Cross section of IDPs in
Northern Sri Lanka
Majority of Lankans undernourished
Majority of Sri Lankans calorie intake is
below the minimum prescribed levels, though
statistics reveal that Sri Lanka’s poverty
levels have come down to 15%*.
Dr (Ms.) Subhangi Herath of Colombo
University’s Sociology Department quoting
statistics said that according to a Census
and Statistics Department (CSD) survey
carried out in 2006/07, those consuming less
than 2,030 kilo calories a day (the minimum
required calorific intake) comprised 50.7%
of the population.
She further said that the per capita
GDP/GNP index as a measurement to see
whether the wealth of the people have
increased, as such, may not be accurate.
Herath, speaking at a seminar on poverty
on Thursday, said that the highest incidence
of this form of malnourishment existed in
the estate sector: (77.3%), followed by the
rural sector (50.8%) and the urban sector
Those statistics exclude the war torn
Northern Province and Trincomalee District,
as well as the internally displaced persons.
It also excludes beggars, as the focus is
only on household income.
If those areas are also covered, then
those statistics would have thrown up a
higher poverty/malnourishment rate figure,
She said that these statistics at a
qualitative level at times create a dismal
picture, than what those statistics at a
macro level reveal.
A recent survey carried out among the
women working in free trade zones revealed
exploitation-not by the employer, but,
brought about by poor living conditions,
even leading to prostitution. This may even
hold true as far as migrant women are
In 2006, 90,000 males and 113,236 females
went abroad for employment, of whom 101, 128
had gone as housemaids, said Herath.
She further said that though
statistically it’s proven that there are
more women in our varsities, what happens
beyond that is grey.
*The cut-off point for measurement of
poverty according to this survey had been Rs.
2,283 per mensem, per head. Official Poverty
line at national level for July 2008 was
however Rs. 2,937 according to the CSD.
ADB to disburse US$ 660-750 mn., over
Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) new
Country Assistance Strategy for Sri Lanka
plans to disburse between US$ 220-250
million annually, ADB Country Director Dr.
Richard Vokes speaking at a function on
Vokes told The Sunday Leader that
these monies would fund infrastructure
development projects, including water supply
and sanitation, road and power development.
The Eastern Province and parts of the
Northern Province which are under government
control such as Vavuniya and Mannar too
would benefit from this assistance, he said.
Vokes said that this Country Assistance
Strategy proposal would be forwarded to ADB
Headquarters in Manila for endorsement next
month. It covers a period of three years.
Speaking at the inauguration of
"Construct 2008" exhibition that took place
at the BMICH on Friday, he said that since
ADB’s first loan disbursement to the country
in 1968, the Bank has, to date, disbursed
loans toalling US$ 4.5 billion to Sri Lanka.
An additional loan component amounting to
US$ two billion and covering some 50
projects are currently being disbursed. This
also includes some US$ one billion worth of
funds which are yet to be disbursed.
He said that the ADB is working with the
World Bank to prepare tender documents with
similar terms and conditions.
Vokes further said that taking into
consideration the volatile inflationary
situation in the country, the Bank may
include an equation taking into account cost
escalation due to inflation even for
projects which are under a six months
Currently such an equation to take into
account cost escalation is applicable only
for ADB projects which are more than a
He also advised the construction industry
to not to be afraid of international
competition. In this connection he reminded
the audience of the speech made by an
earlier speaker at this inauguration,
Maldives Association of Construction
Industry President Mohamed Ali Janah, who
said that the industry was being impacted by
There is no preference given to domestic
contractors in ADB’s tender documents, he
Vokes also said that the ADB takes only
between 5-10 days to disburse sums which are
over Rs. 50,000 in value.
CASA to reduce charges
Ceylon Association of Ships’ Agents
(CASA) will reduce terminal handling charges
(THC) by US$ 4 per twenty foot equivalent
container unit (TEU) effective from this
month, a CASA source who did not want to be
named told The Sunday Leader on
This is on the basis of an alleged
agreement reached between CASA and the Sri
Lanka Shippers’ Council (SLSC) recently,
where former SLSC Chairman Ananda Wijesuriya
had agreed to this reduction.
However, the present SLSC committee is
not happy with this reduction, wanting a
deeper cut than the US$ 4 reduction agreed
to by Wijesuriya, in his capacity as the
then SLSC chairman. Wijesuriya resigned from
this position recently.
The present THC levy is US$ 155 per TEU
comprising US$ 148 as Sri Lanka Ports
Authority charges and the balance US$ 7 as
container depot charges. It was on the
latter charge that the US$ 4 reduction had
been effected, allegedly based on an
agreement between CASA and container depot
However, SLSC wants the THC reduced to
US$ 100, with part of the costs passed as
sea freight, Director General of Merchant
Shipping Shantha Weerakoon told The
Weerakoon chairs a committee appointed by
the Supreme Court to resolve the THC
dispute, after the SLSC took CASA to courts
on the THC issue.
"If the THC is passed on as a freight
cost component, that would make ship
operations to Colombo uncompetitive," said
Capt. Nalin Peiris, Managing Director
Ceyline Shipping Ltd.
