Trading Commission (FTC) is expediting its investigations into abuse
of monopoly positions and anti-competitive practices. It is hoped to
resolve most outstanding issues before the establishment of the
proposed Consumer Affairs Authority next year.
The new body -
which will have wider powers and scope - will be formed by
amalgamating the functions of the FTC and the Department of Internal
Trade. This would follow the passage of the Consumer Affairs Authority
Bill in Parliament, expected early next year.
function of the FTC is to control monopolies, mergers and
anti-competitive practices that are likely to operate against the
public interest. However, BOI firms and state enterprises, as well as
the services sector, do not fall under its purview. This situation
would be remedied with the establishment of the Consumer Affairs
Authority which could intervene in these areas as well.
body will also enjoy wider powers with regard to price regulation,
consumer dispute settlement, consumer education and assurance of
quality products and services. Punishment for those found guilty of
offences will also be enhanced.
The FTC is
presently inquiring into seven major complaints and thirty minor
complaints, said its Chairman Prof. A. D. V. de S. Indraratna.
He added that
the major complaints are against Shell Gas Lanka, Ceylon Oxygen Ltd.,
Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Telecom (together with
Suntel and Lanka Bell), eleven insurance firms, and Unilever Ceylon.
These complaints relate to abuse of dominant positions and
description of these seven cases is given below:
complaint by members of the public against Shell Gas, alleging
frequent raising of prices thereby abusing their dominant position.
The commission hopes to conclude investigations within two months.
complaint by Gas Auto Lanka against Shell, alleging anti-competitive
complaint by Seico Gases and Southern Oxygen against Ceylon Oxygen
Ltd., alleging anti-competitive practices which go against the public
complaint by W.M. Mendis & Company and Randenigala Distilleries
against the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka, alleging
anti-competitive practice. This case was initiated as far back as
1996, but dragged on due to changes in the government and the FTC
board. Investigations have how entered the final phase, and it is
hoped to conclude the case within three months.
concerned will make written submissions in January, and the commission
will thereafter issue an order if an anti-competitive practice is
complaint by Lanka Internet Services and Lanka Com Services against
SLT, Suntel and Lanka Bell, alleging abuse of monopoly position and/or
anti-competitive practice. This case revolves around a MoU entered
into between the three parties which allegedly restricts the two
complainants from engaging in business relating to certain
In this case,
the commission cannot investigate Suntel and Lanka Bell as they are
BOI companies.It has informed the complainants about this position, so
that they may submit a complaint only against SLT. Such problems will
not arise once the proposed Consumer Affairs Authority is set up, as
it will be empowered to intervene in BOI companies as well.
complaint by the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka against eleven insurance
firms. It is alleged that they have decided to charge uniform premia
and at the same time raised the premium level. This followed the
deregulation of the insurance sector early this year.
complaint by Darley Butler and Company against Unilever Ceylon
alleging misleading advertising (which is considered an
anti-competitive practice). The advertisement in question claims that
their zigzag toothbrush is superior to the flat-surface toothbrush.
Both parties have been summoned for a preliminary inquiry, and
investigations will commence shortly.
A few months
ago, the FTC concluded an investigation into another case of
misleading advertising. It revolved around an allegation by Swadeshi
Industrial Works against Vendol Lanka Ltd., charging that the latter
had engaged in misleading advertising of an ayurvedic herbal soap. The
commission issued a determination prohibiting Vendol from continuing
with the advertisement. This order aroused much interest in business
circles, and led to a spate of complaints before the FTC, said Prof.
He also said
they will monitor the movement of pharmaceutical prices under the
deregulated regime until end April next year, before deciding whether
deregulation should continue or not. At one time, the commission
monitored several sectors which were price-controlled, but these were
gradually liberalised. The pharmaceuticals sector was the last to be
decontrolled in November this year, for a trial period of six months.
introduces HT technology for new
Intel Pentium 4 processor
Corporation recently introduced its innovative Hyper-Threading (HT)
technology for the new Intel Pentium 4 processor at 3.06 GHz. This
technology enables a new class of high-performance desktop PCs that
can work quickly among several computing applications at the same
time, or provide extra performance for individual software programs
that are multithreaded. HT technology can boost PC performance by up
In addition to
bringing HT technology to desktop PC users, Intel reached a PC
milestone in launching the Pentium 4 processor at 3.06 GHz. This is
the first commercial microprocessor to operate at three billion cycles
per second and is made possible by using the industry's most advanced
0.13-micron manufacturing technology. The Pentium 4 processor is the
world's highest performance desktop microprocessor.
