Ceylon Chamber of
urges constitutional reform
The Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce (CCC) has called for the introduction of a process of
judicial review of legislation into the constitution of Sri Lanka. It
said this should be in keeping with the current trends of
constitutional making of progressive developing countries.
The chamber has informed the
government and President Chandrika Kumaratunga that in introducing
such provisions for reform, constitutional reform proposals should be
published in the form of a white paper. This would give interested
parties the opportunity of participating through written submissions
or other means. "That the process is put in place as a matter of
priority is underscored in consideration of the imminent need to
restore the rule of law in this country and reinstate a system of
constitutional governance," the CCC said.
Earlier, the CCC in its paper
"Strategies for Growth
Leveraging the Private Sector" proposed that the Government as a
part of its policy on constitutional reform make provision for the
judicial review of legislation in order to ensure the consistency of
all laws with the constitution notwithstanding the earlier enactment
of such laws. The recent submission was made with the objective of
restoring a system of constitutional governance in Sri Lanka and
ensuring the supremacy of the constitution over ordinary legislation.
The Government was reminded that the need to establish the mechanism
of judicial review of legislation has been well articulated to
successive governments by eminent commentators, legal scholars and
civil society organisations and by itself is neither a new nor
The rationale behind judicial
review of legislation is one rooted in the principle of the supremacy
of the constitution. In a country which possesses a written
constitution, the supremacy of the constitution at its simplest means
that while a democratically elected government rules by the force of
compulsory law, it cannot exceed its own power and is subject to a
higher order, a supreme law which both sets out the extent and the
limits on the exercise of power by the organs of government. It is an
integral part of the essential guarantee of the higher legal order
established by the Constitution that the institutions of governance,
themselves creatures of the constitution and whose powers are
determined and limited by the constitution do not exercise those
powers so as to ultimately confer upon themselves a power greater than
It is not only the presence
of Article 16 of the constitution that undermines the supremacy of the
constitution. Laws can only be challenged on constitutional grounds in
the pre-enactment stage and it is constitutionally provided that no
review is permitted on any ground once such legislation has been duly
passed by Parliament. Citizens can only challenge an ordinary bill
before the Supreme Court within one week of the Bill being placed on
the Order Paper of Parliament and in the case of urgent bills within
24 hours. The emphasis on pragmatic considerations of time and
legislative efficiency rather than on the principle of the supremacy
of the constitution places the legislature in the unsatisfactory
position where the risk or temptation of making laws which may be
deemed unconstitutional remains dangerously open. It is this
ambiguity, the eccentric and often exploited manifestation of a
tension between two opposing principles, one of the supremacy of
Parliament, and the other, the supremacy of the constitution, that has
allowed the weaknesses inherent in the present constitution to be
exploited by successive government and individuals eager to extend
their powers in contravention of the supreme law of the land.
The proposals of the draft
constitution of 2000 concerning judicial review of legislation
resolves this ambiguity to a limited extent in terms of extended time
periods, within which a citizen may challenge a bill before the
Supreme Court and provision for the judicial review of legislation
within two years of the enactment of an Act. However, similar to the
present constitution, the draft constitution retains a clause
validating all existing laws notwithstanding their inconsistency with
the provisions of the proposed fundamental rights chapter of the draft
constitution. While there is provision for the establishment of a
commission to examine all existing written or unwritten law with an
obligation to report to the President as to the inconsistency of any
such laws with the fundamental rights provisions of the (draft)
constitution, it is unclear as to what steps Parliament, before which
the report must be ultimately placed, is obliged to take.
The CCC said, it is of
absolute necessity, if the terms constitutional democracy and the rule
of law are to mean much in our society, that the supremacy of the
constitution is upheld and that not only the institutions of
Government are obliged to obey the fundamental provisions and
principles of the constitution but that the courts are vested with the
power of judicial review, to invalidate laws that are inconsistent
with the constitution. The latter proposition assumes an even greater
significance when examined from the perspective of the citizen; it is
access to the courts, itself a basic postulate of the rule of law,
that guarantees and protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of
citizens against denial or infringement by any of the institutions of
government including the legislature.
Enjoining order vacated
Harcourts (Pvt) Limited
recently succeeded in moving the Commercial High Court of Colombo to
vacate an enjoining order filed by Dr. Reddy's Laboratories -
Hyderabad against than marketing of GLA-100 imported from Australia
and marketed by Harcourts.
Harcourts was the first
company to introduce GLA in Sri Lanka. However, Dr. Reddy's
Laboratories, presently the owners of American Remedies which
manufactured GLA-100 on a contract basis for Harcourts have also
introduced GAL-120 to Sri Lanka.
In this case, the instructing
attorneys were M/s Samararatne Associates of Colombo and the counsel
for Harcourt's were Faiszer Mustapha and his junior Roshan
Hettiarachchi. Dinal Phillips and junior counsel Nishantha Sirimanne
appeared for the plaintiff. The case has been put off for March 8,
Death of Aslam Malik
Muhammad Aslam Malik, a
prominent Pakistani businessman and founder of Malik News agency died
of a heart attack last week. He was 77.
Aslam Malik was a self-made
man. He came to Dubai and joined the customs department. After a few
years he decided to do his own business and started importing
magazines and newspapers nearly thirty years ago. Due to his hard
work, Malik News Agency became a household name with all readers of
Asian publications. Malik News Agency have been importing magazines
and newspapers from Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka,
Bangladesh and Philippines. Apart from other outlets Malik News Agency
has its own branches in various emirates of UAE.
DPMC to market MRF tyres in
David Pieris Motor Company (DPMC)
last week launched the Indian MRF two wheeler and three wheeler tyres
at a function at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo.
This is the first time that
DPMC is marketing imported tyres in Sri Lanka. The new Bajaj three
wheelers are fitted with MRF tyres and now customers get the
opportunity of buying MRF tyres for the subsequent replacements as
well. A David Pieris Motor Company Ltd. spokesman said that
competitive prices, coupled with distinctly higher mileage, safety and
comfort they offer, give the MRF two wheeler and three wheeler tyres a
leading edge over competitors in the local market. MRF Ltd., India's
largest tyre company is a multi plant operation and produces world
class products in six manufacturing units.
It has today acquired global
recognition with a premium range of tyres that meet quality standards
across the world.
MRF's position of leadership
has been achieved through its commitment to quality, which has been
accepted in India and the 75 countries to which the products are
Introductory offer by Asha
Asha Central Hospitals Ltd.
last week obtained a listing on the second board of the Colombo Stock
Exchange. The company is offering 2 million shares at Rs. 13 each (par
value of Rs. 10).
Chairman, Asha Hospitals, Dr.
Neville Fernando said the objectives behind this move were to make the
share marketable and broadbase the shareholding to include the public
with the aim of going for an IPO in the future. He said they intend
going for an IPO to upgrade the facilities of the hospital and
The shares on offer comprise
10% of the stake held by Euroam Management Services (Pvt) Ltd., which
has a 92.2% stakeholding.
Asha Hospital is expecting to
achieve a turnover of Rs. 330 million and a net profit of Rs. 33.9
million for the current financial year ending March 31, 2002. This BOI
- approved company recorded a turnover of around Rs. 290 million last
Dr. Fernando expects a good
response for the introductory offer, considering the greater interest
in the share market and the optimism that has been generated due to
the ceasefire between the government and LTTE.
Asha Hospital has been
providing private medical care since 1945, offering a comprehensive
range of modern facilities including those for all surgical
operations, maternity, neurosurgery and eye surgery. A
state-of-the-art laboratory for investigation, spiral CT scanner,
gastroendoscopic and colonoscopic systems and laproscopes for
diagnosis and pinhole surgery are also included. The hospital also
comprises a fully. equipped intensive care unit, a special psychiatric
ward and a bed strength of 100. It has 17 full-time medical officers
and 220 consultants engaged in channeling practice.
Fernando described the
turnaround of the company as a story in management success and a good
case study. He said that when he took over as chairman in March 1998,
the losses carried forward amounted to Rs. 158 million. Thereafter,
they obtained a capital reduction under the Companies Act by going
before the District court of Colombo, and have been recording profits
BOI signs 12 agreements in
The BOI has signed 12
agreements during the month of January 2002, amounting to an estimated
total investment of Rs. 1055 mn of which Rs. 780 Mn. consists of
foreign investment and the projected employment is around 1900.