On the other hand the SLSC argues that
they cannot pass on the THC to importers (as
part of their FOB costs) as that would make
their products uncompetitive in the
According to Weerakoon, it was only the
Chinese shippers who were able to fight
against the THC issue successfully because
of economies of scale.
What can Sri Lanka do when its total TEU
exports amount to only 350,000 annually,
when in the case of China it’s several times
that figure, he said.
The issue here is who will bear the
charges emanating from the TEU at the
container yard to the ship, is it a freight
cost component or not, there lies the issue,
Weerakoon said. It could be resolved if the
freight cost component too could be passed
on to the importer, he said.
High salaries compensate irregular work
High salaries earned by seafarers
compensate for the fact that they are not
assured of a regular income, an ILO officer
told The Sunday Leader.
Seafarers generally get paid only when
they are sailing and not when they are at
home, waiting to obtain the next sailing
contract, which at times could be as little
as three months.
Ms. Doumbia Henry, Director,
International Labour Standards Department,
ILO Geneva, however said as the demand is
greater than supply, seafarers don’t run the
risk of permanent unemployment.
Palitha Athukorala, President, National
Union of Seafarers, speaking at a seminar on
Wednesday said that the earnings made by a
single seafarer is equivalent to that made
by five or six domestic workers going to the
Speaking at a seminar on "ILO Maritime
Labour Convention," Athukorala said that
12,000 large ships currently under
construction would be ready for sail by
If each of these ships employs 20
seafarers, that means 240,000 job
opportunities, he said. "So if we prepare
now itself we would be able to grab a
reasonable slice of this cake," he said.
Sri Lanka has a total of 30,000
seafarers, of whom 40% are sailing at any
given time; while its closest neighbour
India, has only four times that number, with
50% of those found to be sailing at any
Meanwhile, the largest number of
seafarers in the world, some 700,000;
comprising 25% of the seafarer labour force,
are from the Philippines. At any given time
there are believed to be some 200,000
Filipino seafarers, out at sea.
Rs. 71 mn., sale
Tea Smallholder Factories PLC disposed of
their Randola Factory in Balangoda together
with the 14.9 acres of land it occupies for
Rs. 71 million on Friday, resulting in a Rs.
44 million capital gain to the company.
30% discounts at Abans
Abans is proud to be associated with
Haier, China’s largest and the world’s
fourth largest manufacturer of electronic
home appliances and the official sponsor of
the 2008 Olympic Games being held in China.
To mark this great international event,
Abans is having a special Olympic Offer of
upto 30% discount on selected high quality
Haier products on each day that Sri Lankan
athletes win a Gold or Silver medal.
So, on your marks and get set to grab
fabulous discounts on a range of selected
Haier products from Freezers, Bottle
Coolers, Dish Washers, Televisions,
Computers, Air Conditioners, Microwave
Ovens, Vacuum Cleaners and more.
Haier is the world’s 4th largest
whitegoods manufacturer and one of China’s
Top 100 IT Companies. Haier has 240
subsidiary companies and 30 design centres,
plants and trade companies and more than
50,000 employees worldwide. Haier
specializes in technology research,
manufacture industry, trading and financial
Haier 2006 global revenue was RMB107.5
billion. Haier has consecutively been ranked
first in the row of China’s most valuable
brands for manufacture of 18 products,
including refrigerators, air conditioners,
washing machines, televisions, water
heaters, personal computers, mobile phones
and kitchen appliances.
Haier is also a world leader in the
technology domains of intelligent integrated
home furniture, networked home appliances,
digitalization and large scale integrated
circuits. Haier was ranked 1st of China’s
Top 10 Global Brands by the Financial Times.
In addition to high quality home
appliances, Haier is also focused on
offering best-of-breed service solutions to
its customers. Haier’s service system runs
throughout the production process from
product design, production, manufacturing,
to pre-sale, "under sales" and after sales
service. Since 2002, Haier has successfully
established a network of over 5,000 domestic
professional service suppliers to deliver
timely customized service.
Abans is a household name in Sri Lanka
that has introduced innovative products to
reduce the housewife’s burdens and give her
more time for family and leisure.
With showrooms islandwide, Abans is
renowned for guaranteed quality products,
affordability, value for money and efficient
and quick after-sales-service. Abans has
always imported and marketed only trusted
quality products from the world’s best
brands. With high electricity costs, Abans
give high priority to import only energy
saving appliances that reduces your
electricity bill and conserves the earth’s
Ceylinco Insurance, leader, for 4th year
Ceylinco Insurance PLC has been confirmed
the market leader in both life and general
insurance for the fourth consecutive year by
the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL), Sri
Lanka’s insurance industry’s regulatory
According to the IBSL’s 2007Annual
Report, Ceylinco Insurance’s Life and
General Divisions accounted for market
shares of 33.03% and 33.22% respectively on
the basis of Gross Written Premium in the
year under review.
Ceylinco Life’s Rs 6.8 billion premium
income was Rs 2.3 billion or 53% more than
the second largest life insurance business
in the market, and the company’s market
share was 11.43% higher, the IBSL report
In the General Insurance segment,
Ceylinco Insurance’s Rs 10.3 billion premium
income represented a Rs 1.5 billion lead
over the next insurer.