people multitask to get more done, we expect out PCs to do the
same," said Technical Sales and Marketing Manager (Asia Pacific),
Intel Electronics, Richard Teo. "Hyper-Threading technology is a
breakthrough computing innovation that helps consumers and business
people accomplish more in less time."
join to promote internet TV unit
Two Sri Lankan
corporate giants, Ceylinco Consolidated and Sri Lanka Telecom last
week joined forces to promote the country's first ever internet
television unit, thus further strengthening their commitment towards
developing IT in Sri Lanka.
Ceylinco internet TV unit, marketed by Lanka Ecom Technologies Ltd
(LET), a member of Ceylinco Consolidated, enables users to surf the
internet and access e-mail through their existing TV sets, in the
comfort of their homes. This tie-up is expected to enhance and develop
IT knowledge among the Sri Lankan population, which at present
accounts for a mere 2%.
feature of this tie-up is the possibility of widespread internet
accessibility by all Sri Lankans, supported by SLT's countrywide
coverage, and Lanka Ecom Technologies' dedicated island-wide dealer
network, which has been mobilised to promote these units around the
The unit itself
comprises an easy-to-install set top box and a remote controlled
keyboard, which converts any colour television set into an internet
TV, enabling the user to browse the internet, chat online and send and
receive e-mail without having to invest in a computer or an expensive
Ceylinco internet TV unit is priced at Rs. 12,999 and comes with a
free internet connection, together with SLT's special internet package
for a subscription of Rs. 250 per month, which includes 900 minutes
free usage. It is sold with a one-year comprehensive warranty, value
added features and unmatched after sales services, coupled with a
dedicated call center help desk.
LET and SLT are
confident of the unit's success, which enables a larger segment of the
Sri Lankan population to have a hands-on experience in browsing the
internet for the first time and thus take Sri Lanka's IT development
to new heights.
insider dealing charges
without fear or favour
inquiry into the allegations of insider dealing on the shares of
Aitken Spence and Co. Ltd. has brought into sharp focus the
mind-boggling conflicts of interest pervading the governance of the
securities market in this country.
The manner in
which the current inquiry is being conducted and its unnecessary
dragging on have undoubtedly undermined the integrity and independence
of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as well as investor
confidence in the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE). To compound matters,
there were also reports of the SEC board allegedly halting a separate
investigation of insider dealing involving the shares of the same
At least two of
the personalities involved in these investigations are the heads of
the SEC and the CSE, which underscores their public importance.
What is at
issue is the independence of the Director General and his staff who
have been stymied by those who have been appointed to the board of the
The eye of the
storm is the unprecedented decision of the board to appoint a
two-member committee to review the SEC investigation and the opinion
given by the Attorney General on the alleged insider dealing by three
former directors of Aitken Spence & Co. Ltd. that tantamount to an
expression of no confidence in the staff of the SEC.
It also is a de
facto attempt to question the authority, competence and integrity of
the most senior lawyer of the government. The insidious attempt to
marginalise the Attorney General and the SEC secretariat who have
maintained the highest standards of professional integrity is widely
perceived as a perversion of stock market regulation and natural
cynical observers would claim that it is an attempt at wriggling out
of a public investigation the outcome of which is not to one's liking
through the hiring of high price legal and audit consultants who will
serve the interests of their paymasters. They will probably perceive
it as a 'privatisation' of a public investigation that will corrode
the entire regulatory process.
cannot understand or who prefer to ignore the distinction between a
public listed and private company will not see the need for any
transparency, accountability and disclosure in the affairs of the
former category of businesses.
Those at the
helm of private companies will probably only be accountable to their
family members and business associates and have the right to be
dismissive of meddlesome outside interests.
On the other
hand, minority shareholders of some public listed companies have no
doubt experienced this type of 'none of your business' attitude
emanating from the head table at annual general meetings that they
attend when financial statements and auditor's reports are taken up
for scrutiny and discussion.
abundantly clear that the calibre of individuals who have been
appointed as commissioners to the board of the SEC and the directors
of the SEC needs to be urgently reviewed by the Minister of Finance.
