A lay off or a voluntary retirement scheme (VRS)
can ruin some top conglomerates, a human resource
development (HRD) manager warned.
Nations Trust Bank Plc (NTB) HR Head C. Hewapattini
speaking at a seminar organised by the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka on Tuesday (May 5)
said that recently a reputed company announced a VRS
scheme to get rid of 1,200 of its staff.
However among the 400 who applied for this scheme thus
far were some of its talented employees who could find
jobs elsewhere, he said.
of them have even contacted the bank and they are in the
process of evaluating those applications, said
once the economy is on track, such companies would be
hard pressed to regain its lost talent, he said.
Therefore it's the duty of HR professionals in companies
to advise and dissuade such talented persons to take-up
VRS schemes, he said.
schemes also affect those who remain because there is
uncertainty being built up whether it will be they who
will face the chop next, said Hewapattini. A mentality
like that affects productivity, he said.
what you have built can be destroyed in one single
action," Hewapattini said.
who apply for a VRS are those who have a market readily
Reducing the headcount doesn't mean reducing their
talent pool, he said. This is what companies have to
danger in a VRS is that it's the talented who first
apply for such a scheme.
SL's investment in education, lowest
the State running continuous budget deficits, compounded
by Sri Lanka having the lowest investment in education
in the South Asian region, an economist advocated the
privatization of some of the national schools as a
panacea to meet this investment shortfall.
Bank economist Dr. Harsha Aturupane speaking at a
seminar on education on Wednesday also suggested that
children from rich and middle class families attending
government schools should be made to pay for their
would liberate much needed government funds for more
deprived schools, he said.
Ananda and Visakha are a few of the more prestigious
Aturupane further said that the South Asian region was
among some of the lowest investors in education among
the world's regions, of which Sri Lanka is right at the
debunked National Institute of Business Management
Chairman Professor emeritus Lakshman Jayatilleke, a
previous speaker at this event, who argued that maths
and science should be taught in the vernaculars and that
the teaching of subjects such as carpentry and masonry
should take precedence over that of computers.
designer or a web master in English will earn more than
a web designer or a web master in Sinhala, or a
carpenter or a mason for that matter," Aturupane said.
"English is the lingua franca in the market place and
its deprivation would lead to countries such as
and Maldives overtaking us in the globalised market
place," he warned.
"Otherwise we will end up producing web designers and
web masters in Sinhala, and carpenters and masons, while
importing web designers and web masters in English at a
far greater cost," said Aturupane.
come to a pathetic situation that Sri Lanka has to
import English teachers from
to teach English, because of a dearth locally.
also said that when C. W.W. Kannangara introduced free
education, his idea was to provide free education in
English in national schools for the deserving poor
Vernacular education was in any case free, Aturupane
also said that with urbanization came the clamour for so
called better schools, even though two hours away from
the village, making it more pressing for investments in
such popular schools, which may carry a student
population as high as 8,000 in some of these. Aturupane
said that urbanization was a natural reaction to
prosperity. "Fifty years of socialism has failed to
uplift the country out of poverty, which, at the end of
World War 2 was the second richest country in Asia," he
$ hitting Rs. 125, a dream
Exporters have lost their expectations that the US
dollar would hit the Rs. 125 levels because of the
belief that the government has secured the US$ 1.9
billion IMF standby facility, market sources told The
Sunday Leader on Thursday.
dollar fluctuated between the Rs. 116.50-117.30-118.25
levels on Thursday, with the State staying away from the
market, they said. The State last bought dollars from
the market via People's Bank on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile the money (rupee) market was short by Rs. 5.1
billion on Thursday, with the Central Bank to offer Rs.
eight billion to the market of an 18 day tenure when
trading opens tomorrow to tide over this shortfall.
Overnight call rate, the rates at which banks borrow
from each other, were in the 10% levels.
Treasury (T) Bonds in secondary market trading were
however trading at the 14-14¬% levels, up from the
earlier low 13% levels.
Sources attributed the pressure build up on rates
because T Bills, in last week's primary auction did not
fall as sharply as expected. T Bills of a 364 day tenure
fell by 27 basis points (bps) to 13.78%, compared to a
steeper 135 bp fall to 14.05% the previous week.
Investors therefore expected this yield to fall to the
13% levels last week, but it was not to be, due to
aggressive selling by the Central Bank (CB) on behalf of
the government that pushed up rates, they said.Earlier,
secondary market T Bond yields at Monday's trading
remained unchanged over last Thursday's (April 30),
being quoted at the 14.25-14.30% levels on uncertainty
over the IMF loan, sources said.
April 29 those were trading at the 13.75% levels, but
shot up by 50 basis points (bps) since because of this
However, the US dollar in two way quotes remained
unchanged at the Rs. 120/120/15 levels on Monday.
Meanwhile, a CB primary T Bond auction of a 10 year
maturity fetched a seemingly high weighted average yield
(WAY) of 13.74% on Monday, slightly higher than the WAYs
fetched at the previous week's T Bond auction for
maturities of much less tenures.
Sources attributed these high rates to "uncertainty,"
coupled with investors having had got their fingers
burnt after subscribing to rates as low as 6-7% for T
Bonds of 10 and 15 year maturities when they were
introduced by the then UNP regime in 2002.
the fall of that government in April 2004, both interest
rates and inflation have had been on the ascent since.
Meanwhile at the previous week's auction T Bonds of one
year and 11 months tenure fetched a WAY of 13.32%, T
Bonds of three years and 10 months, a WAY of 13.63% and
that of five years and 11 months, a WAY of 13.49%.
Monday's auction had a parcel of Rs. 500 million on
offer, what was sold was only Rs. 150 million, probably
because the market was asking for a higher rate for the
balance than that which the CB was prepared to pay.
Issuing of T Bonds and T Bills to the market is a
popular way for the government to raise money to meet
its expenditure requirements.
Meanwhile this tender also had parcels of two years and
nine months and three years and 10 months also on offer,
with each parcel being of Rs. 750 million in value.