In the apparel sector, growth
and dominance still prevail with an agreement signed by Sirio (Pvt)
Ltd. With an investment of Rs. 521 mn. and employing 1200 people, this
BOI venture will establish a project to manufacture nonquota garments
for the export market. Dott Oandro Veronesi, the president of
Calzedonia Luxembourg opened 3 years ago its first factory Omega line
Ltd., a state-of-the-art factory at Sandalankawa. Dott Veronesi
decided to open another factory to expand their presence in Sri Lanka.
The parent company of Sirio Ltd will sell their products through a
network of over 1250 shops in Europe. They also have their own labels
namely "Intimissimi" for underwear and "Calzedonia"
Colombo Copper (Pvt) Ltd has
signed an agreement to set up a project to manufacture copper wire
rods in coil forms and stripes for the export market. This project
falls under the light engineering industry category and the main
collaborators of this project are from the USA and India. The total
investment of this project is estimated at Rs. 126 mn with an
employment capacity of 100.
Allied Metals (Pvt) Ltd will
establish a project to manufacturer aluminium alloy ingots and
automobile components for the export market. The investment of this
project to be located at Horana Export Processing Zone is Rs. 126 mn
while its employment potential is at 30. The main collaborators of
this project are from India.
Lanka Timber Plantations and
Industries Ltd, has signed an agreement to set up a project to
manufacture wooden furniture for the export market investing Rs. 110
mn and employing 185 local personnel. This new project is a joint
venture between Woodman Export (Pvt) Ltd., Tri Star (Pvt) Ltd and the
State Timber Corporation. The BOI concessions have been granted to
this new project, which is restructured by collaboration with an
existing BOI company.
Mogami Lanka (Pvt) Ltd is a
Japanese investment which will establish a project to manufacture and
assemble electrical goods and allied product for the export and
domestic market. This project will be established at Bandaragama
investing Rs. 39 mn and creating 20 jobs.
Vatters Garden (Pvt) Ltd has
signed an agreement to set up a 24 roomed tourist hotel at Matara.
Total investment of this German project is estimated at Rs. 22 mn with
an employment capacity of 41.
Agriforce (Pvt Ltd, will
establish a project to cultivate perennial crops such as mango,
cashew, rambutan, avocado, cocoa and pepper in a 125 hectares land in
Kurunegala district. The estimated local investment of this project
is around Rs. 30.4 mn and employment generation will be around
Copier Company (Pvt) Ltd, has
signed an agreement to set up a company for refurbishing imported used
photocopiers, laminating machines, paper shredders and accessories for
re-export. The main collaborators of this project are from Australia
and India. This project will generate 102 new employment opportunities
while investing a total of Rs. 20 mn.
In the IT sector, two
companies Mackwoods IT (Pvt) Ltd and Spectrum Traning Centre (Pvt) Ltd
have signed agreements with investment totaling Rs. 16.6 mn and will
provide 67 job opportunities. Mackwoods IT (Pvt) Ltd will establish a
project to develop software for export. Spectrum Training Centre will set up an information
technology-training institute to provide an education and do research
on Bluetooth Technology and Bio-Informatics in computer science,
computer programming and programming languages.
Omega Tapes (Pvt) Ltd has
signed to set up a project to manufacture adhesive and other tapes for
direct and indirect exporters with an investment of Rs. 34.5 mn
generating 34 jobs.
Jinasena Industrial Appliance
(Pvt) Ltd has signed an agreement to manufacture and assemble
industrial and domestic appliances and components such as electric
motors, motor parts, water pumps and accessories for the export market
investing Rs. 12.5 mn and employing 57 local personnel.
The BOI web site
www.boisrilanka.org will carry details of approvals given in the last
nine months as well as a comprehensive database with search
capabilities for details on BOI companies under commercial operation.
international trade fair
The National Chamber of
Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) in collaboration with Huejay
International have organised Sri Lankan exporter participation at the
International Trade Fair/Global Village in Dubai from March 1 to 31.
Several Sri Lankan exporters
particularly small and medium exporters have been given the
opportunity to market their products at this shopping festival in
which 45 countries would be taking part. This festival is expected to
attract approximately two million people this year. More than 60 Sri
Lankan companies will participate in this event which includes over 30
members of NCE.
This Dubai Shopping
Festival/Global Village will be a unique platform for Sri Lankan
exporters and service providers to arrange exposure of their products
and services thus enabling them to penetrate into global markets
Should we emulate the
The success of many of the
economies in East Asia in achieving rapid and equitable growth have
occupied our leaders since the study of developing economies began in
earnest in the hope of identifying a formula that their economies
could implement to emulate the East Asian economic development
experience. However, consequent to the economic meltdown in the 1990s
in Asia, analysts began to say that East Asia's extraordinary growth
was only a fluke and that there was nothing exceptional about East
Asia. But, to their astonishment, East Asia miraculously recovered
from near terminal economic sickness.
This issue is now baffling
many western economists as they desperately try to interpret the
factors that helped the Asian recovery in a very confused world scene.
However, those who understand the limited relevance of economic theory
to the prosperity and wealth of nations will not be surprised by
Asia's swift recovery.
Today, prosperity and
confidence are plainly returning to most of the Asian nations. It
seems even for a giant like Japan the outlook does not look that
pessimistic, despite the fact that the recovery mood in Asia may not
go very deep as yet. The Asian Tigers may be upbeat with the turn of
events, but many of these economies still have huge overcapacity and
limited bank credit, but it seems the examples shown by South Korea
and Japan, where at every level of society people have been prepared
to accept pay cuts in order to get back on track, demonstrates that
the most important point of development are the inner qualities and
resilience of a society and its citizens.
The economies in East Asia
that grew rapidly in the '80s and early '90s used the same policy
instruments as other developing economies, but with a greater success.
Economists however conclude by saying that East Asia's extraordinary
growth was due to superior accumulation of physical and human capital
and that these economies were also better able than most to allocate
physical and human resources to highly productive investment.
In this sense there was
nothing miraculous about these East Asian economies' success - each
have performed the essential functions of growth better than most
other economies. This indicates that sound economic policies and well
ordered markets help, but much more is also required.
internationalisation of competition in the 1990s has been accomplished
by major shifts in the economic fortunes of nations. Governments and
firms have inevitably been drawn into a heated debate about what to
do. Due to our consistent failure to adopt a development model to suit
Sri Lanka's physical and human resources, much discussion over the
last 20 years has been centered around the eight economies in East
Asia. Interestingly, the two common factors that helped East Asia to
grow faster than any other region of the world has been the
"national environment" and a strong government.
Singapore's boom was
identified with just one person; Lee Kuan Yew. Kuan in his farewell
speech to his party just before he relinquished office said "Your
generation has to grapple with the problems of relative success, with
a future no longer primarily concerned with overcoming poverty,
ignorance, disease, and unemployment. That the baton has been passed
on to a vigorous group with high ideals and principles is the most
important single achievement in the last 10 years." Realistically
speaking, the crux of the difference between "success" and
"failure" lies in the basic philosophy. If the basic
philosophy is wrong, then however strong, determined and able party
leaders and members can be, the end result will still be defeat and
disaster, as has happened in the communist countries.
On the other hand, is
socialism as flawed as communism? The reality is, communists often
call themselves socialists and confuse everyone. So whether socialism
is flawed depends on how we define socialism. If by socialism we mean
state control of all the factors of production, then socialism will no
doubt fail like communism. But if by socialism we mean a philosophy
which tries to equalise opportunities in each generation, after
inequalities have resulted because of different endowments and efforts
in a previous generation - that of their parents, then such socialism
need not fail. However, if in the name of socialism, redistribution of
wealth goes too far, it will stifle motivation to compete and do one's
best. Then socialism will cause failure.