New criteria and strict guidelines should be issued for the
appointment of the respective boards.
He should seize
the initiative to clear the augean stables and make a clean break with
the past. This should facilitate the expeditious handling of the
investigations to their logical conclusions and allow the law (the SEC
Act of 1987) to be applied in the spirit in which it was meant to be
forestry a success
The concept of
analog forestry is today known worldwide. In fact, if one conducts a
search through the internet, many sites dedicated to this topic could
be found. But what is not known is that this concept originated in Sri
Lanka - to be more precise, at the Neo Synthesis Research Centre (NSRC)
This centre was
also the first in the world to offer the forest garden product
certification service. The venture has proved successful with
increasing consumer demand for organic foods.
It all began in
1982, who NSRC initiated a series of experiments in the development of
a forestry system that could answer the needs of tree production as
well as biodiversity conservation. The outcome was a technology known
as analog forestry. Here, tree plantations analogous to the rain
forest in architectural structure and ecological function (but
containing trees that yielded valuable products) were established.
This work also
showed that if all crops in the new forests were grown organically,
many species of animals and birds which were once confined to the
rainforest could move in and establish populations in the new
Manager of the forest garden service and founder member of NSRC,
Lawrence Goldberg said "by applying the techniques of analog
forestry, you are imitating the structure and functions of a natural
forest." He added that the increase in indicator species
indicates increasing biodiversity which in turn shows the success of
the program. Indicator species include certain species of birds,
insects, mammals, amphibians, butterflies and plants which enter the
Goldberg, one of the objectives of their program is to ensure that
farmers carry out their agricultural activities within their own lands
instead of moving to urban areas.
He pointed out
that because forest gardens grow a wide range of produce, there is
less risk in case market demand falls or if disease or weather ravages
some crops. "At such times, they can fall back on the other
products," he added.
products include various kinds of fruits and vegetables, cardamom,
black pepper, coffee, cinnamon, cloves and the kitul palm.
These are grown
exclusively as organic crops as the application of biocides and
artificial fertilizers harms consumers and the environment.
local villages participate in creating analog forests. The farmers are
assured of a higher price for their certified produce in both local
and export markets. They are also aware of the fact that they are
protecting their children and the environment from poisonous
chemicals, by engaging in this activity.
that their certification costs Rs. 2000 per hectare annually, as well
as an assessment fee of 2% of the export value and travelling costs.
He stated that if a farm is to be certified, they will have to
demonstrate at least three years in operation without the use of
pesticides and artificial fertilisers.
He added that
they have thus far issued 150 such certifications in Sri Lanka.
"Ours is the only program in the world that certifies analog
forests," Goldberg said.
They not only
carry out annual inspections, but also conduct an audit trail which
provides further evidence that the produce was grown organically, and
in accordance with the standards of the certification program.
It is pertinent
to mention that this certification has been accepted by the BIOFACH
annual trade fair in Germany which highlights organically-grown food.
the German-based Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM)
had made inquires, probably intending to incorporate some of these
standards into their system.
"We have the most progressive standards in the world with regard
to forestry stewardship."
He noted that
they have also carried out certifications in Brazil, and conducted
training on the analog forestry concept in Zimbabwe, Papua New Guinea
and the Philippines.
conducted at the NSRC in Bandarawela has led to the establishment of
analog forests in several countries, including the U.S., Canada,
Mexico, Equador, Costs Rica, Brazil, Philippines, Papua New Guinea,
Zimbabwe and Australia.
Goldberg, farmers cultivating analog forests are assured of better
profits. He pointed out that the global market for organic foods is
estimated at around US Dollars 40 billion annually, and is increasing
organic foods are marketable in countries such as Britain, German,
France, Japan, Australia and the U.S.
that consumers are becoming increasingly health-conscious - a
phenomenon driven by high disease rates (including cancer). As an
example, he pointed out that the widely-used herbicide, glycop-
hosphate, is recognised as a cancer-causing agent. Beneficial fungi
such as mychorrizae are eliminated when conventional fungicides are
Some years ago,
a study sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
revealed that Nuwara Eliya district has the highest rate of birth
defects in Sri Lanka. This could be attributed to intensive chemical
that when organic foods are analysed, they are shown to have a higher
vitamin and mineral content than commercially-grown food. It has also
been shown that spices grown in analog forests (e.g. cloves, cinnamon,
black pepper, cardamom) have a higher oil content, which translates to
higher prices in the export market.
prices of organically - grown products are 15% or more higher than
those grown in conventional farms. Some products, such as organic tea,
can fetch prices 300% higher.