Commenting on the published figures,
Ceylinco Insurance’s Chief Executive
Director (Life) R. Renganathan said: "As an
authoritative public document, the IBSL
report is a credible source of information
and authenticates our claim to be the market
leader in Sri Lanka’s insurance sector."
"Ceylinco Life’s consistency over four
years in terms of industry leadership shows
that the company has won people’s hearts and
minds by strengthening trust in life
insurance and by educating the community and
delivering on promises," Renganathan added.
Chief Executive Director of Ceylinco
Insurance-General Ajith Gunawardena said
that the company is on an expansion
programme to explore the untapped potential.
"This would further consolidate our position
as the market leader," he said.
"For the second consecutive year we were
recognized with a ‘Power of People’ (POP)
Award as the People’s Insurance Company of
the Year and we were also awarded an AA-
rating which is the highest in the financial
sector by Brand Finance Sri Lanka and speaks
volumes," added Gunawardena.
Ceylinco Life has achieved market
leadership in life insurance in 2004 and
sustained it in 2005 and 2006 reporting
market shares of 31.65%, 32.36% and 33.43%
respectively. Similarly in General Insurance
too the company continues its market
leadership since 2004.
Ceylinco’s Life Division had sold 165,796
new policies in 2007, achieving an average
of more than 13,800 new policies a month.
Its Life Fund grew by 21% to reach Rs 16.83
billion as at December 31, 2007, following a
transfer of more than Rs 2.9 billion in the
year. Investments increased by 14% to Rs.
14.8 billion, while assets grew by 19% to Rs
Sri Lanka’s largest and most successful
insurer, Ceylinco Insurance is the
"benchmark" for innovation in the local
insurance industry including product
development, customer service and
The company’s islandwide branch network
represents the widest presence in the
industry. Ceylinco Insurance is
internationally recognised for corporate
citizenship, innovation and brand building.
Women Only banking unit
The 111th branch of Sampath Bank was
opened in Akkaraipattu recently.
This new branch boasts of a novel
facility–An exclusive banking Unit for
women–where the banking services are
provided entirely by female staff.
The Women Only unit will cater to the
financial and banking needs of the women in
the area, especially the Muslim women who
will be able to carry out their banking
activities without any undue inconvenience.
Sampath Bank Chairman Edgar Gunatunge was
the chief guest at the opening. Addressing
the gathering he expressed his pleasure in
having opened the new branch in a locality
where they could serve a developing
community where agriculture, fishery and
small enterprises support the economy.
"People who experienced natural
calamities and war have now settled down
peacefully, waiting for development and
prosperity in their day to day life.
At this juncture what they want is
development process in agriculture, fishing
and business. Sampath Bank fulfils the
banking needs of all categories in achieving
their aspirations," he said.
Commenting on the Women Only unit he
said, "This paves the way for women,
especially Muslim women to walk in here and
to do their transaction in a free manner
without any inconvenience.
This is first of its kind in Sri Lanka
and Sampath Bank is proud to have initiated
it," said Gunatunge.
Housing loan in 10 days
The demand for housing is rising rapidly
with population growth; however in today’s
high inflationary and high interest rate
scenario, buying a house seems to be out of
reach for many.
In order to make this a reality, and as
envisaged by Founder Chairman, Deshamanya
Dr. Lalith Kotelawala, Seylan Bank recently
launched a novel housing loan scheme branded
Seylan Hadha Medura.
The feature of Hadha Medura is
that Seylan Bank promises its housing loan
applicants disbursements of the loan within
10 days of completion of the required
In addition, the first 100 approved
applicants were offered an attractive
interest rate of 19% pa.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader,
Seylan Bank Asst. General Manager Mrs.
Yasanthie Udurawane said that if a
prospective applicant has all his or her
documents in order, then the reality of
buying, constructing, renovating or
extending their dream home can be made a
reality within just 10 days, the fastest
that any bank offers.
Udurawane said that the hassle of having
to submit various documents from time to
time in order to complete documentation has
been a regular irritant for those who apply
for housing loans.
According to her the Hadha Medura
Housing Loan promises to overcome such
problems and to disburse the loan within 10
days once such documentation is complete.
Udurawane said, "Speedy processing and an
affordable interest rate gives Hadha
Medura an advantage over run-of-the-mill
housing schemes available in the market."
The minimum loan is Rs. 500,000 while the
maximum is Rs. 10 million and the bank
offers attractive interest rates which can
be fixed or floating depending on the
requirements of customers.
Udurawane also said that this offer is
ideal for those who are employed or self
employed as there is a 20 year plan that
comes with the housing loan and a 10 year
plan for extensions, remodelling and
renovation of homes. These loans can also be
obtained for a repayment period of five
years by those who are abroad.
Additionally all successful applicants
will be given a free Seylan Credit card
which can be used to pay the premium for the
Mortgage Protection Policy from Ceylinco
Insurance PLC at zero interest.
The Hadha Medura home loan is
handled by a special unit based at Ceylinco
Asiri Hospital Group expands
"The Central," a USD 40 million hospital
project of the Asiri Group, is its biggest
venture so far. This state of the art
hospital being built at Norris Canal Road,
Colombo will have more than 270 beds and
will be completed by end September 2009.