However CB rejected bids received for those parcels,
probably due to the aforesaid reasons.
previous week's T Bond auction, which had a parcel of T
Bonds of two years and 10 months tenure on offer, that
parcel fetched a WAY of 13.73%.
IMF & diaspora
US$ 1.9 billion standby arrangement (S.B.A.) asked by
the Government of Sri Lanka (G.o.S.L.) from the I.M.F.
is critical for the very survival of the island.
said in these pages earlier, Sri Lanka is a net
importer, meaning that its export earnings are
insufficient to cover its import bill.
situation has been made worse by government expenditure
over-shooting revenue by a mile, falling remittances and
investments and no doubt tourism earnings, slowing down
of aid and the virtual drying up of foreign exchange (forex)
markets, undoubtedly caused by the global recession.
person who is not in his right senses will say that Sri
Lanka can survive without foreign aid.
of us who are not so young can still remember the dark
ages of 1970-77, when the economy was closed and thus
being deprived of a greater part of foreign aid badly
needed for infrastructure development and employment
trade being the order of the day to obtain assistance as
it's seemingly so even now, but with an additional
adjunct now creeping in, such as to cease military
operations to qualify for aid, as, apparently being Sri
was an era of shortages, hence the sprouting up of black
markets, rationings, queues, corruption and cheating
across the board-from the cooperative store dispenser to
the top, and even starvation because the country did not
have enough forex to leave alone import luxury items,
not even enough to import the bare necessities like
rice, wheat flour, sugar an cloth.
factors make the I.M.F. S.B.A. critical for the very
survival of Sri Lanka.
controversy over the disbursement of this loan now
appears to rest over what is happening in Mullaitivu and
not economics, according to reports.
seems that political priorities and not economic are the
over-arching conditions that appear to govern the I.M.F.,
headquartered in Washington, in regard to the
disbursement of this S.B.A.
alleged that the above loan (needed to bolster the
country's depleted forex reserves) is being delayed
because of a veto by the world's most powerful economy
the U.S.A. on the grounds that G.o.S.L. is not agreeable
to sue for a ceasefire with the L.T.T.E., now confined
to a narrow strip of land in Mullaitivu.
concerns are ostensibly in regard to the safety of the
reported 50,000 civilians being used as human shields by
the cornered terrorists to prevent the army advance.
the safety of entrapped civilians caught up in a war
situation is a cause for concern for anyone in the
civilized world, whether in the U.S.A. or tiny Sri
Lanka, G.o.S.L.'s reluctance to sue for a ceasefire is
that this will be another ruse for the Tigers to re-arm
and for their leadership to escape from the long arm of
fact it's reported that the U.S.A. wants the terrorist
leadership to surrender to a third party.
However, a possible unsaid story in regard to the U.S.A.
and the West's, and possibly that of India's pressure on
G.o.S.L. to sue for peace is not due to the love of the
innocent Tamilians caught up in the conflict (due to no
fault of theirs), but due to pressure from powerful
Eelam lobbyists walking in the corridors of power in
international power centres, be it New York, Whitehall
and even Delhi (courtesy through pressure from the
political power blocs in Chennai).
it, G.o.S.L. appears to want to fight the war to a
finish despite economic pressure from the rest of the
world in the form of a threat to cut off aid, as opposed
to using military pressure as was successfully done by
India, earlier, in 1987, when too the terrorists had
threat of Indian military action worked well to cow down
G.o.S.L. at that time, and thereby give a much needed
lifeline to the L.T.T.E.
events after 9/11, complemented by the assassination of
Rajiv Gandhi by a Tiger suicide bomber in May 1991 has
made the distinction between a terrorist and a freedom
fighter that much clearer to the rest of the world.
Nevertheless our Foreign Ministry and our Foreign
London and in other major cities in the West have to be
faulted for apparently being "sleeping," by allowing the
voice of the Eelam lobbyists in Washington to drown that
even at this 11th hour, with the fate of the S.B.A. now
apparently being in the balance, G.o.S.L. needs to put
its best foot forward to secure this much needed
loan.This may need effective lobbying, particularly in
possible way to get around this quagmire is to muster
the support of that Sri Lankan Tamilian diaspora who are
not pro Tiger terrorists, and there may well be
thousands of them, i.e. those whose relatives have been
killed by the L.T.T.E. or who are forced to pay money to
this banned organisation on the threat that otherwise
revenge will be taken on their relatives back at home,
or whose houses and properties and other belongings have
had been forcibly acquired by the terrorists.
media recently reported that in response to President
Mahinda Rajapaksa's appeal, some members of the Tamil
diaspora visited the country to get a first hand
impression of what's going on in the island, and their
conclusions had apparently been positive.
next step is to get them as counter-lobbyists in
L.T.T.E. is virtually a spent force thanks to the
military, what is now needed is for our missions in
critical centres of the world, like in Washington and
London, to get the support of these peoples (who should
be given that clear message that the terrorists are now
in their last legs in order to boost their confidence)
to counter the Eelam lobbyists, in order to wrest this
loan for the country.
Hot air over Chillies
was some hot air blown at Monday's press conference
organised by the local advertising industry to announce
the winners at the recently concluded Chillies 2009
Burnett came first with 121 points, followed by Triad
(101) and JWT (74).
Triad's Joint Managing Directors Dilith Jayaweera and
Ms. Varuni Amunugama Fernando, joined by JWT CEO
Thayalan Bartleet and its Vice President and Executive
Creative Director Ms. Chandini Rajaratnam said that they
preferred the old Olympic system to decide on the
winner, i.e. on the basis of the total number of metals
or medals won, as opposed to a points tally, which was
the scheme adopted this year.