Hospital opens 'artistes ward'
Hospital, which has treated approximately 300,000 in-house patients
since its inception in 1985, last week opened a historic 'artistes
ward" at its tenth floor.
inauguration of this ward which also drew the curtain for
with the issue of the medicard to all artistes will infuse a
fresh breath of life especially to
artistes who are alone and ailing.
"We have a
PRO and several consultants to look after the needs of these artistes
who have done much and brought pride and joy to all Sri Lankans,"
said Deputy Chairman, Nawaloka Hospital, Jayantha Dharmadasa speaking
at a press conference to mark the completion of 4000 cases of cardiac
surgery at this hospital.
said that the hospital will every month perform cardiac surgery on a
child who is on the waiting list at the government hospitals, free of
charge. This gesture of goodwill will be done free of charge and
children with an emergency condition will receive preference.
Hospital was the first private hospital to get a MRI and CT scanner in
the days gone by. Today the hospital boasts of every hi-tech medical
machinery available in the developed world.
have to go overseas in search of better surgery, you can do it right
here at this hospital," pointed out Prof. Lal Chandrasena. P.
Withanage also participated in the discussion.
Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Dr. A.G Jayakrishnan
also explained that one need not go overseas in search of advanced
medical treatment. "You can do it right here," he said. The
doctor also explained that surgery is done via the Octopus process
whereby surgery is performed on a beating heart. This process cuts
down the risk fact or and recovery
is much faster.
He said that a
normal bypass surgical procedure takes about 4 hours and open heart
surgery could be done in two and a half hours.
has about 175 consultants who can be consulted
and about 10 resident consultant physicians.
Come True Prize Draw' by CSB
Savings Bank (CSB) which has completed 18 months in operation, is
offering their customers Rs. 1 million in prize money through the
'Dreams Come True Prize Draw.'
Manager/CEO, CSB, Sunimal Fernando said CSB savings account holders
will be eligible for this draw. They will automatically quality with
seven chances to win.
Clients who are
eligible include those who are account holders in their four savings
schemes - exclusive family savings, bonus savings, punchi minor
savings and normal savings. Customers can increase their chances of
winning by depositing an additional Rs. 10,000 in their accounts. By
depositing more (in multiples of Rs. 10,000) they get further
opportunities to win.
the minimum balance by end November are eligible for the seven
chances. By December the chances will be down to six and will decline
as the months progress (i.e., five in January, four in February, three
in March, two in April and one in May).
The same rules
apply for punchi account holders, but the minimum deposit is reduced
to Rs. 5000. By making additional deposits of Rs. 5000, these account
holders can increase their chances of winning.
the 'Dreams Come True Prize Draw' will be held on May 30, 2003, when
CSB celebrates their second anniversary.
The first prize
amounts to Rs. 500,000, the second to Rs. 250,000, the third to Rs.
100,000, the fourth to Rs. 75,000, the fifth to Rs. 50,000 and the
sixth to Rs. 25,000.
said they have obtained the agency for the Western Union money
transfer system through Seylan Bank. He believed this will benefit
their customers in and around Bambalapitiya. The CSB office is
situated at 71, Galle Road, Col 4.
It was pointed
out that the Western Union system operates in 190 countries.
they presently operate only their office in Bambalapitiya, but they
intend submitting an application before the Central Bank to establish
at least one branch somewhere next year.
He said that
CSB, which commenced operations in May last year, has built a customer
base of 15,000.
claimed that they will be coming into operational profit by
Marketing, CSB, Tilak De Alwis said they follow the 'doorstep banking
concept,' and have a fairly large sales force which promotes their
deposit and lending products.
He noted that
such visits to homes and offices makes it convenient to customers. He
said this strategy has received a fairly good response rate, since
people are now "fighting for time."
The bank also
operates a home banking mobile service for the benefit of clients in
Colombo city and the outskirts.
CSB's lending activities are concentrated in housing loans and
personal loans, but they will undertake leasing in a big way next
With regard to
deposits, the bank offers interest rates 1/2 to 1% higher than that
offered by commercial banks.