This will be the most modern hospital in
the country with state of the art machines
and technology that will provide the general
public all the facilities required in modern
health care keeping with western standards.
The building complex will comprise 14
levels in addition to the basement and
ground floor covering a total floor area of
435,000 square feet. Among the amenities,
parking spaces for over 400 vehicles as well
as a large Central atrium surrounded by food
courts and malls.
Other amenities include fully equipped
state of the art kitchen and laundry;
banking facilities and staff accommodation
for 100 nurses, 40 junior staff and 20
doctors. This new hospital boasts of a
Nurses Training School as well, offering
international standard training for 100
student nurses at one intake
"The Central", will also cater to
international communities from UK, USA,
Maldives and other countries promoting
"Health Tourism" in Sri Lanka. This will be
in keeping with the healthy demand for
specialist care facilities of the standards
of countries such as Malaysia, India,
Singapore and Thailand. There will be self
contained apartments within the same complex
to cater to those visitors with cafeterias
and recreational facilities.
"The Central " is easily accessible, both
by public and private transport. With its
completion, Asiri management will be able to
overcome capacity constraints and cater to
the growing demand for healthcare service in
the country. Specialised services will be on
offer in line with global standards in the
areas of Coronary Care, Oncology, Neurology
and Geriatric Care. as well as enhanced
channelling services, and supplementary
Among the most up-to-date equipment and
facilities of the "the Central" are:
Coronary Care Unit–with the latest
technology for By-pass procedures,
Angiography and Angioplasty. Neurology Unit
capable of handling advanced neurology
surgery as well as a stroke unit; an
Oncology Unit for treatment of cancer
patients; fully equipped Radiology
Department equipped with state of the art
MRI scanners, 64 slice CT scanners,
Mammograms and Digital X’ Ray facilities;
Specialised Surgical Units for Paediatric
Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, ENT Surgery
and Eye Surgery; A Theatre Complex
comprising two Cardiac operating theatre
suites with a modern Cardiac Catheterization
Laboratory, six General operating theatre
suites, three Gynaecology and Obstetrical
theatres complete with Neo-natal ICU and a
Paediatric ICU; Generic Care Unit with Day
Care Centre facilities; Kidney Unit with
Dialysis facilities comprising six modern
Haemodialysis, Water Treatment Unit and
Pneumatic Lithotripsy System and a 24 hour
OPD Service including Laboratory, Pharmacy,
X’ Ray and CT Scanning facilities.
The Asiri Group of Hospitals currently
consists of three hospitals situated in
Colombo, close to each other– Asiri
Hospital, Asiri Surgical Hospital and Asiri
Central Hospital, and the latest addition in
Asiri Surgical Hospital is currently
completing a state of the art Heart Centre
which will be opened to the public next
month (September). The Asiri Heart Centre
will comprise a Cardiology Unit and a
Cardiac Surgery Unit equipped with state of
the art facilities on par with international
It boasts of the latest in Cardiac
Diagnostics such as a Flat Panel Cardiac
Catheterization Laboratory to enable
Angiography & Angioplasty procedures as well
as two state of the art Cardiac Operating
Suites with Laminar Air-flow systems.
Among the facilities of the Asiri Heart
Centre, there is a "10 bed Coronary Care
Unit, 40 rooms and a Surgical ICU" utilising
advanced monitoring systems and Telemetry
which will be another first in Sri Lanka.
Asha Central Hospital formerly known as
Central Hospital was incorporated in 1945.
It is now a 100 bed hospital with high-tech
equipment and highly trained and experienced
staff. There are more than 200 specialist
consultant doctors visiting the hospital on
a regular basis.
Chutneys, for South Indian cuisine
The promise of indulgence takes on a
South Indian hue as Cinnamon Grand opens
Chutneys on Thursday.
Exuding an infusion of South Indian
culture and cuisine, Chutneys presents a
powerful amalgamation of class and delicacy
into the ultimate South Indian culinary
experience. Adding originality to the time
tested classics prevalent in South Indian
cuisine, Chutneys traverses to the next
realm of that region’s epicurean delights,
breaking new ground with the unique Grand
Dosa Thali, a first even for South
Indian restaurants. Into this is added the
traditional specialties of Idly and
Dosai and wide and varied vegetarian
and non vegetarian fare.
Having handpicked a team of leading chefs
from South India to ensure the authenticity
of the culinary fare offered by Chutneys,
General Manager Rohan Karr says of this
first fully fledged South Indian restaurant
in Sri Lanka: "Cinnamon Grand is proud to
infuse the flavours, tastes and even a
cultural essence of the uniqueness of South
India into Colombo. While this cuisine
remains popular in many parts of the world,
real South Indian cuisine has distinct
characteristics and a personality that’s
truly its own and must be experienced - an
indulgence we have brought into Sri Lanka
CIMA Sri Lanka Division as part of its
Management Update initiative has invited
Amana Investments Managing Director Faizal
Salieh to make a presentation on ‘Islamic
Finance & Banking: The First Principles’ for
the benefit of its members on Thursday.