The Singapore government
improved the lives of people by increasing the equality of
opportunities. This was done by making health, education, housing,
jobs more easily accessible to all. Had the government attempted a
policy as equality of rewards which was what many countries attempted,
they would have failed. Equality of rewards would have met the
"iron rice bowl". This must mean minimal effort by everyone
and low productivity all around, resulting in poverty. Many people in
Singapore complain that whilst income and bonuses have increased and
taxes have been reduced, the government at the same time has increased
medical charges, university fees, road fares, fines and foreign mail
The government explanation
has been that, with each year's wage increases, labour costs increase.
So, health services, university fees and cost of services go up.
According to government sources they have two options; increase taxes
and pay for these increased labour costs. But by increasing taxes and
paying for the increased subsidies, the end result would slow down the
economy and become uncompetitive in the world market, or the best way
to get money's worth for goods or services - to give the consumer the
money and let them choose what and where to buy it.
In fact, in the '80s the
absence of subsidies made Hong Kong's economy more efficient than
Singapore. As Lee Kuan Yew says, "whenever we can, we give money
to people either in reduced taxes or through vouchers like the
education vouchers for independent schools. Let people choose where to
The schools in Singapore have
to compete for students by offering the best education, for that
education voucher. It is obvious that the balance, government and
people must strike is a practical one, a question of judgement.
Furthermore, the ideal balance will vary from time to time, and from
situation to situation.
Lee Kuan Yew suggests that
"we must do enough to improve social cohesion and national unity;
winners must be well rewarded but non-winners must also share in the
gains, though not to the same extent." It is very much like a
tennis or swimming tournament. If a few top winners take all and there
are a few consolation prizes for other participants, then those who
are unlikely to win the top prizes will automatically give up coming
to the tournament to participate.
This illustration pinpoints
the need to maintain a balance between competition and cooperation.
Singapore would not have achieved the best her people are capable of
without cooperation. Singapore would have lacked the social cohesion
and national unity without which the society would have been
vulnerable and ineffective as a nation.
The reality is, there is a
price for every policy option. For example, those who recommend that
Singapore reduce the stress in education by reducing the importance of
examinations, forget that whilst a stress free education system leads
to a relaxed society, it also leads to a low achieving society; i.e.
low growth economy. Societies that have stress free schools and
universities have intractable economic problems simply because their
workers are not productive. They cannot compete with the Japanese or
the Koreans or the Taiwanese. As Lee Kuan Yew says "It is up to
you to decide whether you want to stay on track in pursuit of
excellence, or to go for a more relaxed system, which means accepting
lower standards of achievement and less rewards."
Prosperity and confidence has
very clearly returned to Singapore and it seems that the deeper values
were the ones that have helped Singapore and most other Asian nations
to get back on track. The learning of the last economic crisis is that
the Asia Tigers have now mastered the essential qualities needed to
sustain growth and would as a result become one of the most advanced
nations in this millennium. It also shows that normally prudent,
ordinary calculations can be overturned by extraordinary personalities
like Lee Kuan Yew, the father of Singapore, who demonstrated this in
the '80s and '90s by moving Singapore from a Third World country to a
eBXL and Golden Key in
E-Business Exchange Lanka
(Private) Ltd., the information technology and communications
solutions arm of KPMG Ford, Rhodes, Thornton & Co., involved in
providing IT solutions in e-outsourcing, e-integration and e-business
services, and The Golden Key Co. Ltd., which took over the rights to
market and support IMAS Corporate Software worldwide - a comprehensive
software package developed by IBM, entered into a strategic
According to Manager,
Information Systems, eBXL, M. Ismail, IMAS Corporate Software was
selected as the application software for ASP assistance, due to its
cost-effective reliability, backed by a skilled technical division to
e-BXL offers an impressive
product and service range including solutions in ASP assistance, bank
office solutions, implementation, information technology solutions and
consulting and e-commerce applications to any trade or industry,
mainly targeting integrated financials, Supply Chain Management (SCM)
and Customer Relationships Management (CRM). eBXL is dedicated to
identify business needs, related control environment and implement
total IT solutions for their clients.
The Golden Key Co Ltd, has
already committed a substantial investment to develop and expand the
scope of IMAS. This is expected to lead to providing fast, flexible
and state of the art corporate software.
Golden Key Co. Ltd.,
President, Suramya Karunaratne says that the company will focus
strongly on customer needs and by working in synergy with business
partners, ensure that it lives up to the promises made. The company's
commitment to its business partners further extends to marketing and
promotional efforts as well. The setting up of IMAS Support Centres in
key geographic locations is also on the cards.
Ceylinco Life clears Rs 2
Ceylinco Life has become the
first private sector life insurer in Sri Lanka to cross the Rs. 2
billion threshold in life premium income, ending 2001 with the
achievement of what the company has designated a "Decade of
Releasing details of its
performance for the year, the company said premium income had grown a
healthy 30 per cent to Rs. 2.157 billion, enabling Ceylinco Life to
remain the unchallenged leader among private sector insurers,
outperforming its closest rival by nearly Rs. 500 million.
This record-breaking feat
also enabled Ceylinco Insurance to reach Rs. 4 billion in its total
insurance portfolio, which includes the General Division's premium
income, the company said.
The company's Life Fund grew
by a massive Rs. 1.5 billion in the year under review, and stood at Rs.
5.2 billion on December 31, 2001, recording an increase of more than
40 per cent. This is the biggest Life fund in Sri Lanka's private
Maturity benefits and advance
payments during the year amounted to Rs. 261 million, while a total of
Rs. 53 million was paid out in claims. Ceylinco Life also disbursed Rs.
292 million as bonuses to policyholders in the final quarter of the
year on the basis of the company's performance in 2000.
New products introduced
included the Ceylinco Investment Plan, a short term investment product
with in-built life cover, "Ahinsa" a comprehensive
protection scheme for women and Ceylinco Major Medical 500, a
revolutionary benefit that covers policyholders against 500 types of
surgery -the only medical benefit of its kind in Sri Lanka to date.
One of the biggest highlights
of the year, the company's Marketing Manager Ravi Liyanage said, was
the launch of the Ceylinco Pranama Scholarship scheme to reward
academic performance and achievements in other fields by children of
policyholders. The company made an initial allocation of Rs. 16
million to award four categories of scholarships.
Ceylinco Life also
commissioned a state-of-the-art Cancer Detection Centre through the
company's subsidiary, Ceylinco Healthcare Services Ltd. (CHSL). This
centre is affiliated to the Washington Cancer Institute, one of the
most reputed organisations in the world in the field of cancer and
treatment. The centre is part of a major initiative to promote the
prevention of cancer through screening and education, and will also
specialise in risk management and cancer education, he said.
Attributing Ceylinco Life's
success to the high standard of professionalism of its staff,
Director/GM, R. Renganathan explained that this has been achieved
through diligent training, incentives and encouragement, and through a
commitment to harness all the benefits that developments in
information technology have to offer. In May 2001, the company
launched "e-future," a pioneering project to promote the use
of IT among its sales force by providing regional sales managers and
sales executives with laptop computers and mobile phones, creating an
electronically assisted sales force.
Employees Trust Fund and
public enterprise reform
The lead editorial of a
prominent newspaper in late 2000 carried the headline "Why is
South Asia stagnant?" And raises the question "Why has long
term growth not taken place in Sri Lanka?" In many ways the
answer to the question lies in developing a new work ethic not second
to the Asian Tigers of the last two decades of the 20 century. The
editorial also spoke of good governance, good institutions, openness,
and human capital development.
What transpires soon after
was one where government spending which was aimed at securing its
political popularity, resulting in not only the depletion of the
resources in the Treasury but running huge expenditure from other
funds and borrowings including the EPF and ETF, instead of the much
wanted efficient macro economic management and encouragement of
prudence and economy.
The Employees Trust Fund
which is one of the premier employees funds in the country was started
in the early eighties with a view to not only providing terminal
benefits to retiring corporation and private sector employees but also
to motivate employees to participate in management of enterprises
through equity participation and reap other benefits while being a
member of the fund.
These objectives have not
been realised as yet due to weak communications with the target
beneficiary - employees of firms, resulting in poor member buy in. The
collection from most of the employers is concentrated in the Colombo
District with over 75% of the potential annual collection of 3 and 4
billion. The board, leave alone improving the awareness of its
existing benefits such as permanent disability insurance cover,
financial assistance for heart surgery, Intro ocular lens transplants,
year five scholarships for members children and hospital medical
insurance (Shramasuwa Rekewarana), has not been able to update
employer records and hopelessly behind time in processing member claim
payments. Though the standards set for processing a claim is four
weeks, this has not been achieved so far.