Kells tops LMD 50
edition of The LMD 50, which is Sri Lanka's version of The Fortune 500
global rankings, will be released in the week ahead. Analysis of the
results augur well for a bumper harvest in the next fiscal year.
that the highly-diversified conglomerate John Keells Holdings retained
its number-one slot for the fifth year in succession. The announcement
is a preview of the nation's premier rankings of listed companies,
comparable with the global rankings, The Fortune 500.
turnover remaining virtually stagnant at 11.8 billion rupees, JKH only
just held on to the mantle of being Sri Lanka's leading listed
company. HNB, a bank that says it has just come out of the "most
difficult year" in its 30-year-old history, is ranked a close
second. Another diversified conglomerate, Hayleys, came in at number
three. LMD's top five for fiscal year 2001/02 are completed by Seylan
and Commercial Bank.
LMD says in its
December issue, which features The LMD 50, that the litmus test for
corporate Sri Lanka encompassed the fall-out from two devastating
terrorist attacks. These were the 24 July attack on the country's only
international airport, and what is now know as '9/11.' Further,
unparalleled political turmoil sent unstable signals to the business
community and investors. As LMD says, the immediately past fiscal year
"isn't one that the nation's listed companies would want etched
in their corporate memoirs."
leading listed companies as a whole barely kept pace with inflation.
Turnover increased by a somewhat paltry 13%. LMD's LeaderBoard - its
'Roll of Corporate Honour' - fared even worse. After-tax profits of
the top ten companies tumbled by almost 30%, or 1.6 billion rupees in
absolute terms. Corporate balance sheets, however, were reasonably
healthy. Total assets and shareholders' funds appreciated by 11% and
The top four
companies in The LMD 50 were forced to absorb post-tax profit
shrinkages: JKH was down 41%, HNB dropped by as much as 98%, Hayleys
by 23%, and Seylan Bank by 12%.
With both the
political and economic landscapes showing improvement, however, there
seems to be a bumper harvest ahead. There's been better news this
year; so much so that the interim results released by some of the top
companies are showing record profits. The mega SLT IPO of last week
will also play a major role in what LMD predicts will be a 'banner
year' (2002/3) for the nation's engine of growth.
should not be in business?
Led by the
example of the developed countries the UNF administration is returning
state managed enterprises to the private sector for an economic boost
and to raise money to bridge the budget deficit.
generation politicians whose basic need for economic miracles is no
less pressing, have discovered at least in part how to hum the trick.
They believe that the dullest state owned company, the heaviest loss
making utility, or the least efficient public sector service could be
transformed almost overnight into a viable entity and contributor to
the national coffers by saying the magical word privatisation.
privatisation refers to the sale of majority stake in a state owned
enterprise and with it the power to manage the enterprise.
professionals who have managed state-owned enterprises say it is
impossible for those who have never had to tailor their commercial
instincts to suit the whims of government ministers to realise just
how much it means to escape from their political masters and their
importance of the government carrying out an effective role as a
facilitator of growth rather than the engine of growth has been
recognised by a government for the first time since independence. This
augurs well for the development of the private sector.
therefore, has become a word with a considerable cachet, one that
encapsulates the advances made by state-owned industries, which have
moved into the private sector.
increased interest creates awareness amongst the general public with
regard to the benefits of share ownership. It implies streamlined and
efficient business, achieving big profits and finding better ways to
must not be forgotten that it is not merely the act of moving the
public to the private arena, which causes these things to happen. On
the contrary, it is the sustained, hard work at every level of a
company, which is required to ensure that they compete effectively.
private itself is no immediate panacea for improvement. In fact,
unaccompanied by anything strategic it would very well result in
additional travail. Privatisation according to many bureaucrats
brought a cultural revolution, bureaucratic hierarchies were broken
down, recruitment and promotion policies re-written and over and above
all this, managers were encouraged to manage.
Jefferson, a former chairman of British Telecom once said, "They
found that the quality of their people was as good as that of the
workers in the private sector, but state ownership had never allowed
them to realise their full potential."
suggests that public ownership generally leads to confused objectives
for a business, because social and commercial objectives get
intertwined to the detriment of both.
gives management a focus, but it also intoxicates the factory floor,
even in countries like Britain, where there is little record of mass
participation in equity markets and where prior to the sales of
stocks, share ownership was confined to only a tiny fraction of the
Again there is
no real magic in the reasoning; it has been found that when employees
see the management being given the right to manage, and seizing the
opportunity, they begin to respect it and respond themselves.