He will discuss the core principles
underlying the practice of Islamic finance
and banking, the conventional definitions
and interpretations of usury and interest,
the fundamental differences between
conventional economic principles and Islamic
economic principles and lead the audience to
understand the principal differences between
Islamic banking and conventional banking
including the principles of deposit taking
The session will enable participants to
have an understanding on the key principles
that drive the practice of Islamic finance
and banking today.
Salieh holds a Bachelor’s Degree in
Economics with First Class Honours and a
Master’s Degree in Business Administration
and counts almost 30 years of banking
experience including conventional commercial
banking, development banking and Islamic
financial services. Islamic Finance and
Banking has a 40 year history since its
origin as an organised practice in the ‘60s.
Today it’s the fastest growing segment in
the global financial industry evoking
encouraging responses from a wide cross
section of customers, markets, conventional
banks, regulators and policymakers across
It is no longer confined to the
traditional boundaries of Islamic nations
and is spreading in European countries
including the UK and Far Eastern countries
such as Thailand and Singapore. In
recognition of this global trend, CIMA now
offers a certificate course in Islamic
Sri Lanka’s pioneer cable TV provider,
Lanka Broadband Network is giving more
people the opportunity to view quality
television by knocking off its connecting
fee till Friday.
LBN offers the widest selection of
channels in Sri Lanka, with "unparalleled"
picture quality. LBN’s packages too are
cheaper in comparison to other available
options in the market.
LBN’s superior picture quality is
provided by a combination of fibre optics
and coaxial cables to reach its consumers
and this prevents pictures from getting
frozen or distorted during inclement
The complete HBO range along with Star
movies AXN, Hallmark and Cinemax are some of
the entertainment and movie channels while
ESPN, Ten Sports, Neo and Star sports
provide sports related material.
National Geographic, History, Animal
Planet, Discovery, Travel and Living and
other channels provide entertainment for the
LBN’s range of foreign language channels
include German, Korean, Maldivian, Chinese,
Arabic , Japanese, French and Hindi
Its recently launched website offers
visitors information while also giving the
facility to check the availability of cable
to your location and to then request your
LBN’s expanding coverage now reaches most
of Colombo including Rajagiriya, Nawala,
Kohuwela, Dehiwela, Mt Lavinia, Ratmalana
and Moratuwa. LBN also caters to its
clientele in Wattala, Beruwela and Nuwara
Backed by a 24hr call centre and
technical back up is a feature in LBN’s
Customer service, giving its growing
customer base a superior service.
The annual general meetings of the TMC
Board of Management, TMC-Galle Face, TMC-Mt
Lavinia and the TMC-ETD (Enable the
Disabled) will be held at Galle Face Hotel
tomorrow. They will be followed by the
signing of memorandums of understanding
agreements with corporate and service
sponsors of the club for the next three
years and a press conference thereafter.
The day’s proceedings will end with
fellowship among all members and
representatives from the sponsor companies.
CCC welcomes CEPA
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) welcomes
the expansion of the current Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) with India to a
Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement
(CEPA) taking the path of a negotiated entry
with a phased out programme of extending the
coverage of the agreement from trade in
goods to trade in services.
Obvious sectors that stand to gain are
tourism, information technology, maritime
and aviation services such as passenger and
cargo transport, logistics services, ship
and aircraft maintenance and repair
services. For example SriLankan airlines
have greatly benefited by early entry into
the Indian market.
The CCC believes that Sri Lanka must
adjust and respond to significant global
trends and practices that will benefit the
One such trend is the opportunity
presented via the bilateral and multilateral
trading arrangements. The benefits that flow
are apparent when one looks at regional
trading arrangements such as the European
Union (EU) and the Association of South East
Asian Nations (ASEAN). These arrangements
are more relevant in the case of our own
country in view of the limited market of the
country as well as the fact that we are an
Given the recent economic resurgence of
India and the opportunities that market
presents, many other developed and
developing countries have already started
negotiations with India for preferential
Some of the key countries and trading
blocks that are already in negotiation with
India are EU, ASEAN, Thailand, Korea, Japan,
Malaysia, Indonesia, Israel and the Gulf
Sri Lanka due to its geographical
location and the special relationships that
prevail with this neighbouring country is in
a unique position to benefit from the Indian
economic boom. We will not be able to
successfully compete with India in every
product and every service. We need to find
the niches where we have a comparative and a
competitive advantage. A legally binding
document such as the CEPA will enable Sri
Lanka to enhance predictability when
entering the Indian market. In the absence
of such an agreement, even if Sri Lankan
businesses face difficulties, regulatory
barriers and unfair treatment in the Indian
market, there will be no forum or no
mechanism to address these issues. The
legally binding agreement will give Sri
Lanka an avenue to address these issues at
meetings between the Government of India and
the Government of Sri Lanka to be held every
six months. A negotiated arrangement will
also allow Sri Lanka to immediately open out
certain sectors whilst on sensitive sector,
a more phased out arrangements could be
Sri Lanka in the interests of its rapid
economic development needs to address key
domestic constraints that hinder our
companies from competing with imported
products and services. We need to build our
capacity and equip ourselves to be able to
utilize the opportunities that arise. The
private sector and the Government need to
work in partnership to make this a success.