When one raises the question
"why" the finger is pointed at the dysfunctional computer
system which still runs on an AS400 environment. The software
developed by a vendor with Indian collaboration, runs on a db2
platform using ILE RPG language. For whatever its worth neither the
then head of IT nor the vendor nor the management team has been able
to put right the various flaws which still seem to trouble the
efficiency of the board's operation.
The author also recalls
reading in late 2000 the document put out by the Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce addressed to the president. In it the chamber had mooted the
idea of a private pension, provident and gratuity fund. This is the
level playing field every one of the employers want.
Therefore any delay in
getting the ETF back on its feet will mean the demise of the public
enterprise led Employees Benefit Fund. The new chairman on his
assumption of duties has set in motion a series of initiatives which
we hope will make the ETF customer friendly and will deliver the goods
within these critical 100 days and beyond.
The new management has called
in expert advice and intervention from a leading IT consultancy firm
to redress the "The computer system is not working"
syndrome. In the meantime many initiatives have been developed.
On life registration of
employers which is bound to be operational during March 2002 would be
a boon to many firms in particular. The board is also making headway
in collaboration with a
leading bank to facilitate payment of ETF member dues through the
bank's network, with the possibility of accessing the bank through the
employers computer system if they are banking with the partnering
bank. This arrangement will save a large slice of the time spent in
remittances and form filling.
The ETF's website will be
launched on March 1, which will signal the opening of its portals to
access member and firm's information relating to their account and
verification of balances. It is also targeted to post daily balances
of members on the internet. The customer service hotline will be
henceforth fast and frequent feedback on the efficiency or short falls
would be welcome from the public. Customer services would be handled
by a dedicated member of the staff who will be able to process all
inquiries during most of the day. Customers will also be able to
address their queries on e-mail, which too will be available by the
The new management has also
launched a review of the investment portfolio so as to deploy more
funds into the stock market and in commercial papers, while
professional fund managers will be enlisted to manage at least 6-8% of
the available funds to increase the return on the board's investments.
The management is also looking at new products like unemployment pay
and low cost housing in an attempt to make the ETF more value adding
to its members.
People development is
paramount to securing higher performance and continuous improvement in
time saved, cost reduced, less material used, and greater collection
achieved. This is possible only when the employer invests in his
employees. The new chairman intends to extend staff development to
areas such as quality and work improvement through innovation. With a
view to this end the ETF has commenced a Five "S" programme
starting February 23 and
intends to progress towards securing ISO 9000 certification for its
services to customers.
Rs. 110 million for promotion
of Ceylon Tea
overseas in 2002
Sri Lanka Tea Board (SLTB)
has allocated over Rs. 110 million for Ceylon tea promotional work
abroad during the year 2002. The Tea Board promotional work is
conducted under three main categories i.e. trade fair participation,
uni-national promotion of Ceylon tea and brand promotion.
Under trade fair
participation, SLTB together with some selected tea exporting
companies will participate at 20 international food & beverage
fairs in 2002. A sum of Rs. 20 million has been allocated for this
purpose. Media advertising such as TV, radio and newspaper, and
outdoor advertising are conducted to promote Ceylon tea in selected
markets under the uni-national promotion for which a budget of Rs. 25
million has been allocated.
Tea Board has granted Rs. 65
million to tea exporters for 35 brand promotion projects covering
around 25 Ceylon tea brands in international markets in year 2002. The
Ceylon tea brands identified with the lion logo have been selected for
promotional assistance by the Tea Board. Out of this amount Rs. 6
million has been allocated for promotion of Ceylon tea brands in India
under the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement. The financial grants given
to tea exporters to India also cover market research in India.
In selection of brand
promotion projects, Tea Board has given priority for high valued
speciality tea products, tea bags and other prepackage brands. Pure
Ceylon tea brands owned by Sri Lankan companies were placed above tea
brands jointly owned by the exporters and importers. The brands fully
owned by the Sri Lankan companies are funded by the board on 50:50
basis while the other projects are funded either on 1/3 rd basis or
25:75 basis depending on the priority product and market categories.
The prominent Ceylon tea
brands such as Dilmah, Imperial, Batik, Mlesna, Akbar, Heladiv,
Alwazah, Al Gazalean, Layalina and Mabroc were the main beneficiaries
of the SLTB brand promotion scheme. The projects have been approved in
respect of Russian, Poland, Central Asia, UK, Middle East and some new
markets in South East Asia.
Sri Lanka exported 97 million
kgs of tea packets and 13 million kgs of tea bags in 2001. The value
added tea exports account for 40% of the total tea exports in 2001,
compared to 34% in 2000. It is believed that SLTB promotional grants
will help exporters to further increase the volume of value added tea
exports from Sri Lanka.
The trade fairs selected by
the Tea Board are considered as most important and popular food and
beverage fairs in the world. It is interesting to note that new and
virgin markets in Far East Asia i.e. South Korea, China, Malaysia, and
Singapore have been identified as potential markets for value added
Ceylon tea in the coming years. The board is also participating at
fairs in Latvia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to help exporters to
consolidate the position of Ceylon tea in these potential markets.
Tea Board will sponsor around
70-75 Sri Lankan tea exporting companies to participate at the Ceylon
Tea Pavilions at these fairs. Only exporters of pure Ceylon tea brands
which are identified with the Ceylon Tea "Lion Logo" will be
selected for participation under the Tea Board sponsorship. As per the
Tea Board sponsorship package, 50% of the stand rental and
construction charges are paid by the board while the other expenses
are to be borne by the selected tea exporting company. In addition to
the financial support, Tea Board also helps the tea exporting
companies with other logistics such as to obtain visas, reserve hotel
accommodation and also dispatch of exhibits etc.
Sri Lanka exported 294
million kgs of tea in 2001 and maintained her position as the largest
exporter of tea in the world. About 40% of this volume was in value
added form. The country earned Rs. 61 billion from the tea exports,
about 15% increase over the earnings of the previous year. SLTB participation at international fairs
has brought some positive results and Sri Lanka has been able to find
new markets for Ceylon tea in South Korea, China, Malaysia, Latvia,
Moldova while consolidating strengths in target markets such as
Russia/CIS, Middle East, USA, Japan, Poland etc.
The Board also conducts
seminars, workshops and tasting sessions at these trade fairs to
educate trade members and consumers about Ceylon Tea. SLTB has already
participated at the International Spring Fair in Dubai and Prodexpo
fair in Moscow. The tea companies who participated at the two trade
fairs have received a number of inquiries for supply of tea from Sri
Lanka. It is now making arrangements for its participation at Foodex,
Japan to be held in Tokyo from 12-15 March, which will coincide with
the 50th anniversary celebration of Sri Lanka and Japan diplomatic
relations. A group about 10 Sri Lankan tea companies together with the
Tea Board will represent the "Ceylon Tea" sector at Foodex
People's Leasing -
institute under Indian Line of Credit
Under the credit agreement
entered into between the government of India and government of Sri
Lanka, a participation credit agreement for Indian Line of Credit (ILOC)
for the import of Ashok Leyland trucks were entered into by People's
Leasing Company as a Participating Credit Institute (PCI), recently.
People's Leasing Company now popularly known as PLC, was incorporated
on 22nd August 1995, as a private limited liability company and
commenced commercial operations in May 1996.
PLC is a specialised and
dedicated leasing company and the initial objective of forming the
company was to act as a facilitator to the parent company, the
People's Bank, by way of extending lease facilities to their customers
as well as for implementing the Indian Line of Credit for omni-buses.
The company changed its corporate status to a public company on 15th
November 2000 and re-launched its logo and entire outlook has been
changed with many new marketing and operational strategies in order to
break into the competitive market.