Chairman of Canadian Airlines once said, "I am a believer in the
idea that public companies are a lot freer to be innovative and
entrepreneurial than government-owned companies. Since we've come up
with some very innovative ideas for financing equipment. We've become
a lot more customer focused. In the long run, I believe the public
will be better served because of our privatisation."
is a success story and a big business not only for governments and
corporations concerned but for the investment banks, management,
consultants, brokers, securities houses and law firms - indeed for all
who have a part to play in keeping the financial system flexible and
Now the world
map of privatisation shows that the policy is being considered in
every corner of the world, including astonishingly in some communist
regimes such as Cuba and Poland.
In the final
analysis, some of the privatisation of our state monopolies has taken
considerable time. However; the effort in some instances has been a
However, for us
to benefit from privatisation we need to ensure that the privatisation
proceeds are channeled for capital
investments, because capital investments adds to the capacity
of the economy and thus promotes growth and on the other hand the
government's strategy to sell minority interest in any privatisation
also needs to be reconsidered.
seminar on kaizen and quality circles
of Sri Lanka Limited (MBSL) has organized a seminar on 'Improving
Productivity & Quality through Kaizen & Quality Circles' at
the Trans Asia Hotel on December 11.
Kaizen is a
Japanese technique made popular by Masaaki Imai who wrote a book
titled Kaizen the secret of Japan's competitive success and followed
it up with another book titled Gemba Kaizen.
on low cost improvements on a continual basis through the
participation of all employees.
widely implemented in Japan and Singapore and is gaining popularity in
Europe and the USA. This seminar will be conducted by Managing
Director, MBSL, Sunil G. Wijesinha.
is an expert on productivity and quality, having conducted numerous
training and consultancy assignments for leading private sector
companies (including multi-nationals) and also for public sector
boards and corporations in Sri Lanka. Wijesinha is also Sri Lanka's
only recipient of the APO National Award for Productivity.
faced by the
Sri Lankan apparel industry
Lanka's apparel exports are heavily concentrated in the two large
global markets namely, the US and EU. This brings about a heavy
dependency in terms of business risk. The industry should look at
diversifying into new markets to increase export volumes while
reducing its present dependence on two geographical regions.
system which was in existence since 1974 will be dismantled in less
than three years under WTO agreements and quota free trade will emerge
from January 1, 2005. This will bring about significant and wide
spread changes in the global trading system. The end of the guaranteed
markets, especially for those manufacturing standard garments
competing on price, will compel the industry to compete for its market
share in an intensely competitive global market.
development of trade blocks and regional preferential trade agreements
is an additional threat to the Sri Lankan apparel industry, which must
be adequately addressed by effective lobbying to obtain an equal
to be an important factor in the global apparel industry. Sri Lanka in
not as competitive as it should be due to poor labour productivity and
insufficient technological advancement. Labour productivity rates in
cost competitive countries are approximately 65% - 75%, which is
significantly high when compared to the rates of 35% - 45% present in
lead times in countries geographically closer to the US and EU are
approximately 30 - 60 days, whereas Sri Lankan manufacturing lead-time
average at 90 days. This is due to the necessity to import raw
materials for the manufacture of apparels.
The growth of
the apparel industry must be propelled by strong branding efforts. Sri
Lankan apparels must be consistently and aggressively branded to
promote its relative strengths. It is expected that many global
players will be able to deliver the basic customer expectations of
price, quality and speed. Therefore, Sri Lanka must differentiate
herself from the competition, through the provision of enhanced
services. A total service comprises of having the raw material base,
superior product development, efficient manufacturing capability,
logistical efficiency and finally providing the buyer with assistance
in the way of marketing, design or legal know-how. The model that is
therefore envisaged for the Sri Lankan apparel industry is one of
material base in Sri Lanka requires further development. The apparel
industry currently imports over 40% of its raw material requirement,
comprising of woven fabrics and accessories. The development of
apparel zones, comprising of fabric mills, washing plants, printing
and heat-sealing plants and water treatment plants will assist the
apparel industry towards providing a total service to buyers.