During the negotiation and the
implementation of the agreements, there will
undoubtedly be obstacles, and it is
important that both private sector and the
Government work together to resolve these
difficulties. While we argue and debate
about the need for change, other countries
are already making substantial progress.
India has become the centre of attention
today in the business world after China. We
as a nation need to stand up to the
challenge and reap the benefits of India’s
HNB boosts dairy development
Hatton National Bank (HNB) continues to
take keen interest in the country’s rural
development and has been instrumental in
providing a host of financial services to a
variety activities including cultivation,
animal husbandry, trading and other
HNB has been introducing many
unemployable people into the micro
enterprise and the small industry sector
which has resulted in income and employment
generation for a significant sector of the
HNB recently introduced a scheme
specially designed for small scale diary
farmers and large scale milk processors
under the name ‘Agro Livestock Development
Loan Scheme.’ This initiative was taken
under a directive from the Central Bank of
Sri Lanka to develop the diary industry.
Under this scheme the bank granted loans in
Kiriwaththuduwa, Homagama, in association
with Fonterra Brands Lanka, where 25 loans
were granted to small scale diary farmers.
The main objective of this scheme is to
enhance milk production and utilization of
milk in the country. This scheme also
facilitates the purchase of equipment that
is related to milk processing, milk
production, construction of cattle sheds and
the manufacture of other milk related
products such as yoghurt and curd. In
addition to this, the scheme also
facilitates the storage of milk by providing
the required chilling plants as well as
providing proper facilities for the
transportation of milk.
91 day T bills declined 419 bp
Interest rates in the government
securities market have recorded a
considerable reduction during the early part
of 2008 and has stabilized towards the
middle of the year.
The expansion of the investor base after
the opening of the Treasury bill market to
foreign investors up to 10%, the increase of
the foreign investment cap in Treasury bonds
up to 10%, the general continuation of the
market in a liquid condition and the recent
downward movement of inflation expectations
could be cited as being the main
contributory factors to lower the pressure
in the domestic market.
Over the past seven months, the primary
market interest rate of the 91 day Treasury
bills declined by 419 basis points (bp) to
17.11%, from 21.30%. The comparable
reduction in the case of 182 day Treasury
bills was 155 bp, from 19.99% to 18.48%. In
the case of 364 day Treasury bills, the
rates dropped by 129 bp, from 19.96% to
In line with the rate reduction in the
primary market, the secondary market yield
curve that represents the interest rate
structure in the market showed a downward
shift during 2008.
The reduction of the interest rates in
the secondary market is in the range of
Bureau Veritas Consumer Products Services
Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, in collaboration with Sri
Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA)
recently held a seminar on REACH to create
awareness among Sri Lankan Exporters to the
EU about this new regulation.
REACH is an acronym for "Registration,
Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of
Chemicals." It is an EU regulation which
aims to protect human health and environment
from hazardous chemicals and replaces over
40 EU directives. REACH requires you to
trace, identify and register chemical
substances present in your products before
importing or placing them on EU markets. To
comply they need to submit relevant
documentation per importer/producer to the
European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) for
Pre-registration, Notification and
Registration. REACH compliance covers
retailers, manufacturers and EU importers.
REACH applies to various industries, such as
chemicals, dyeing, printing, "softline"
textile & apparel, footwear, toys, consumer
electronics, household products and many
other consumer products.
Pre-registration is the first and most
critical step. This should be completed
between June 1, 2008 and December 1, 2008.
Telecoms service in Emirates flights
Emirates has again proved itself an
aviation industry pioneer after becoming the
first airline to introduce inflight
mobile phone services on a Boeing aircraft.
Dubai’s award-winning airline recently
installed the technology, which allows
passengers to make calls and send SMS text
messages via their mobile phones during
flights on a Boeing 777-300.
Passenger Communications & Visual
Services Vice President Patrick Brannelly
said the inflight mobile phone technology
will offer greater services and additional
communications channels to Emirates’
Brannelly added: "Travellers booked on
the Boeing 777, which carries inflight
mobile phone services will now be able to
continue communicating with family, friends
or business associates on the ground while
travelling in the skies.
The technology is another example of our
dedication to always being the first airline
to offer passengers groundbreaking
technology and services."
The Boeing 777-300 carrying the new
system is operating on several Emirates
routes, including services to Europe and
Emirates first installed the technology,
which was created by inflight mobile phone
technology developer AeroMobile, on one of
its Airbus A340-300 aircraft in March,
enabling the world’s first authorised phone
calls on a commercial flight.
Since then, the airline has installed the
technology on 10 aircraft, including
A340-300, A340-500, A330-200 and Boeing 777
planes. Emirates plans to introduce the
inflight mobile phone systems to other
aircraft, with the airline’s maintenance
division taking less than two days to
complete the work.
Most inflight calls made by Emirates’
passengers usually occur during daytime
flights with minimal usage on night
services. The average length of calls is
around 2.5 minutes, while the text messaging
capability is also proving very popular
Emirates has guidelines for the
appropriate use of phones on board including
requesting passengers to have their phones
switched to "silent" mode during flights.