Fernando contended that under the new system creative
works of smaller agencies won't stand a chance of being
rewarded. They will oppose this system in future
However 4As President Ms. Laila Gunesekere Martenstyn
contended that the previous "Olympic" style points
system to decide on the winner, where the medals or
metals tally adopted being the sole criterion was not
feasible, because in certain categories awards were not
made, whereas in an Olympic style system, gold, silver
and bronze medals are assured for each event.
further said that the industry embraced the point system
this time on a majority decision.
old style was adopted, JWT would have had come on tops,
with Triad second. Under the old system which was
adopted upto last year, Triad won the even in the last
three occasions, said Jayaweera, as old as the Chillies
event, since it was first inaugurated.
Meanwhile, Martenstyn who works for Grant McCann
Erickson, an advertising agency, saw her company ending
up in fourth place with 55 points.
total of 12 agencies, including the aforesaid four, won
at least one award at this ceremony to reward creativity
in the local advertising industry.
industry said as the judging was done by foreigners, it
gave them an impetus to present their creative works in
foreign advertising competitions such as at Cannes and
at Adfest, Pattaya, where the local industry has been
winning accolades since last year.
points scheme adopted this year comprised 12 points for
the best creative work, 10 points for a grand prix
award, seven for a gold, five for a silver, three for a
bronze and one point for a "finalist."
Military ops. & Japanese aid Akashi non committal
backdrop of pressure from the West on the Government of
Sri Lanka (G.o.S.L.) for a cessation of hostilities,
Japan's peace envoy Yashushi Akashi was evasive when The
Sunday Leader asked him what's Japan's stance if the Sri
Lankan military continued with their "humanitarian"
operations to ensure that the totality of the island's
geographical area came under Colombo's writ.
will have to make our assessments as per the unfolding
scenario," he told this reporter when he was asked last
Saturday what impact on Japanese aid will continued
"humanitarian" military operations will have to ensure
that Colombo's writ will be extended throughout the
"defensive" operations are understandable, he said.
however told reporters on the same day that
does not subscribe to the strategy, "more peace, more
does not share this view."
also said that they never restricted aid to Sri Lanka
because of the conflict. "Why should the common people
be penalized for G.o.S.L. not toeing the "more peace,
more assistance line," Akashi said.
admitted that there are differences among the Co-Chairs
in relation to dealing with Colombo on the L.T.T.E.
question, but that hadn't stopped them from working
together for Colombo's "common good."
Norway, U.K. and U.S.A., "with India being the fifth as
they are always being consulted in regard to the
island's burning problem," said Akashi.
further said that the L.T.T.E. missed the bus by
boycotting the 2003 Tokyo Peace Conference and thereby
lost the opportunity to air their grievances to the
further said that the plight of the internally displaced
persons (.ID.Ps) seemed worst than when he last visited
the island which was in January.
may be because of the sheer numbers, with over 100,000
arriving into the cleared areas in the past few weeks
alone, he said.
however said that G.o.S.L., U.N. organisations,
International Organisation for Migration and N.G.Os were
doing their utmost to alleviate the sufferings of the
G.o.S.L. had told him that 80% of the I.D.Ps would be
re-settled by December.
the biggest bogeys in this regard were mines, he said.
was Akashi's seventeenth visit to the island. He left
last Saturday night.
his stay here he had meetings with three of the four
Rajapaksa brothers, the President and his adviser Basil
and Defence Secretary Gotabaya, Opposition Leader Ranil
Wickremesinghe, T.N.A. M.Ps, Co-Chair Ambassadorial
representatives in Colombo, U.N. and other aid
officials, Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama, whilst
also having had visited an I.D.P. camp in Vavuniya.
said that his talks with the Rajapaksa brothers were
came here to look at the evolving situation vis-…-vis
I.D.Ps in the North and to contact with G.o.S.L. leaders
and others to assess the present situation and resolve
the remaining difficulties," he said.
hope the L.T.T.E. will soon change their attitude and
will allow those civilians to move out from those areas.
At the same time that G.o.S.L. will keep to its promise
of zero civilian casualties, no combat, nor the use of
said. He termed this as the second most important issue,
i.e. of the plight of civilians left behind in the "so
called no fire zone."
further said that there had been firing inside the "so
called no fire zone," but said that he was unable to
pinpoint who was responsible for this firing.
Correlation between poverty & gender inequality
Bank (WB) research shows a strong correlation between
high incidence of poverty and low levels of gender
equality, WB Country Director in Sri Lanka Ms. Naoko
Speaking at the Key Persons Forum organized by The
Women's Chamber of Industry and Commerce recently, she
said that global studies undertaken by the WB show that
investments in girls and women yield large social and
the WB is committed to equal and fair participation of
women and men throughout the planning and implementation
process of a project to ensure sustainable
girl is given the opportunity to study she has a good
chance of finding employment, earning an income and
becoming financially independent, all of which improves
her quality of life.
have found out that the benefits do not end there:
Studies show that she is likely to reinvest about 90% of
her earnings into her family's wellbeing, bettering the
lives of those around her," said Ishii.
will also marry and have children later in life and have
gained knowledge that allows her to keep her children
healthy and educated.
immediate effects contribute to slowing population
growth, which in turn impacts everything, from health to
climate change and consequently the
Investing in women is smart economics, and investing in
girls, catching them upstream, is even smarter
invest in girls, if you educate girls, if you get girls
into jobs, you solve so many problems.
investing in the education and empowerment of girls can
be a key factor in breaking intergenerational cycles of
October, the Nike Foundation and the WB's Gender Action
Plan, Gender Equality as Smart Economics, launched the
$20 million Adolescent Girls Initiative to smooth the
transition from school to productive employment for
girls and young women aged 16 to 24 by helping them
complete their education, build skills that match market
demand, find mentors and job placements, and by offering
incentives to potential employers to hire, retain and
train young women.
should have the same opportunities as boys to lead full
and productive lives.
of the research that we have done has emphasized that
this is also a question of smart economics; investing in
women yields very large social and economic returns, in
this and in coming generations.
is a commitment by the WB group to enhance women's
active participation in development through economic
empowerment initiatives throughout the world.