development in the global markets were further reinforced by the
consumers in the EU market becoming more price-conscious and
therefore, importers demanding large discounts from apparel exporters
of Asian countries. In the higher value added clothing segment,
countries such as Malaysia, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore
continued to be strong competitors for South Asian countries.
pattern and fashion in the apparel industry have changed significantly
in recent years. The pursuit of a leisurely lifestyle has caused
dramatic changes in the fashion industry shifting from structured
clothing toward casual items.
changing environment in the global market, Sri Lanka will have to
increase its market share in niche markets in Western countries and
also tie up with fashion houses. It is essential to shift to high
value added items and focus more on customer segmentation and modern
production technology to capture demand in niche markets.
There is higher
potential in the market segments of clothes for babies and children's
clothes as parents and relatives often buy in a higher price range. To
attract the consumers of these items, more prominence should be given
to modern designs. Image building campaigns and strong lobbying would
be necessary to obtain more export orders. The selection of fabrics,
delivery speed and competitive prices also play a key role in
attracting foreign demand.
have moved product development and buying decisions closer to
customer's day of purchase, resulting in smaller order quantity and
higher number of inventory turnover for the year. The vendors are
under increasing pressure to supply products at short notice. The
product replenishment lead times for a new product from order entry to
delivery has been reduced to approximately six weeks. These new
requirements are often referred to as Quick Response (QR) of Supply
Chain Management (SCM).
changes in the western retail markets have resulted in the buyers
changing the methods and time of sourcing. "Traditional
pre-season orders are being replaced by 'speed sourcing' (last minute
ordering), and more replenishment of orders (within season ordering).
The new methods of sourcing (speed/replenishment sourcing) currently
amount to 36% of apparel product sourcing budgets and are growing
rapidly. It is expected that the share for apparel will reach 52% by
2005, given the current process in implementing Supply Chain
Management (SCM) enabling technologies."
changes in sourcing patterns will pose immense challenges to the Sri
Lankan apparel industry. Reduction in traditional sourcing will
decrease Sri Lanka's core competency as only a handful of apparel
exporters in Sri Lanka have invested in SCM technologies. New
technological advancements like Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP),
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) techniques, SCM and other
business to business (B2B) software developments will have to be given
due attention. The apparel industry will have to develop their speed
sourcing and enhance their replenishment capabilities in order to be
competitive in the global arena.
- Sri Lanka
'Sisu Udana' scholarships
Bank has awarded scholarships to the students who obtained excellent
results at national and district levels at the G.C.E. O/L examination
held in December, 2001.
This year 42
students were selected by the bank for this scholarship programme,
which is implemented annually to mark the bank's anniversary.
programme the bank has provided monthly scholarships of Rs. 1250 each
for 17 students who have obtained highest marks at the national level
and Rs. 1000 each for 25 students who have obtained highest marks at
the district level. This allowance will be paid for a period of 24
children became entitled for scholarships on the basis of the
certified result sheets obtained from the commissioner of
significant feature is that these selections were made among school
candidates who appeared for the examination for the first time.
scholarship programme launched in 1993 by the People's Bank with a
view to give a fillip to higher education has been implemented
uninterruptedly during the last 10 years.
scholarship award ceremony was held at People's Bank Staff Training
College auditorium at 2:00 p.m. on December 3, under the patronage of
Minister of Human Resource Development Education and Cultural Affairs,
Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku and Minister of School Education, Suranimal
Rajapakse on the invitation of Chairman, People's Bank, Lal
completes 37 years of service
The Sri Lanka
Standards Institution (SLSI) completed 37 years of service to the
nation on December 5, thus becoming one of the oldest national
standards bodies in the region. The institution provides a wide range
of services to the business community and to the general public in the
field of standardisation and quality assurance.
certification scheme operated by the institution gives a third party
assurance to the consumer that the products bearing the SLS mark are
safe for consumption and that they provide value for money.
certification scheme operated by the SLSI
both for quality management and environmental management as per
ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 series of standards provides the business
community with a tool for cost reduction, quality improvement and for
marketing of products both at national and international levels.
development in the field of quality management is another important
activity undertaken by SLSI for providing knowledge and skills to the
staff of the business community to improve the quality of products and
persons from the business sector attend the training programs
conducted by the institution annually. The import inspection scheme
which commenced in 1986 provides protection to the local consumer and
to the local manufacturer against dumping of inferior quality goods in
the Sri Lanka market by overseas manufacturers.
testing of industrial and consumer goods, calibration of equipment and
machinery, documentation and information services are some of the
other services provided by the institution.
has a well trained professional staff of over 100 scientists
and engineers who provide a valuable contribution to the activities
undertaken by the institution and the professional staff are being
re-trained regularly to keep pace with the developments at
is also involved in the international standardisation activities both
at operational and policy levels. SLSI was represented on the
governing council of the ISO from 1999 - 2000 by its director general.