The airline’s award-winning cabin crews are
also able to control and monitor use of the
system, and will be in full control of it
Education fair starts on Aug. 12
PAC Asia Sri Lanka has scheduled its
second World Education Fair for this year at
the Galle Face Hotel from August 12-13.
World Education Fair 2008 organized by
Pac Asia for the first time in Sri Lanka was
held at Taj Samudra Hotel on March 15 &16
that brought several reputed universities
from Australia, USA, UK and New Zealand.
World Education Fair is part of a series
of events that happens in all the countries
that PAC Asia represents, an event that
takes place twice a year every year. Through
educational fairs in Sri Lanka, PAC Asia
hopes to make a change in the way
educational opportunities and placements are
presented to potential students.
PAC Asia has professionals in the field
of counselling, communications and education
support.. "Our counsellors guide students
through maze of questions and find the best
suitable educational option for their
profile. Our regular follow ups with the
universities result in positive and quick
PAC Asia Sri Lanka is official
representative of institutes from Australia,
UK, USA and New Zealand and hence gives the
opportunity to students to meet institute
reps in Sri Lanka and have face to face
interactive session with them. "We give our
students an opportunity to meet the
delegates of various universities/colleges
wherein they not only get a chance to get
their doubts clarified about the university
and the course but even get on-spot
We assist our students in the entire visa
processing to the countries we represent,
right from filling up application forms,
assistance in preparing financial and other
relevant documents, providing guidance and
conducting mock interviews if needed. "
"We have a well equipped library
containing prospectuses, CDs, video tapes
and brochures of all the universities/
colleges represented by us to help students
in getting information about the
institution(s) of their interest. "
PAC Asia also organizes pre departure
sessions / get together for its students.
"We share with students about their new
destination, new culture they are going to
face, about the institute they are enrolling
in and also making them aware of do’s and
don’ts while they settles themselves in
totally a new environment. "
PAC Asia-Sri Lanka’s Business Head is.
M.A.C.M. Jawahir and its Asst. Manager is
Unfair comment on Gunatunge
I am constrained to comment on the rather
unfair insinuation in the Business Pages of
your paper of August 3, 2008 under the
caption "Sampath Asks CSE to defer rights
The annotation under the published
photograph of Edgar Gunatunge" "Sampath Bank
Chairman Edgar Gunatunge throws in the
towel" is grossly unfair and an
unjustifiable insinuation. Gunatunge has
decided to resign on his own volition and
not due to any pressure or veiled threats
from any group or groups of persons.
Having worked with and under Gunatunge
for over a decade, I am aware of his
exemplary and enviable qualities as a banker
of high moral rectitude. He has manifestly
and abundantly demonstrated that he never
wilted under any pressure and has faced many
challenges with remarkable grit and
It cannot be disputed that in 1992 he was
persuaded by the Central Bank and
institutional investors to take over as
Chief Executive and Deputy chairman of
With his enormous skill, born of vast
experience he helped to remarkably turn the
bank around. Customer confidence and
profitability grew slowly but surely and the
image of the Bank was enhanced, and so did
the bank’s performance in stocks. It is
indeed regrettable that his invaluable
contribution seems to be forgotten so soon.
Knowing Gunatunge’s character and
exemplary personal qualities I can with
certainty emphatically say that he did not
by an means throw in the towel due to any
pressure, but has acted according to the
dictates of his conscience in consideration
of his unblemished banking career and the
greater interest of the bank
Sqn. Ldr. J.T. Rex Fernando (SLAF-Ret),
Business Editor’s Note: "Insinuation" may
be an individual’s opinion.
However, the reality may be entirely
Due to a printer’s devil, John Keells
Stock Brokers results on Gestetner of
Ceylon’s comparative earnings for 1st
quarter (1Q) 2008/09 and 1Q ‘07/08 were
erroneously reported in our last week’s
edition as Rs. 708 million (net profit) and
Rs. 673 million (loss) respectively, whereas
those should have been correctly read as
Rs.0.708 million (net profit) and Rs.0.673
million (loss) respectively.
Com Bank’s PAT up 0.5%
Commercial Bank in the second quarter
(2Q) ended June 30, 2008 saw net profits
marginally increase by 0.5% year on year (YoY)
to Rs. 1,092.6 million. The Bank in the
first half (1H) ended June 30, 2008 saw net
profits grow by 5.5% YoY to Rs. 2,117.2
Hayleys makes turnaround
Hayleys PLC in the 1Q ended June 30, 2008
made a Rs. 107.6 million net profit,
compared to a Rs. 60.4 million loss in the
corresponding Q the previous year.
Nestle’s PAT down 17%
Nestle Lanka PLC in the 2Q ended June 30,
2008 saw net profits dip by 16.5% YoY to Rs.
246.1 million. However, the company in the
1H ended June 30, 2008 saw net profits grow
by 42.3% YoY to Rs. 910.8 million.
Union Assurance’s PAT up 63%
Union Assurance PLC in the 2Q ended June
30, 2008 saw net profits grow by 62.8% YoY
to Rs. 49 million. The company in the 1H
ended June 30, 2008 saw net profits grow by
77.9% YoY to Rs. 90.4 million.