PLC now has an island-wide
network of eight branches covering key towns. Among the 42 specialised
leasing/finance companies registered and operating in Sri Lanka, PLC
presently stands at No. 3, beating long established giants in the
PLC is presently leading in
the transport sector. Now it has diversified its operations in many
other spheres. "In 1996, under India Line of Credit, we
facilitated 800 buses. With the government's commitment to build up
infrastructure, we will play a major role in using this facility in
importing Ashok Leyland trucks to improve transportation. Whilst these
new vehicles will be environmentally friendly, it will help to reduce
the prices of agricultural produce which is transported to Colombo and
will help poor farmers in far areas to sell their produce," said
PLC's CEO, D.P. Kumarage. 50 new route permits from Jaffna and
Vavuniya will be given for transportation which will be dominated by
Tata and Ashok Leyland vehicles facilitated by PLC.
PLC has already built up a
strong relationship with route permit holders. PLC's 10 year Indian
Line of Credit will offer upto six years' pay-back period to the
customer, reducing its monthly instalment to affordable amounts with a
grace period of one year.
Last year PLC facilitated the
purchase of 1600 buses, mainly Tata and Ashok Leyland.
PLC is expected to achieve Rs.
170 million in budgeted turnover monthly this year. It has branches
located in Kandy, Ratnapura, Kurunegala, Matara, Badulla, Anuradhapura,
Polonnaruwa and Galle.
Expo Lanka acquires iOnosphere
Expolanka Group announced the
acquisition of iOnosphere Lanka, the US based Internet Service
Provider last week.
Hanif Yusoof, Expolanka's
CEO, who now takes iOnosphere Lanka under his wing as its managing
director stated that the acquisition of iOnosphere Lanka in
association with strategic US partners is another important milestone
in the context of the Expolanka Group's venture into the IT industry.
Hanif already heads the
group's IT related ventures: Ubizport (www.UbizPort.com) a high end
software development company and HelloCorp (www.Hellocorp.com), a
recent BOI approved joint venture call center operation contracted to
service prestigious US clients including Microsoft and AOL.
Expolanka believes that
moving into IT industry is a natural progression in its evolution as a
globally focused Sri Lankan player in the services and logistics
sector and sees iOnosphere as a great opportunity to provide premium
service to the top end of Sri Lanka's business sector for whom total
communication solutions backed by reliable connectivity and prime
service is an acutely felt need.
Hanif not only views
iOnosphere as a company which will fuel Expolanka's journey on the
information super-highway, but also as an outfit which is ideally
positioned - thanks mainly to its state of the art infrastructure, to
provide target customers with the quality of service and reliability
with which Expolanka is associated. Hanif, who stresses that the
success of Sri Lankan companies in the fiercely competitive global
market will revolve around the quality and effectiveness of internet
services at their command, sees in iOnosphere an opportunity to
satisfy the demand that exists for premium quality connectivity.
The Expolanka Group is
globally focused and has developed strong international connections.
At present it is directly represented by associate or subsidiary
companies in Bangladesh, Maldives, Dubai, India, Pakistan, Mauritius
and Madagascar. New ventures are continuously under consideration
whilst some are in the pipeline.
The group is also constantly
on the lookout globally for new opportunities complementary to its
existing lines of business to be developed on its own steam or in
collaboration with reputable partners.
Forty five years of diplomatic
between Russia and Sri Lanka
February 19, 2002, is a
significant date in the history of Russian - Sri Lankan ties. Forty
five years ago on this very day both countries (the then USSR and
Ceylon) decided to establish diplomatic relations that boosted the
speedy development of mutually beneficial bilateral contacts in
The first ambassador of our
country in Sri Lanka was V. Yakovlev, well-known Russian diplomat. His
book regarding the years he has spent in Colombo, is still of much
interest up to our days. The ambassador of Ceylon in Moscow at the
same time was Professor Z. Malalasekera, prominent scientist,
specialist in Buddhism. He was not only political representative of
his country but also became well-known among intellectuals in Moscow
as a Sinhala language teacher to a first group of Russian students at
the Moscow State University.
But the history of Russia -
Sri Lanka relations started much earlier. Russian Consulate was
established in Galle in 1891. And first Russians appeared in Ceylon
even in mid 19th century. One of them, Count Saltykov, visited this
island twice - in 1841 and in 1845-46. This well-known traveller and
non-professional artist had summoned his observations in a book
published in Russia and in France and illustrated with his unique
pencil-paintings. Professor Minaev, world-known Russian expert on
Buddhism, "discovered" Ceylon for Russian oriental studies.
His books are still unique because of their wide range of historical
and ethnographical data about Sri Lanka.
In late 19th century,
well-known Russian writers Anton Chekov and Ivan Bunin visited Ceylon
at the end of the century. The latter having been so impressed by
Anuradhapura, compared the ancient capital of Lanka with the
fascination and magnificence of present Paris. One of the first
notices about the Tooth Relic in Kandy was given to Russians by
Countess Mescherskaya: having travelled in India she had the chance to
tour Ceylon too. The island was also visited incongito by Russian
Crown Prince ("tzesarrevich") during his round-the-world
travel. Those visiting the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens today can
easily find the tree planted there in 1891 by the future Russian
Emperor, Nickolas II.
The solid base for mutual
business interests was laid down in the 60s and 70s of 20th century by
the package of bilateral agreements worked out and signed by our
countries in spheres of trade and economy, science, technology and
culture. Simultaneously, Moscow and Colombo reached the agreement on
opening of air and sea travel routes and on training of Lankan
specialists in the USSR.
In those years the Soviet
Union assisted Sri Lanka in constructing
the metallurgical plant in Oruwella, the tire-producing
enterprise in Kelaniya, milling and house-constructing plants. Since
mid 70s Soviet experts began drilling for crude oil in the island. At
the same time large shipments of refined oil and oil products were
delivered to Sri Lanka. During the years of our bilateral relations,
thousands of Lankan students have graduated from universities of my
country in medicine, engineering, education, etc. In 1959 the
Friendship Society with Sri Lanka was established in Moscow. The
powerful impetus to the further expansion of mutual relations had been
given by the visits to the USSR by the then Prime Minister of Sri
Lanka Mrs. S. Bandaranaike in 1963 and in 1974.
The Russian Federation, being
the successor of the USSR, has actively developed the positive
interstate relations with Sri Lanka. This attitude gave the
possibility to provide the continuity of Russian - Sri Lankan ties.
The basis of diverse cooperation which was laid down in previous years
opens vast possibilities for its further development and
implementation of new forms, though there was a certain decline in it
during 90s. We witness the significant productivity of our interaction
on the international arena. Our countries have identical or similar
approaches to solving a majority of pressing international or regional
issues. Moscow highly values the Sri Lankan support for the
disarmament process, preservation of the ABM Treaty, prevention of
space militarisation, earlier completion of drafts of anti-terrorist
treaties such as the Comprehensive UN Convention on the fight against
terrorism and the International Convention on the Fight Against Acts
of Nuclear Terrorism.
Good impetus to the expansion
of political contacts was given by the protocol on consultations
between the two foreign ministries signed in 2000 and by the meeting
of foreign ministers of our countries in Moscow in January, 2001. A
wide range of international and bilateral issues were discussed and a
joint statement on the fight against international terrorism was
adopted. In this sphere which became one of the most outstanding
international issues, Russia and Sri Lanka effectively coordinated its
actions on the UN and other international fora.
The sum and substance of
terrorism and separatism is well-known by the own experience of both
countries. The fight against this evil determines the attitude of
Russia towards the solution of the long-lasting ethnic conflict in Sri
Lanka. With indignation towards terrorists and with deep sympathy to
the Lankan people, we in Russia got the news of the terrorist act in
Katunayake SLAF base and the Bandaranaike International Airport on
July 24 last year. Thus with satisfaction Moscow notes the positive
changes of the situation in Sri Lanka, attentively witnesses the
renewal of the peace process and welcomes the efforts of the Lankan
government to halt the internal military conflict and to provide a
peaceful solution on the basis of securing the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
Both countries enjoy the
gradual growth of bilateral trade after its decline in recent years
caused by the financial and economic crisis in Russia after the
disintegration of the Soviet Union. In 2001 its volume was estimated
at $ 130 million (with huge profit to Sri Lanka). Russia holds the
stable position of leading importer of Lankan tea (over 48,000 tones).