The new building complex completed at a cost of Rs. 150 million will
provide office space to carry out an extensive programme of
standardisation activities in the next 25 - 50 years.
spice route to Chile brings home canned fish curry from Delmege
distribution company Delmege Distributors has opened a new spice
route. Sri Lankan spices and condiments, the secret behind the fire in
the island's curries, are now travelling thousands of kilometers to
South America to spike a new range of table-ready canned fish curry
launched in the local market by the company last month.
and Malu Masala under the Delmege label are unique additions to the
growing range of canned Sri Lankan curries on supermarket shelves, in
that they are canned to a "specially-developed Sri Lankan
recipe" in Chile, a company spokesman said.
products are a perfect complement to the popular Delmege range of jack
mackerel in brine," Director, Delmege Distributors, Chula De
Silva said. "This value-addition to a well established product
will further enhance convenience to consumers, whose lifestyles are
increasing in pace all the time."
The launch of
the new products follows nearly 18 months of product development and
interactive trials between the Delmege product development team, the
spice supplier in Sri Lanka and San Jose Cannery in Chile, to ensure
that the products satisfy the local palates, De Silva said.
Westar watches launched
Fashions Limited, a company that deals with the latest in a series of
fast moving consumer products has introduced the latest collection of
Westar watches to the market.
Since 1992, Pee
Bee Fashions has had a close relationship with Westar brand of watches
that are available in 36 countries and in Sri Lanka for the past 10
movements in Westar watches are Swiss, some watches are made using
Japanese movements. Westar watches have a comprehensive collection of
over 7000 models up to date.
to convey the brand image to every householder in Sri Lanka as Westar
watches have shown a remarkable acceptance by the consumer as a value
for money product. Our watches range from Rs. 3000 upwards, thereby
giving the busy housewife, the working class, the student and the
active sportsman the opportunity of purchasing a high quality
watch," Managing Director, Pee Bee Fashions, Kishore Surtani
series of Westar watches come in a range of pair watches with
stainless steel, stand alone models for men with leather and metal
bands. Most of these models are fitted with either a butterfly clasp
or a double locking pushpin type clasp. The glass is made of sapphire
and the water resistance at 3 ATM.
series for women is the latest collection featuring metal band models
with intricate laced bracelets. The ladies watch also has a bracelet
type concept with changeable bezel rings to suit different moods and
styles of dressing.
watch can be worn as a bracelet like a piece of jewellery and at the
same time, the case can be reversed to show the time. For those who
prefer the leather band a barrel shaped case has been used with
coloured leather bands.
The watches in
the executive series focus on mass selling models with affordability
being the main requirements.
Amurtojoy Basuray and Tariq Khalil representing Westar watches, there
is a two year guarantee period on the Swiss movement and a one year
guarantee on the plating on the new collection of models introduced in
November and all future models.
Life trains managers for CIAM
managers of Ceylinco Life recently completed a managers skills
seminar, one of the steps leading to the Chartered Insurance Agency
Manager (CIAM) designation awarded by the Life Insurance Marketing and
Research Association (LIMRA) of USA.
This is the
first batch of insurance professionals in Sri Lanka to complete this
training, which forms a component of the highest internationally
recognised qualification for agency managers in life insurance, the
comprised regional sales managers, business development managers and
designated trainers of Ceylinco Life. The intensive five-day programme
was conducted in Colombo by Alex Au, a Bangkok based certified trainer
assigned by LIMRA International.
Ceylinco Life, Davaan Cooray said agency management in life insurance
has been identified worldwide as a specialised profession within the
industry. It covers the recruitment, training, development and
motivation of life insurance sales personnel and the management of
large professional sales teams.