Cold Stores Rs. 6 mn. in the red
Ceylon Cold Stores in the 1Q ended June
30, 2008 made a Rs. 5.5 million loss as
opposed to a Rs. 464 million net profit in
the corresponding period last year.
Horana’s PAT up 9%
Horana Plantations in the 1Q ended June
30, 2008 saw net profits increase by 9% YoY
to Rs. 8.4 million.
Haycarb’s PAT down 3%
Haycarb PLC in the 1Q ended June 30, 2008
saw net profits decline by 2.8% YoY to Rs.
Malwatte’s PAT up 134%
Malwatte Valley Plantations PLC in the 2Q
ended June 30, 2008 saw net profits increase
by 133.6% YoY to Rs. 298.4 million.
Cumulative net profits in the 1H ended June
30, 2008 increased by 73.4% YoY to Rs. 380.7
Property Development’s PAT increase
Property Development PLC in the 2Q ended
June 30, 2008 saw net profits increase by
45.6% YoY to Rs. 68.5 million. Cumulative
net profits in the 1H ended June 30, 2008
increased by 92.4% YoY to Rs. 178.6 million.
Spence Hotels’ losses up 423%
Aitken Spence Hotel Holding PLC in the 1Q
ended June 30, 2008 saw its losses increase
by 422.7% YoY to Rs. 48.2 million.
Spence’s PAT up 14%
Aitken Spence & Co., PLC in the 1Q ended
June 30, 2008 saw net profits up 13.6% YoY
to Rs. 387.2 million.
AMW’s PAT increases 411%
Associated Motorways PLC in the 1Q ended
June 30, 2008 saw net profits increase by
410.7% YoY to Rs. 231.7 million. (Source:
John Keells Stock Brokers)
Sea sand from Hungary
Sri Lanka to obtain sea sand from
That’s what Construction Minister Dr.
Rajitha Senaratne told the audience at the
inauguration of "Construct 2008" exhibition
that took place at the BMICH on Friday.
He said that this was to overcome the
crisis facing the industry due to a lack of
river sand, where sand mining has been
banned on environmental grounds.
Senaratne further said that the
government intends to exploit the 300
million metric tons (mts) of limestone at
Kankesanthurai (KKS) for the manufacture of
cement. The country’s annual cement
requirement is some four million mts. The
disused cement factory at KKS has the
capacity to manufacture 1.5 million mts of
cement, he said.
Aid for Trinco-Batti road
The French government is involved in the
construction of the A 15 Highway linking
Trincomalee to Batticaloa; a water supply
project at Trincomalee; and capacity
building and in a joint venture with the
banking industry to provide credit to the
construction sector to acquire equipment.
(Excerpts from the speech made by Deputy
French Ambassador Jaques Villemmain at
"Construct ‘08" on Friday)
Liquidity crunch hits market
With market liquidity coming down sharply
from the Rs. seven billion levels on
Thursday to the Rs. 2.5 billion levels on
Friday, overnight call money market rates,
the rates at which commercial banks lend to
each other for a day moved up slightly to
the 13½-14% levels, with market sources
predicting that rates would move up further,
to the 14-15% levels in the new week
beginning tomorrow due to this liquidity
The Central Bank (CB) has been using open
market operations including the sale of
"short term" CB Securities extensively in
the past week in order to mop-up excess
liquidity, in part caused by a Rs. 20
billion Treasury Bond that matured on August
Meanwhile the US dollar which appreciated
to the Rs. 107/80/85 levels at the beginning
of last week, dipped to the Rs. 107/60/65
levels at the week-end due to dollar selling
by commercial banks, they said, adding that
there was no particular reason for this
selling. Meanwhile, three million shares of
John Keells Holdings PLC changing hands at
Rs. 104.50 a share, in a "foreign to
foreign" trade, boosted turnover to Rs.
541.3 million at Friday’s trading.
Hike not for private sector
The private sector will not be mandated
to grant the Rs. 1,000 salary increase which
the government announced last month that
they would give public sector employees,
Labour Ministry Secretary Mahinda Madihaheva
told The Sunday Leader on Wednesday.
Private sector salary increases are
governed by collective agreements, whilst
not discounting the usual annual increments,
South Port tndr. in Sept.
Ports Minister Chamal Rajapakse has
assured ship operator representatives that
tenders for the construction of the South
Port in the Colombo Port Expansion project
would be called next month.
A Ceylon Association of Ships’ Agents
(CASA) source speaking to The Sunday
Leader on the grounds of anonymity said
that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded
US$ 300 million contract for the building of
the breakwater under this project is going
at a pace, with this part of the work
contracted to Hyundai, Korea.
Earlier, the government cancelled the
award for the tender for the construction of
the first terminal in the South Port
expansion project, as it was undecided to
award this contract to the Port of Singapore
Authority (PSA), whose offer had been
recommended by the technical evaluation
committee, or, to the other front runner to
this project, Hutchison Ports, Hong Kong.
The first terminal under this project is
to be constructed on a build, operate and
transfer basis. "But before the terminal
could be built, the breakwater has to be on
stream," the source said.