Full disclosure reporting
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) withdrew a
proposal to withhold data in its Wildlife Strike
Database, after a 30-day comment period produced almost
unanimous support of disclosure and released the data on
a public website.
had been concerned that some airlines and airports would
reduce voluntary reporting of bird strikes for fear that
the public and news media would misunderstand or
misinterpret the data.
the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) warned
that withholding data could interfere with analysis and
mitigation of the problem.
Secretary Ray LaHood said, "Public disclosure is our
job. The sea change in government transparency is
beginning, and we are happy to be a part of it." FAA
estimates the voluntary reporting system captures only
20% of wildlife strikes, but has declined to adopt an
NTSB recommendation to make the reports mandatory. Among
disclosures in the data: about 100,000 reported wildlife
collisions have been made since 1990, with 11 deaths;
most were bird strikes; 28 aircraft were destroyed since
2000, with five fatalities and 93 injuries; wildlife
strikes more than doubled at 13 major U.S. airports
Airports reporting the most incidents with serious
damage included New York Kennedy located amid wetlands
which lies beneath the Pacific Flyway used by millions
of migrating birds.
significant decrease in major damage in 2007 and 2008
may be attributable to tightened engine design standards
to better withstand strikes, and increased airport
wildlife management. (Washington Aviation Summary)
Milk certified by Aussie govt.
On a fact finding mission about Maliban Milk and the
milk foods market in Sri Lanka, we met Maliban Chief
Operating Officer D. L. Weerasuriya and Maliban Milk
Sales and Marketing Head Nalinda Jayamanna.
Question (Q): Claims of milk food manufacturers that
their milk powder is of the highest quality and gives
the best nutrition has become a marketing cliché which
no one pays any attention to. Are you any different?
Can Maliban Milk give proof of its quality?
Answer (A): We can. Maliban Milk is solely
manufactured by Murray Goulburn Australia. Murray
Goulburn milk only caters to markets such as U.S.A.,
Japan and Europe. We decided to introduce it to Sri
Lanka as Maliban Milk because that is the only milk in
the world that carries the approval and certification of
a Government; that of Australia. That is a claim no
other milk can match.
Nutrition which is a vital criterion for markets of
developing countries was another factor which made us
decide on Maliban Milk for Sri Lanka.
litres of liquid milk is required to manufacture one
kilo of milk. To achieve the correct concentration only
87% of water should be removed from liquid milk in the
spray drying process. That Maliban Milk meets this
concentration standard has been certified not only by
the Australia Government, but also by the Sri Lanka
Standards Institute through its SLS certification. Our
commitment to standards was further confirmed when
Maliban Milk was awarded the HACCP certification for the
safety of food products. Incidentally we are the only
milk powder in the Sri Lankan market to be awarded this
Shouldn’t the pricing and content of milk powders
conform to some standard?
Yes. There should be a common standard and we are
confident that Maliban Milk has kept to the right side
of this standard. In fact I would go further and say
that we have even raised the standard for other milk
powders. In turning liquid milk into powdered milk most
milk powder manufacturers remove the milk fat content
which is about 36% and replaces it with palm oil or
animal fat substitutes. This is done because replacing
milk fat at Rs 650 per kg. with animal fat or palm oil
at Rs 120 per kg. translates into a huge profit for
them. The milk protein content which is about 24% of
whole milk is treated the same way, because it’s more
profitable to replace milk protein at Rs 900 per kg.
with cheaper wheat protein or melamine substitutes. Some
companies even go to the extent of substituting sugar
for the milk lactose. So what happens is that milk
powder consumers get the bad end of the stick. Not only
are they deprived of the 100% goodness and wholesomeness
of milk, they also get various health complications
caused by those replacement substitutes.
Maliban Milk is manufactured without removing any of
these vital nutrient components and contains the optimum
amount of milk fat, milk protein and lactose. And we
have mentioned this fact in our pack as a further
confirmation of trust.
Q: Consumption of Maliban Milk is at an all time high,
It is an expression of the consumer’s faith in us.
In the quality of our milk as well as our pricing
strategies which are consumer friendly and the taste of
Maliban Milk which is exactly to their taste.
near future, we hope to introduce the milk powder 1+ and
3+ varieties to the market. It is an important market
for us because it gives us the chance to value ad to the
future of Sri Lanka through nutrition.
Q: You mentioned consumer friendly pricing strategies,
what are they?
We introduced Maliban Milk in a poly pack, so the cost
of the conventional shelf pack is eliminated and the
consumer gets the benefit. Also we introduced Maliban
Milk packs of various innovatively consumer friendly
sizes which became popular because they cater to the
whole spectrum of consumer income levels. We shall go on
providing 100% “milk goodness” to Sri Lankans because
they deserve nothing less.
College Union (RCU), the the Old boys of Royal College
Colombo’s official body, signed up with HNB Assurance
PLC recently to provide an attractive insurance products
package to its members. This event took place at the RCU
Head Office at Rajakeeya Mawatha Colombo.
comprises a nearly 14,000 past students member base who
are engaged in all types of professions and industries
here and abroad.
the MOU signed with HNB Assurance, Royal College’s past
students can now get their Insurance needs serviced
routed via RCU at competitive terms.
Assurance is regarded by many as the fastest growing
insurance company in Sri Lanka. Despite just seven years
in operation, it has grown rapidly to secure the sixth
rank in terms of combined turnover among 15 insurance
companies in Sri Lanka.
been rated ‘A’ (lka) on its financial strength by Fitch
Ratings Lanka Ltd, becoming only the second insurer in
Sri Lanka to receive a Fitch Rating. It is also ranked
among the ‘Top 100 Brands’ in Sri Lanka compiled by LMD
in association with Brand Finance.
Lectures on TV
CIMA announced yet another innovation: “Revision Lectures on TV”.