Russian group of enterprises
"Tyazpromexport" has supplied electrical equipment for the
metallurgical plant in Oruwella and modern machinery for the
tire-producing enterprise in Kelaniya. Sri Lankan businessmen are
showing growing interest for the expansion of cooperation with Russian
partners in investment, establishment of joint ventures, and
broadening of imports from Russia. In order to expand trade and
"geography" of economic cooperation as well as to lay down a
good new ground for its dynamic and long-term development the Ceylon
Chamber of Commerce with the assistance of the Embassy of Russia
initiated the Sri Lanka - Russia Business Council.
Having been set up in August
2001, it includes more than 40 large Lankan companies and business
associations. In this year a delegation of the council is expected to
visit Moscow and Russian businessmen and will take part in several
industrial and trade exhibitions and seminars in Sri Lanka. On the
other hand a large group of businessmen from Moscow region are due to
visit Sri Lanka shortly to discuss with their Lankan partners specific
forms and projects of bilateral cooperation. Business seminars and the
exhibition of samples of their production will also be launched.
Russian tour operators are frequent guests in Sri Lanka. According to
their estimation, the island can be one of the most popular places for
Russian tourists in the near future.
Significant efforts are
underway to update the legal basis of Russian - Sri Lankan relations.
The agreement on cooperation between the Federal Security Service of
the Russian Federation and the Sri Lanka Police was signed in 2001. In
accordance with its provisions a group of Russian experts visited
Colombo last year to assist their Lankan colleagues in establishing of
a higher security system for the BIA and Colombo port facilities. A
new bilateral trade and economic agreement, treaties on mutual legal
assistance in criminal cases, on extradition, on transmission of
prisoners, on air transportation and ratification procedure of the
Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation are in their final stage.
Draft agreement on tourist cooperation will be discussed shortly.
We witness positive trends in
contacts between parliaments of our two countries. In 1997 the
delegation of the State Duma of Russia (lower chamber of parliament)
visited Colombo, and during this year a delegation of Lankan
parliamentarians are expected in Moscow.
Russian - Sri Lankan ties in
cultural and educational spheres are also expanding. Last year an
exhibition of Russian artists was successfully held in Colombo. Now we
are working on a new Program of Cultural and Educational Cooperation
for 2002-2003. In the frames of this program it is planned to hold a
vast range of cultural events including performances of Russian and
Lankan cultural groups both in Moscow and Colombo. 19 Lankan students
were awarded Russian state scholarships in 2001and over 200 students
went to study in Russian universities on-commercial basis. The total
number of Lankan students studying in Russia is more than 2000 at
This year we continue
awarding state scholarships in coordination with the Ministry of
Education of Sri Lanka. Russian Cultural Centre is successfully
operating in Colombo providing Lankan children with Russian ballet and
chess training, art and musical education. The first group of 30
students passed their studies at the Center of Russian language and
nine of them successfully passed examinations in Russian universities.
There is no doubt that
Russian - Sri Lankan relations have vast potential for further
development and expansion. Strengthening of friendly ties on the basis
of equality, mutual respect and partnership which is the permanent aim
of both our countries, not only serve the core interests and mutual
goals of our peoples but also fulfills the significant task of
ensuring peace, stability and security in the South Asian region and
in the whole world.
Soon my mission as Ambassador
of Russia to Sri Lanka will be completed. Though I stayed here for
quite a short period of time, I could sincerely fall in love with this
charming island of Lanka, feel the depth and global meaning of the
multinational cultural and historic heritage of its people, whom I
cordially wish peace and prosperity. Availing myself of this
opportunity, I also express my warm wishes to Chandrika Kumaratunga,
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and to
Ranil Wickremasinghe, Prime-Minister.
- Mickhail Konarovskiy
Ambassador of the Russian
Federation to the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Eagle ends 14th year with
strong financial results
Eagle Insurance has recorded
outstanding results for 2001, maintaining its strong position in the
insurance industry with revenues increasing to Rs. 2.7 billion, a 21%
growth over the previous year in spite of challenging market
conditions. There was also significant growth in profits compared to
the previous year, with operating profit before restructure charges
and intangible items increasing to Rs. 233 million, a 19% increase
over the previous year. This year too the company returned a
commendable performance with a return on net assets of 31.3%. The
proposed dividend per share increased to Rs. 6.00 and earnings per
share increased by 20% over the corresponding period last year.
Life business which
contributed significantly to overall company performance, recorded a
growth of 14% with gross written premiums increasing to Rs. 1.67
billion, compared to Rs. 1.47 billion in the corresponding period of
the previous year. This achievement was due to continued emphasis on
professional training of field staff and strategies adopted. Eagle
created history by launching a retirement fund for the benefit of long
serving, value adding members of the 'Eagle Team With Wings', with the
objective of ensuring the long term financial stability of Eagle sales
associates. The company believes that this would encourage further
professionals, and long term commitment of the sales persons.
The company also launched
another successful phase of the Eagle Investment Plan in February
2001, which recorded a premium income of Rs. 130 million. A new Life
product "Eagle Sunrise Child Plan" was launched in August.
Eagle also increased the
company's Life Fund by one billion rupees bringing it to Rs. 4.6
billion as at end 2001 - a 27% growth over the previous year,
following the annual independent actuarial evaluation. This
demonstrates the company's commitment to provide higher security to
its Life policyholders. In evaluating the Life Fund, Eagle maintains
internationally accepted solvency margin standards, ensuring that the
company has reserves in excess of required levels.
Eagle "Insurance For
Living" Life policyholders dividend declared for 2001 is 11%, a
0.5% increase over the previous year. Eagle introduced this unique
concept of living benefits to Life policyholders at the inception of
the company, turning a new page in the life insurance industry of Sri
Lanka. Under this system a separate investment account is maintained
for every single Life policyholder, enabling the fund to accumulate on
a compounding basis with the annual dividends declared. Since
commencement of this system, the company has consistently delivered
higher dividends than the minimum rate guaranteed by the company.
Non Life business premium
increased to Rs. 730 million, recording 6% growth despite a fiercely
competitive market through a focus on business that adds value to all
stakeholders. Three risk management products were introduced during
the year - Total Risk Solutions for tea factories, the Property
Business Interruption Risk Engineering Service and the Health and
Safety Management Consultancy Service, offering for the first time
risk management services on a commercial basis through the companies
Risk Engineering Unit which has received ISO 9001 certification.
Investment income in Life and
non Life business increased to Rs. 771 million, a 48% increase over
the corresponding period in the previous year due to the creditable
performance of Eagle's asset management subsidiary - Eagle NDB Fund
Management, who were able to minimise the volatility of Eagle's
customer portfolios to the adverse conditions prevailing in the
Eagle NDB Fund Management
Company, a fully owned subsidiary of Eagle retained its strong
position as market leader in the sector by recording Rs. 9.8 billion
as funds under management as at end 2001 and recorded a profit of Rs.
9 million, a 89% growth over the previous year, overcoming a
challenging year for the asset management sector.
The company invested heavily
in technology during the year, installing the SAP accounting system,
the "Prophet" system for advanced and efficient actuarial
analysis and the "Insure 90" system for non life business,
in order to adhere to and bring service to international standards.
The objective of providing a speedier and cost effective service to
customers was further expanded when Eagle provided lap top computers
to the top sales people for use in the sales process. Eagle is also
continuously upgrading its website to be one of the most interactive
in the sector and it is now used increasingly by Eagle customers both
here and abroad.
In another unique service
offering, Eagle also enabled customers to check their policy status
through the Premium Position update facility in the site.
During this period the
company also successfully completed the restructure process of
separating the business into two strategic business units to serve the
personal and corporate customer segments. Thus, from a year of
dramatic change, Eagle moved over to a year of consolidation in 2001.
As a member of the Zurich
Financial Services Group, Eagle benefits from the stability and
international exposure gained in the area of products and services,
training and technology and systems from the parent company. Eagle
Chairman Warwick Churche says, "Eagle has contributed to the
global vision of the Zurich Group in transforming itself into a
collaborative and empowered entity within the group's global business
framework". Eagle's stability is further strengthened by the
local partner, National Development Bank.
