"Other key features such as the dedicated wireless network - providing a 24 hours-a-day round the clock monitoring avoiding human error, plus the flexibility that result from "physical lines" not being required are also significant customer guarantees ensured by the system, that provides a level of availability that can cover all of Colombo and the suburbs."

New security features of Govt. debt securities

The Central Bank improved the security features of treasury bills and bonds. These enhanced security features have been introduced to all government securities and Central Bank securities. The new security features include:

1) the use of a special security paper with an exclusive water mark, supplied exclusively to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

2) the use of security fibres within the paper which becomes visible only under ultra violet lights.

3) intaglio printing of background designs and borders.

4) a lithographic tint on the front and back with a rainbow design

5) the use of a latent image which is centrally positioned within the top and the bottom borders of the Certificates with words 'Sri Lanka' which becomes visible when the document is tilted sideways.

6) the use of micro lettering with words " Government of Sri Lanka' which runs continuously in a position immediately inside the intaglio border.

For easier identification, Treasury bills are printed in three different colours namely orange for 3 months, light green for 6 months and light blue for 12 months. Treasury bonds are printed in pink, government securities in brown and central bank securities in purple.


Q1: I am having a printing press and there are 5 employees engaged in printing work. What is their annual leave entitlement?

Under wages board of the printing trade they are entitled for a maximum of 14 days annual leave. The employee should be in continuous employment for a full year to qualify and leave can be taken only in the second year of employment. The leave entitlement for the second year of employment is computed using the following formula.

1. In printing trade a worker is required to work more than 232 days to be eligible for annual leave.

2. For every 4 days he has worked, in excess of 232 days, he is entitled for one days annual leave. For an example if he has worked 260 days the excess number of days worked is 28 days and he will be entitled for 7 days annual leave (28 divided by 4 days)

3. When calculating the "number of days the worker worked", in addition to the days he actually worked, following days should also be reckoned as days worked

a. The days allowed as paid holidays

b. The days of accident leave.

c. The days of absence approved by the employer

d. The days of absence due to strikes which are not illegal (up to 30 days only)

Q2: I was employed in a Private company and have made contributions to the EPF. After 10 years service I resigned from the job to do my own business. I am now 48 years old. I need money to invest in my business. Is there a way to withdraw my provident fund money?

The EPF Act clearly specifies when EPF can be withdrawn. Such instances are:

1. Reaching 55 years of age (females 50 years)

2. When leaving the country permanently

3. Female leaving employment after the marriage.

4. If unfit for work on medical grounds certified by a Medical Board

5. When appointed to a pensionable post in government or local government service.

Q3: I worked as a bookkeeper in a private company from 1st June 1996 to 1st August 1998. When leaving, the company allowed me to utilize 14 days annual leave. When I inquired about the annual leave I have earned from 1st January to 1st August 1998, the company said that they do not allow such leave. Please advice me whether t\pardWe have an employee who is attached to Volunteer Service in the Army. He gets absence frequently because of his involvement in the Army. Can we insist him to resign from the Army?

Under the Ceylon Army act you should release your employee for military duty or training with full pay. If you fail to do so, or penalising him any way because of military service you can be prosecuted (which includes fine or imprisonment or both.)

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