CIMA Sri Lanka Division bi-annually organizes revision lectures for its
students to ensure that they are equipped to succeed in
their exams, and this venture would help the vast number
of students who are unable to attend these lectures to
better prepare for the examinations.
eminent panel of lecturers from some of the leading CIMA
tuition colleges in Sri Lanka have partnered with CIMA
in this initiative that will be telecast daily on MTV
until May 17 with repeat telecasts on Sirasa and Shakti
Speaking on the programme Regional Director CIMA Bradley
Emerson said, “At CIMA we are continuously looking for
innovative ways to meet the needs of our students. It is
in line with this objective that this year
CIMA in partnership with partner MTV piloted this unique
project to conduct a series of revision lectures for
students at the Managerial level.
grateful to MTV for initiating such a novel concept and
to all our lecturers who at short notice readily
accepted our request to be on the programme. We are
convinced that our youth will stand out in the corporate
and programmes of this nature is an indication of our
commitment to reach out and help them achieve that”.
Sales Director Lakshmi Jayasinghe who initiated the
programme thanked CIMA for partnering MTV in this
pioneering effort and said, “We have always perceived
CIMA to be a high notch professional qualification and
currently see it as the sought after institution in
serving the higher education needs of the youth around
the country. Our association with them in this series of
programmes is to serve the large number of students
islandwide which undoubtedly adds value to the MTV
is yet another first by the global management accounting
International’s Citizenship & Diversity Global Head Lord
Michael Hastings will present a case for ‘Corporate
Citizenship and Diversity in the Modern Enterprise’ at a
“high profile” ACCA-KPMG CEO Breakfast Meeting at
Cinnamon Grand on Wednesday.
evaluation process sponsored by JP Morgan last year,
Hastings was listed among the 100 Most Influential
Black People in the
ACCA being the acknowledged global pioneer in
sustainability reporting initiatives and KPMG, whose
commitment to corporate citizenship globally in
environment, healthcare, education and community
development initiatives is renowned, Hastings draws from
organisations’ expertise and his own experiences to add
much value to the topic being discussed.
addition to his role at KPMG International which also
representation at the World Economic Forum’s Global
Corporate Citizenship International Committee and the
World Business Council on Sustainable Development,
Hastings is also a Non-Executive Director on British
Telecom’s Board for Responsible and Sustainable
Business, a Trustee for Vodafone Group Foundation and
was previously the Head of CSR at BBC.
Hastings, who was conferred a CBE (Commander of the
British Empire) in
in recognition of his services towards crime reduction
has initiated and mentored numerous corporate
citizenship efforts around the globe in areas including
climate change, disaster relief, community development,
equality, children’s welfare and diversity.
multiple honouree from various organisations, he was
awarded the honour of an independent peerage to the
House of Lords in 2005, and also received the UNICEF
Award for his’Outstanding Contribution to understanding
and effecting solutions for Africa’s Children’ in the
Online customer support portal
eServices, Asia’s only GDS online customer service
self-help portal has received growing interest from
travel agencies across Asia Pacific over the past one
year and even more so in the current tight economic
environment.Abacus eServices provides agencies 24/7
access to GDS’ full range of business services and
market information. Abacus eServices was first launched
in January 2008 and is now subscribed by over 4,000
travel agencies across 25 markets in Asia Pacific. It is
progressively being introduced to more countries in the
coming months. Abacus International is owned by Sabre
and a consortium of Asia’s leading airlines including
All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, EVA
Airways, Garuda Indonesia, Dragonair, Philippine
Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Royal Brunei Airlines,
SilkAir and Singapore Airlines. Sabre is the global
leader in electronic distribution of travel and travel
International Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, is a joint venture
between Abacus International (Singapore)
Pte. Ltd and Softlogic Holdings Ltd.
it was introduced to Delair Travels (Pvt) Ltd., we have
relied on Abacus eServices for so many of our agency’s
operation and service needs.
given us access to so much vital information about the
industry and there are plenty of user guides, tips &
e-Courses at our fingertips 24/7 with eServices to boost
our productivity and efficiency,” said Delair Travels (Pvt)
Ltd. Director Dino De Fonseka.
prevailing tight market conditions mean that agencies
need to choose and use selective channels that provide
the greatest value to their business. Abacus eServices
self-help portal serves that purpose fully as it allows
our travel agencies remote access to tools, solutions
and information to help them sharpen their marketing and
operations edge,” said Abacus International Pte Ltd.
Vice President Marketing Brett Henry.
“Whether it’s getting hold of productivity reports,
upgrading travel agents with over 65 e-learning courses
or being among the first to know of the latest in-market
promotions from airlines and other travel
suppliers-these are all essential aspects of the agency
business where Abacus eServices can offer our agencies
an overriding edge amid the current hyper intense
competition.“ Abacus’ suite of eLearning courses offers
travel consultants the flexibility of taking short 15-30
minute courses instead of attending full day classes
that take away productive time from their agency.
addition, Abacus eServices saves time and costs for
travel agents as useful features like Format Finder help
agents learn formats and industry procedures quickly.
With no start up costs or registration required, Abacus
eServices will be accessible using single sign-on
technology; in this case using the travel consultants
host reservation credentials.
Singapore-based Abacus International is Asia-Pacific’s
leading travel facilitator with more than 15,000 travel
agency locations in 25 markets. With more than 20 years
of experience in fusing international best practices and
local expertise with global and local partnerships,
Abacus provides travel information and reservations
tailored to the Asia-Pacific region.
Management Club (TMC) recently launched a project in
their series of Knowledge Development activities for
members and guests by initiating a “Share a Book”
Kicking off this new initiative at TMC, V. Satyendra,
TMC’s founder member and a Board member reviewed the
book “Increase your Financial IQ” by Robert Kiyosaki.
turned out to be an interesting and educative evening
for those who were present as the presenter also shared
his personal experiences over a successful career
spanning over three decades
interesting element of the book that came to light was
that money does not make one rich, but it is only the
way you use your financial IQ that would make you
According to Kiyosaki the five basic measurement
criterion of Financial Intelligence were how you make
more money, how you protect your money, how you budget
your money, how you leverage your money and how you
improve your knowledge on financial information.
Kiyosaki in his book says that as every goal should have
a process to achieve same, hard work will be an
essential requirement in trying to make more money.