Warwick Churche, Nihal
Welikala, Hermann Lischer and Eran Wickremaratne joined the board of
Eagle during the year while Ranjith Fernando, Frank Schnewlin and Alan
Parsonson resigned from their positions as directors.
Standard Chartered Bank opens
'Priority Banking Center'
Standard Chartered Bank
opened a new Priority Banking Centre on February 15. This latest
exclusive and elegant office situated on the second floor of the
Bambalapitiya branch meets the international guidelines set down by
the group for Priority Banking Centres. Each customer relationship
officer who handles a portfolio of clients has a private office and
private telephone line so that customers can speak in confidence. In
addition there is a large lounge area and a computer which can be used
by clients in addition to a meeting room. Tea and coffee is also
provided for all customers.
In Standard Chartered Group,
Priority Banking is a personal service that recognises a customer's
status and provides them with special privileges and high standards of
service locally and internationally.
Customers qualify for this
service when they maintain a combined balance of LKR 5 million or USD
50,000 (or equivalent in any currency) in any one or more types of
accounts (current/savings/time deposits, overdrafts, loans) with the
bank. Services include the personalised attention of a dedicated
customer relationship officer, the exclusive Priority Banking Centre
at the Bambalapitiya Branch, the Priority Card providing instant
access to all Priority Centres across the Standard Chartered Group
worldwide, the specially printed Priority Cheque book, in addition to
special privileges on banking services.
ABE (UK) in search of 'Best
of the Year'
"We are very pleased
about the launch of the 'Sri Lanka General Manager Of The Year'
competition by the Association of Business Executives (UK), giving the
opportunity for general managers of all public and private sector
organisations to be nominated for this prestigious award," said
ABE (UK), Sri Lanka Branch President and Chairman, Organising
Committee, Ramesh Dassanayake at the official launch held recently at
their Sri Lanka branch office.
Associated with him at the
launch were ABE (UK) Founder Chairman Lyndon Jones, CEO Christine
Gill, Sri Lanka representative, Preethiraj Weeraratne, Branch Council
Vice Presidents and Organising Committee Members: Dammika Kalapuge
(ex-vice president, marketing, DFCC Bank and presently Managing
Director, Power to Change), Rumindra Ranasinghe (managing director,
Marketing Services), Branch Council Treasurer and Organising Committee
Member, Victor Abeysekera (manager corporate communications, SriLankan
Airlines) and Secretary to the Committee, Farzan Khan Benjamin
(product manager, Benson & Hedges).
Speaking at the launch,
Dassanayake said that MBA (UK) Sri Lanka Branch is playing a major
role in producing professional managers and providing management
education leading to the MBA programme for Sri Lankans.
ABE is the only British based
professional body for general management in Sri Lanka. The
association, which has a global membership of well over 50,000 members
was founded nearly 25 years ago in the UK and has spread its wings
over the globe educating and turning young professionals into
resourceful instruments of business management in two main streams:
Diploma/Advanced Diploma in Business Information Systems that could
build a bridge between information technology and business
administration and Diploma/ Advanced Diploma in travel, tourism and
hospitality to enhance strategic management leadership in all the main
business areas of the tourism industry which is the most pervasive
sector within the global economy.
Since the Advance Diploma is
equivalent to a honours British degree in business administration, it
attributes an excellent stepping stone for students planning the MBA
program worldwide. Passed students of ABE (UK) are granted exemptions
in many recognised professional bodies on a subject by subject basis
(vice versa) and examinations are held half yearly in June and
December, just as any other UK exam.
The first Millennium Honours
Award was won by Ranjith Fernando who was the then GM, NDB and
presently secretary to Ministry of Industries and Enterprises
Development, Industrial Policy, Investment Promotion and
Constitutional Affairs. He was recognised for his contribution in
transforming the bank from a government owned entity to a universal
bank and adopting many of the internationally accepted human resources
The association also
conferred honorary fellowships to four eminent business leaders in the
country: Mahendra Amarasuriya (chairman, Commercial Bank of Ceylon and
United Motors, deputy chairman Hayleys Group), Deshamanya Lalith
Kotelawala (chairman, Ceylinco Consolidated), Ranjith Fernando (the
then director/general manager, NDB) and Tilan Wijesinghe (the then
chairman, BOI) in recognition of their immense contribution towards
industry, commerce and economic development in Sri Lanka. The
objective of this award is to recognise and honour the best business
managers in the country and to boost the moral of the modern
entrepreneurs towards professional management.
All public and private sector
general managers/CEOs, from small scale business enterprises to
multinational corporations in all industries and commerce are eligible
to be nominated for the 'Best General Manager/CEO of the Year' award.
The coupon for nomination will be published in The Sunday Leader, the
official newspaper, in the coming weeks.
Duly filled coupons,
preliminarily, should be sent to The Chairman, 'General Manager of the
Year' Organising Committee, C/o ABE (UK) Sri Lanka Representative
Office, No. 65 Jawatte Road, Colombo 5 by the respective personal
secretaries along with a covering letter giving details such as the
name, address and contact numbers of the boss as well as the
secretary. A self addressed stamped envelope with 'Best General
Manager/CEO of the Year' written on the top left corner should also be
forwarded along with the coupon.
Upon receiving nomination ABE
(UK) Sri Lanka branch will forward the official application form to be
filled and forwarded for evaluation. The official closing date for
receiving of applications for the nomination of the award will be 30th
of April 2002. A secretary could nominate only one person for this
The application forms will
first be short-listed by a panel of judges and thereafter the
short-listed applications will be carefully evaluated by a second
panel of judges. Both panels consist of well balanced and eminent team
of professional industrialists, economists and academics. However, the
final short listed applications will be evaluated and endorsed by UK.
University of Southern
course launched in Sri Lanka
Computer Institute launched the Bachelor of Information Technology
(BIT) course from the University of Southern Queensland Australia on
19th February. The programme was launched by the Chief Guest David
Binns, High Commissioner for Australia and Guest of Honour, David
Fuss, International Programme Director, University of Southern
Computer Institute (SICI) was set up in 1994, with the approval of the
Board of Investment of Sri Lanka to provide computer education and
training for students and corporate customers. SICI is a subsidiary
company of Informatics Holdings Ltd., of Singapore, a company listed
on the main board of the Stock Exchange of Singapore.
Singapore presently operates in 35 countries in Asia, Africa, Middle
East and Europe and has over 400 centres worldwide and trains over
450,000 students annually.
SICI conducts the
Certificate, Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses certified by
University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate and NCC UK, and
provides students with two qualifications by sitting one exam. These
courses are also recognised by over 40 leading universities in
Australia, UK, USA, Canada and New Zealand for completing the final
year of the degree programme overseas.
To meet the growing demand
from local students who want to complete their degree programmes in
Sri Lanka, Singapore Informatics City Campus launched the University
of Southern Queensland (USQ) Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT)
final year degree program, which will enable Advanced Diploma students
to complete their degree within a period of one year in Sri Lanka. The
study material will be provided by USQ specially designed for distance
mode learning, supported by lectures and tutorials which will be
conducted locally for the students. The students will sit the
examinations conducted by USQ and will be awarded the same degree that
they will receive if they studied at USQ Australia.
University of Southern
Queensland is a member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities
(ACU). This membership is highly regarded as a testimony to the
standing of the university.
Established in 1967, the
University of Southern Queensland is a fully-funded Australian
University located in South East Queensland and is Australia's 12th
largest university. The university is located in the city of Toowomba,
some 120 kilometers west of the capital of Brisbane.
The university's focus on
distance and international education has received worldwide acclaim,
with over 20,000 international students enrolling with the university
around the world. Students can choose to study on campus or via
distance learning. Whichever mode of delivery is chosen, the
curriculum, textbooks, method of assessment and degree certification
The university won the
"Australia's University of the Year 2000-2001" awarded by
the Good Universities Guide for Developing the e-University. It was
also awarded "Best Global University for Distance Education"
by International Council for Open & Distance Education (ICDE),
Norway in 1999.