To protect your money the 7
namely bureaucrats, bankers and the brokers, businesses,
brides and beaus, brothers in law and barristers, will
have to be tactfully handled.
book also describes that the most important asset one
can have is ‘good knowledge’ while poor or mistaken
knowledge is a liability and that it is not the physical
assets that makes one rich, but it is the information
that makes you rich or poor.
Meanwhile, the second in TMC’s “Share a Book” series was
presented by the Immediate Past President of its Board,
Col Faiz Ur Rahman, who reviewed Robert Sutton’s
Building a Civilised Workplace and Surviving one that
too turned out to be an interesting and thought
provoking evening for those who were present as Ur
Rahman drew comparisons from his personal experiences to
what was described by the author in the book. In his
book Sutton explains how a “jerk” would make people who
have no power to retaliate feel small in front of their
colleagues, thus having to change their behaviour
patterns after experiencing such unpleasant
said that being treated by superiors like this is a
phenomenon that every one has to survive with, as all
individuals display these traits at one time or another
in their lives.
person sees his co workers as his competitors and
believes that the best way to climb the ladder is to
push other people down or out of the way then that
person possesses two of the major characteristics in
contributing to an uncivilised workplace according to
plans to continue these “Share a Book” evenings on a
regular basis in view of the enthusiasm that it has so
far generated among members and their guests.
Excellence in service
Winston Churchill once observed that the world’s
greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart
enough to know these were impossible, therein lies a
1980 it seemed inconceivable that a fledgling company
named Frostaire, solely dedicated to affording prompt
and efficient service in the maintenance of
air-conditioning and refrigeration units, would, in just
five years since inception, venture into the assembly of
air-conditioning and refrigeration units.
Frostaire can claim to have one of the largest installed
bases of air-conditioning and specialized refrigeration
appliances in the country.
wide range of air-conditioning units, from the standard
‘Room’ and ‘Split-Type’ to packages, provide the exact
air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions to the most
demanding applications in housing complexes, apartments,
offices, commercial buildings, hospitals, factories and
more recently, schools.
dedicated Refrigeration Division instals pre-fabricated
cold rooms’ and is supplemented by ‘Thermo King’, a
well-known brand of refrigeration trucks that keep
perishable goods fresh during point-to-point
current workforce of over 150 personnel comprises
salespersons, trained to advice customers in the
selection of the precise equipment to match their
is also the equally well-trained technical staff to
provide high-calibre after-sales service-which in fact
begins “even before installation.” Sales engineers
first survey the premises, prepare a lay-out plan, work
on heat-load calculations and finalize the planned
lay-out in consultation with the in-house Design Office.
Post-installation customer care is provided by service
centres at Union Place, Colombo and Welisara. Dedication
to customer care is underlined by the deployment of a
Mobile Workshop which carries out repairs and services
on-site. This Mobile Workshop has a two-way
communication system for closer co-ordination and prompt
response. Frostaire also has an in-house research and
development laboratory equipped with the latest
technology which includes Psychometric Testing systems.
Frostaire is now a conglomerate. Five dedicated
subsidiaries handle every facet in the air-conditioning
and refrigeration trade and the high degree of
commitment has gained the company membership in
prestigious trade and service organizations.
Frostaire however does not regard past achievements as
laurels to rest on, but rather the inspiration to focus
on new frontiers and continue making a mark where it
Hire & fire
Rethink when hiring a person because in this country
getting rid of people is not easy. If you recruit him at
20, with the retirement age at 55, you are saddled with
him for 35 years. Hiring is an assessment.
Personal (salary) costs work out to be 30-40% of total
operating expenses in this country. in
it’s higher, at 70%, because of a scarce talent
base-Nations Trust Bank Plc HR Head C. Hewapattini
speaking at a seminar in Colombo on Tuesday.
Grand Prix win
won the first ever Grand Prix awarded at the recently
concluded Chillies. This is the first time that Chillies
has awarded a Grand Prix, a recognition of the “Best of
the Best” work.
Triad’s haul included the ‘Best Campaign of the Year’
award together with two Golds, six Silvers, 11 Bronzes
and 14 Finalist awards. Winning across categories and
brands, the work recognised as outstanding were
campaigns for brands like Sri Lanka Telecom, Hutch,
Elephant House, Laugfs, Heladiv, Nippolac, CIC, Singer
Sri Lanka and Perera & Sons as well as social
responsibility initiatives done for Sri Lanka Army and
the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing. .
Sampath, LOLC, in race for Seylan
and Sampath Bank are allegedly the two short listed
prospective investors that submitted bids for a 1/3rd
stake in Seylan Bank when bids closed on Thursday,
according to reports.
learnt that LOLC is planning to come up with some
foreign funds in this investment.
original five bidders who prequalified to buy this stake
were the aforesaid bidders, John Keells Holdings, NDB,
and V.V. Karunaratne & Company.
apparent attraction in Seylan is its market share, being
the third biggest private bank, in terms of loan
portfolio size, despite inter-company transactions
allegedly amounting to Rs. 7.8 billion "scarring" its
inter-company transactions, according to a report
submitted by the auditors KMPG as late as Wednesday had
alleged that these loans had not been properly secured.
may have had scared the other pre-qualified bidders,"
the sources said.
considering Seylan's balance sheet size, valued at some
Rs. 110 billion, that may have had prompted LOLC and
Sampath to still go ahead with their bids, they added.
Central Bank in a statement said that the Monetary Board
is expected to make the final decision by May 20, 2009
and notify the successful bidder immediately thereafter.
chit system, a popular mode for ruling party MPs to
ensure that their supporters get jobs in the public
sector is back, said National Institute of Business
Management Chairman Professor emeritus Lakshman
Jayatilleke at a seminar on Wednesday.
chit system, as a tool to give jobs to party supporters,
held sway during the then UF government regime of
Usury spurs growth
Insurance companies saw their bottom lines in the first
quarter of 2009 grow not due to growth in its core
business, i.e. an increase in collection of gross
written premium income, which in fact declined year on
year, but due to high interest earned by investing in
high yielding government securities, over and above the
minimum 35% threshold, because there was no better
investment tool to turn to-Industry sources
CIM in B'desh
Chartered Institute of Marketing Sri Lanka Region (CIM
SLR) is looking to expand into
considered as that country's education hub.
tuition provider identified, this centre is expected to
be up and running, in time for the July intake.