Annual CIMA Students'
People Powered Management -
The Way Forward was the theme of the Annual CIMA Students' Conference
which was held last Saturday amidst a full house of more than 250
participants at the Crystal Ballroom of the Taj Samudra. The Student
Conference is organised annually to provide CIMA Students with the
opportunity of listening to and interacting with senior professionals
from the corporate sector.
Keeping in line with the
theme "People Powered Management, the way forward", four
leading and prominent members from the private sector and academic
spheres presented papers at this year's conference.
The Chief Guest, Dian Gomes,
the President of the CIMA Sri Lanka Division presented the first
paper, on how to 'Align an Organisation to Achieve World Class
Standards'. This powerful presentation was centred on the successes of
Slimline (Pvt) Ltd of which he is CEO and was very well received by
The next paper was by Dr.
Travis Perera, Consultant in Human Resource Management at the PIM,
University of Sri Jayewardenepura on Strategies through a Human
Resources Development Climate. Dr. Perera explained to the audience
the theoretical foundations of the previous presentation and was most
informative and educative.
Dian Gunetillake, the Group
Human Resource Director, John Keells Holdings presented the next paper
on Setting the Organisational Culture Right where he spoke of the need
to provide practical leadership to organisations by empowering its
people. He also spoke of many of his experiences in people management
and the need for humanness and productiveness in the workplace.
Sunil Dissanayake, Head of
Human Resources, SriLankan Airlines who spoke on "Managing
People" identified 30 competencies and practices for people
management. He pointed out that these competencies represent goals for
excellence to which we should commit ourselves as part of the pursuit
for excellence in people management.
An interactive and absorbing
open forum was conducted by the Chairman of the Panel Niranjan De
Silva, the CEO of Metropolitan Computers. The welcome address was
given by Rajeev Amarasuriya, the President of the CIMA Students'
Society. Gowri Shanker,
the Chairperson of the Student Development Committee of the CIMA Sri
Lanka Division spoke on CIMA's Role
in Sri Lanka and Janek Jayasekara the Project Chairman gave the
vote of thanks at the end of the proceedings.
The Conference was sponsored
by Dialog GSM and co-sponsored by ZILLIONe Systems Solutions (Pvt)
Ltd. and the National Development Bank. The media sponsors were Lanka
Business Report and Lanka Business Online. The Official newspaper was
The Sunday Leader. The official radio station was Yes FM and the
Official Advertising Agency was Grants Advertising.
LG's new Plasma Digital
Display Panel Television
to be introduced shortly
A leader in innovative new
products that make life easier, LG's cutting edge technology has
provided yet another innovative product that provides an answer to the
future of television.
LG's latest achievement is an
ultra-slim, superfast digital television that provides sharp graphic
images displayed on a mega size Plazma Display Panel (PDP) 60-inch
screen incorporating the world's largest flat screen that outperforms
all its other competitors. LG is recognised as the undisputed world
leader in plasma display technology.
LG's new PDP has several
amazing features that none can match. It has a 60-inch flat screen,
the largest in the world. It is 78 mm thin, the first of its kind
(42" & 60" models), has the lowest electrical
consumption of 320 watts, and provides crystal clear images with a
brightness and picture quality that no other TV can match. It is also
compatible with all digital broadcasting, is multimedia entertainment
friendly and has digital audio surround sound system, with 6
detachable speakers that enable convenient setup according to
The PDP can be thought of as
a descendant of the neon lamp. The term "plasma" refers to a
gas that consists of electrons, positively charged particles known as
anions, and neutral particles. The PDP has sometimes been referred to
as a gas discharge display because it operates bypassing electricity
through neon gas, causing it to become "charged" temporarily
and light is produced when the gas spontaneously discharges.
Inside the plasma panel, a
series of red, green and blue cells are grouped in a precise matrix.
These cells are activated individually, unlike standard cathode ray
tubes or liquid crystal displays. This means that they emit light
individually, creating a precise pixel on the viewing area.
The main advantage of LG's
Plasma Display Panels over nearly all other display devices is that it
can be used as large display panels to project clear and accurate
high-tech information in full colour for advertising purposes,
presentations and promotions, or be used as a television.
Abans, the exclusive
importers and marketers of LG Televisions in Sri Lanka will be
launching their Mega Screen PDP Televisions shortly. Dialog GSM were
the first in Sri Lanka to purchase Mega Screen PDP's on a special
order, for the Dialog Centre at Union Place.
Alpha Furniture ISO 9002
ALPHA Furniture X'clusive
with the collaboration of Scandinavian and Canadian consultants
established a wood working division in the year 1995 to undertake
interior work and other furniture for both offices, as well as homes.
Being the largest local
manufacturer of furniture to cater to the local and off shore markets,
Alpha Furniture X'culsive was one of the first to obtain ISO 9002
accreditation from DNV of Netherlands. "As a result we emphasise
the stringent quality assurance procedures that are in force, both on
line and in the final finishes, which ensure that the products conform
to the highest international standards," said company CEO,
The Alpha furniture factory
situated at Mattegoda is fully equipped with state of the art
machinery. The well trained and youthful workforce at the factory is
geared to respond promptly to all customer requirements, while the
skilled workforce with a full complement of the latest technology is
capable of producing high quality furniture in the latest designs and
finishes. They would convert ideas into reality with speed and
commitment with world standards in mind.
Alpha's product range for
interiors for both office and apartment buildings include open office
range of furniture, specialised designs required by professional
architects/consultants which are manufactured on Completely Knock Down
(CKD) basis, while the company also offers duty free prices on the
With their wide experience
and quality, Alpha Furniture X'clusive won the major part of the
contract to do the interior office of eight floors of the BOI. The
company has also won many interior contracts, which include Central
Finance, Stafford Motors, Associated Motorways Ltd., Union Bank Ltd.,
YSR Line, and Colombo Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.
In addition to interior work,
Alpha also undertakes any turnkey project in areas such as carpeting,
ceiling, fabricating aluminium doors and windows etc., for new office
buildings and as well for refurbishing office buildings.
HNB introduces 'Ranaviru
As a leading private sector
commercial bank, Hatton National Bank has placed strong emphasis on
socio - economic development.
There is a need today to take
banking to a new level that does not confine it to traditional lending
products. In this context, Hatton National Bank recently joined with
the Sri Lanka Army Seva Vanitha Unit in launching the Ranaviru
Affinity MasterCard. This international credit card is available to
the general public like any other credit card.
However, unlike any other
credit card in the market the purpose of the Ranaviru MasterCard is to
provide the Army Seva Vanitha Unit with a means to generate a steady
income for its welfare projects at no extra cost to the donor.
A simple ceremony on the 13th
of February at Army Headquarters hosted by the Army Commander marked
the presenting of the first proceeds to the Seva Vanitha Unit by the
bank's officials. A special donation by the bank of Rs. 100,000 - to
the Seva vanitha Unit was also made on this occasion.
During the presentation, the
audience was informed that on every approved credit card the Seva
vanitha Unit would earn Rs. 350 - per year from the annual fee. On
usage of the card, 0.1% of every transaction will be donated to the
Seva Vanitha Unit. This is at no additional cost to the cardholder.
So, by the simple act of purchasing your day to day needs with the
Ranaviru Credit Card the cardholder contributes to a worthy cause.
In addition, the Ranaviru
MasterCard holder is also entitled to the same benefits that any other
HNB credit card holder would receive. These benefits include 55 days
maximum interest free credit (depending on the date of purchase),
competitive interest rates on outstanding balances, 107 branches at
which you can make payment and special discounts and promotions.
CellSMS Valantine's Day
For three young Sri Lankans,
Valentines Day 2002 will be a memorable day for many years to come.
Travis, Nimesha and Uditha now know first hand, what it must be like
to be celebrities. The three Celltel subscribers wined and dined in
style at the Hilton Colombo hosted by their dream dates.
All they had to do was to use
Celltel's SMS (short Messaging Service) facility to send romantic and
witty messages to the dazzling Sushma Reddy, a VJ from India's Channel
V, the exquisite television star Kanchana Mendis and musician Azlan
The stars of Celltel's
Valentine's Day Promotion: (from left) Celltel Commercial Director
Aniljit Singh, Nimesha and Azlan Batusha, Kanchana Mendis and Uditha,
and Sushma Reddy and Travis.