However, CIM SLR has found
to be a difficult nut to crack, because of those
students' preference for a U.S. qualification.
qualification. CIM SLR is already in the
Colombo is CIM's centre in the region.
Foreigners to stay away
Foreign portfolio investors will stay away from the
bourse even after the war because they can buy stocks at
bargain prices back at home, market sources told The
will be out of the market for a long time, they said.
Thursday the market experienced a net foreign outflow of
Rs. 25 million on a foreign purchase figure of Rs. 40
Thursday the benchmark ASPI gained by 2.69 points on the
back of retail interest in JKH, NTB, Chevron and
Commercial Bank. Turnover was Rs. 330.4 million.
expected the bourse to come down this week due to profit
taking, with its future direction unclear.
Thursday saw 557,100 shares of
NDB changing hands at the Rs. 93 per share levels; 990,300
shares of JKH at the Rs. 78 levels; 220,300 shares of
Chevron at the Rs. 118 levels and 224,400 shares of
Commercial Bank at the Rs. 95 levels.
80% apparel exporters crashed
per cent of apparel exporters to the U.S.A. globally
have crashed due to the recession, an apparel exporter
Brandix's Head of Risk & Control, Ms. Aroshi Perera,
speaking at a seminar organised by the Institute of
Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) on Tuesday
(May 5) said that this meant the contraction of 60,000
garment manufacturing factories to only 8,000.
major export destinations of local garments are to the
U.S.A. and E.U.
this does not mean that the U.S. consumer has cut down
his expenditure by 80%, " she said.
fact in December Brandix exported its highest ever
number of pieces of garments, this shows that there is
enough opportunities in a recession, said Perera.
However, margins have shrunk.
Departmental stores like Marks & Spencer are retailing
clothes at virtually give away prices, offering
discounts as deep as 50-80%, she said. Brandix has
person leaves, others are expected to do his job.
however told The Sunday Leader that the recession should
end by August.
Diesel sales down 12%
Kerosene sales in February 2009 remained unchanged year
on year (YoY) at 12,000 metric tons (mts).
Kerosene sales in the first two months of the year
declined by 7.4% YoY to 25,000 mts. Petrol sales in
February 2009 declined by 2.4% YoY to 40,000 mts. Petrol
sales in the first two months of the year however
increased by 3.6% YoY to 87,000 mts.
diesel sales in February 2009 declined by 12.4% YoY to
127,000 mts. Auto diesel sales in the first two months
of the year declined by 5.1% YoY to 279,000 mts.
Electricity generation down 8%
Electricity generation in February 2009 declined by 8%
year on year (YoY) to 732 GWh.
Electricity generation in the first two months of the
year declined by 6.2% YoY to 1,539 GWh.
Cement consumption down 71%
cement consumption in February 2009 declined by 70.5%
year on year (YoY) to 81,000 metric tons (mts).
cement consumption in the first two months of the year
declined by 69.7% YoY to 182,000 mts.
Transshipment volumes down 19%
Transshipment volumes in February 2009 declined by 19.2%
year on year (YoY) to 168,468 twenty foot equivalent
units of containers (TEUs). Transshipment volumes in the
first two months of the year declined by 14.8% YoY to
Tea export earnings down 33%
export earnings in February 2009 declined by 33.4% year
on year (YoY) to US$ 72.3 million. Tea export earnings
in the first two months of the year declined by 32.9%
YoY to US$ 133.9 million.
Rubber export earnings down 45%
export earnings in February 2009 declined by 45.5% year
on year (YoY) to US$ eight million. Rubber export
earnings in the first two months of the year declined by
45.5% YoY to US$ 15 million. (Source : Central Bank)
Tea & rewards
Nations Trust Bank Plc (NTB) top salesmen are not only
rewarded, but they also have tea with the CEO, a
motivating factor that the bank has found out which
sometimes is as great as the cash reward-NTB HR Head C.
Hewapattini speaking at a seminar in Colombo on Tuesday.
best companies now know, without a doubt, where
productivity-real and limitless productivity-comes from.
It comes from challenged, empowered, excited, rewarded
teams of people. It comes from engaging every single
mind in the organisation, making everyone to have a
voice-a role-in the success of the enterprise. Doing so
raises productivity not incrementally, but by
multiplies-Former GE Chairman Jack Welch, as retold by
Nations Trust Bank Plc HR Head C. Hewapattini at a
seminar in Colombo on Tuesday.
$ 17 mn. for two Ceylinco cos.
Dutch investor is interested in taking over two troubled
Ceylinco Group of Companies, reporters were told on
G.Sivajothi, Director ISL Investments, a promoter of
this transaction said that the investment looked at was
US$ eight million for TFC Homes which has Rs. 1.2
billion worth of real estate stock in its portfolio and
US$ 10 million in Ceylinco Building Society (CBS) which
has a real estate portfolio of US$ seven million and a
loan portfolio, mainly housing, of Rs. 11.2 billion.
CBS also has a deposit base of Rs. 1.8 billion.
expected these deals which will give the investor 100%
control in each of these companies to be wrapped-up in
the next 4-6 months.
event this fails, they have other investors to turn to,
the promoters said.
To AGN Board
Abeyratna of Abeyratna & Co-Chartered Accountants, was
appointed to the Board of AGN International Ltd., UK at
its meeting in Paris recently.
also appointed West Asia & Africa chairman at the
regional meeting held in Syria in November 2008.
a worldwide association of separate and independent
accounting and consulting firms. Each AGN member
operates under its own local, national name.
represented in over 90 countries and has over 500
worldwide offices. It's ranked sixth worldwide in
International Accounting Association's, on fee basis.
Broadband Networks launched SmartHome, an all-in-one
communication solution for households. SmartHome is a
simple and cost effective communication solution that
integrates voice, broadband internet and email into a
single package.SmartHome is a convergence of technology
and offers a multitude of benefits for the domestic
internet and fixed voice-line user. The ability to
connect a fax line to the SmartHome system is another
advantage of this communication solution. SmartHome
gives the customer a single bill for total voice,
broadband internet and email services, and this comes in
addition to the cost benefits offered through the
SmartHome connection. Dialog Fixed-Telephony and
Broadband Services Chief Operating Officer Suren
Goonewardene aired his views in this regard.
Rs. 5.6 mn. For soldiers
Mobitel recently handed over a cheque worth Rs.3.9
million contributed by its subscribers, to the
‘ApiWenuwenApi’ Housing Project undertaken by the
Defence Ministry, taking the subscribers’ total
contribution to the fund up to Rs.5.6 million to date.
Associated at this event were Defence Secretary
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka Telecom Mobitel
Chairperson Mrs. Leisha De Silva Chandrasena, Mobitel
CEO Suren J. Amarasekera,Senior General Manager Sales
and Distribution Chandika Vitharana and General Manager
Marketing Roshan Kaluarachchi.
MillenniumIT (MIT), a system integration company became
the first partner in Sri Lanka to obtain both the Cisco
Advanced Unified Communications (UC) and Cisco Advanced
Security Certifications (SC) recently.
has over 30 dedicated Cisco certified engineers and
Routing and Switching and Unified Communications labs
Advanced UC and SC are Cisco programmes on Internet
networking equipment and network management to
acknowledge the partner’s investment in gaining the
necessary expertise in selling, designing, installing,
and supporting integrated advanced technology solutions.
focuses on IP Communications market opportunities that
require advanced product knowledge and the ability to
deploy solutions over multiple sites and geographies.
focus of the SC specialization is on developing sales,
technical, and services capabilities that distinguish
channel partners by providing integrated, collaborative,
and adaptive security solutions.
Networking Business Head Gladwyn Georgesz and Cisco
India & SAARC Vice President Sales (Sri Lanka region)
Rajkumar Natarajan also made their comments in regard to
Nawaloka Hospital PLC Chairman Deshamanya H.K.Dharmadasa
recently opened their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
in their new state-of the-art hospital complex in the
presence of consultant paediatricians, obstetricians and
NICU we have 12 equipped beds with ventilator facilities
and a one to one nurse to bed ratio,” said Nawaloka
Hospitals Director/General Manager Professor Lal
Counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes have been on the
rise in 2009 with over Rs. 500 million worth of
cigarettes being confiscated by the authorities during
the first quarter of 2009 Ceylon Tobacco Company in a
company in the period under review made a profit after
tax of Rs. 493 million, a 39% year on year increase,
whilst contributing Rs.11.4 billion to Government
Air travel hit
premium travel declined by 16.7% in January and 21.1% in
reports IATA, noting an extra day in February 2008.
number of economy class passengers fell 8.3% in
February, following a 4.7% fall in January.
March, total global passenger demand fell to 11.1% below
March 2008 levels;
freight demand was down 21.4%. DOT reports U.S. airlines
carried 10.9% fewer system passengers (51.5 million) in
January, year-on-year; with 11.5% fewer domestic and
7.2% fewer international passengers, and average load
factors of 73%.
carriers operated 769,500 flights, down 11.2%; domestic
down 11.6%, international down 7.5%. ATA reports that
U.S. airline passenger volumes fell 10% in March,
compared to a year ago, with passenger revenue down 23%
as carriers cut fares by 13% in an effort to spur
demand; cargo traffic declined 21% year over year both
in January and February. (Washington Aviation Summary)
Emirates Holidays’2009-2010 brochure of nearly 500 pages
covers over 120 worldwide destinations.
first guide book on Sri Lanka to be published in
Russian, ‘Guide to Birds of Sri Lanka’ was launched at
the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB), Colombo
Representing the publishers, JMT Travels Tour Operators
Managing Director Natalia Chelnokova presented the first
copy to SLTPB Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke.
122 page book contains 120 colourful pictures of various
bird species identified by their scientific names.
book intended to facilitate Russian visitors interested
diversity of destination Sri Lanka’s tourism offers,
will also be exhibited in Russia in schools and
publication in Russian on the National Parks of Sri
Lanka is due to be released shortly.
Lanka Ceramics Council (SLCC) is pleased that the
Government, having considered the implications of the
recently introduced excise duty on LPG has removed it
with effect from March 26 2009, SLCC in a press release
Council also notes with appreciation the speed with
which the decision has been implemented by Finance
indicates the Government’s responsiveness to factors
affecting the competitiveness of particularly export
industries. “This move will also help the endeavours of
our member companies to focus on one of their main
objectives during this crisis period; that of making
efforts whereever possible to retain its current labour
College ‘A’ team emerged winners of Sri Lankan
Masterminds 2009, while Soft Tec, Seylan Bank and
Commercial Bank ‘A’ team were close behind at the Sri
Lanka Masterminds competition that was held recently.
30 teams, representing the corporate sector and schools
participated at this event. as well.
event was sponsored by DFCC Vardhana Bank.
Passes Rs. 1 bn.
Takaful Insurance (ATI) recorded its first year of
premium income above Rs one billion in 2008, together
with improvement to the bottom line, by reducing its
operating losses by 65.7%, in its 10th year of
operations in Sri Lanka.
Chairman Tyeab Akbarally and Director/Chief Executive
Officer Ehsan Zaheed made their comments in this regard.
Tea export prices down 10%
export prices in February 2009 declined by 9.6% year on
year (YoY) to US$ 3.46 a kilo, while its Colombo Tea
Auction price in February 2009 declined by 16.4% YoY
to US$ 2.54 a kg.
Meanwhile rubber export prices in February 2009 declined
by 42.1% YoY to US$ 1.46 a kg., while coconut export
prices in February 2009 declined by 26.4% YoY to US$
0.14 a nut.