Finance signs Rs. 650 mn agreement with BOI
On behalf of
the Board of Investment (BOI) Sri Lanka, Deshamanya Dr. Lalith
Kotelawala, also the Chairman, North Western Province Economic
Development Commission and on behalf of Okanda Finance (Pvt.) Ltd.
Chairman, M.B. Okanda Silva signed a BOI approved milk production
agreement on August 22 at the Vayamba Economic Development Commission
office in the presence of Enterprise Development Industrial Policy and
Investment Promotion Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris.
total cost of this project is Rs. 650 million. The first stage of this
project involving Rs. 50 million will be started under the name of
Vayamba Development Farming Corporation Ltd., at Manaweriya in
Puttalam. Director General, Vayamba Economic Development Commission,
Suraj Dandeniya and Director/General Manager, Okanda Finance (Pvt)
Ltd., Theja Dilhani Saundage and Managing Director, M.B.D. Silva also
participated in the ceremony.
Board incentives for development of manor houses
Working on a
brainchild of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Sri Lanka
Tourist Board will soon work steadfastly towards restoring Sri Lankan
old walawwas and manor houses.
unique move will open the doors wide to a centuries old civilisation
that this nation can boast of. Director, Tourist Board, Asoka Perera
said that this move is expected to benefit tourists for the coming
this new and unique move, the Tourist Board invites all potential
proprietors of manor houses and walawwas to apply for this
project. It is described as an opportunity not to be missed as the
owners will be given attractive concessions of to renovate and
refurbish attractive historic proprieties.
programme will enhance accommodation facilities in Sri Lanka without
commencing any new construction,” pointed out Perera who went on to
say that Sri Lanka is now clearly perceived as a totally safe and
amazingly diverse destination, providing the international corporate
and leisure traveller with multifaceted attractions available at close
went on to say that the objective behind this unique promotion is to
attract more upmarket FIT tourists to Sri Lanka.
said that it has been observed that the FIT market is eager to spend
their annual vacations in some exclusively and privacy and these manor
houses can provide this to perfection, he said.
living in a manor that is about 200 years old,” said Perera who went
on to speak of Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage despite being a
small island nature. “Few other nations can boast of a rich heritage
as ours,” he said.
Owners of these
manor houses who start on this project are also given a three year tax
shelters from the date they start operation and export requirements
are being considered to meet refurbishment needs.
more will benefit not merely the owners of manor houses. It will
generate employment in the vicinity and increase focus on handicraft
and self employment,” pointed out Perera.
Tourist Board also plans to put out a catalogue picturing these manor
houses rising out from the shadows of the past in a new light.
— only accredited laboratory for pesticide analysis
services group of the chemical and environmental technology laboratory
of the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) is the only accredited
laboratory in Sri Lanka for pesticide analysis with international
accreditation from the Swedish accrediting body SWEDAC for 12
pesticides that include Dieldrin, DDT, aldrin and lindane as per ISO/IEC
17025 standards since June 2002.
international accreditation allows the ITI laboratory to use the
SWEDAC logo along with the institution logo in the relevant test
reports issued, signifying that the ITI laboratory has the necessary
quality system in place and the test results generated are
scientifically valid and legally defensible.
as SWEDAC is a full member of the International Laboratory
Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and a signatory to the ILAC
agreement, more than 36 countries accept the ITI report that are a
signatory to this agreement. At present the laboratory carries out
analysis for regulatory as well as quality control purposes for the
Registrar of Pesticides as well as for industry that manufactures
pesticides formulations, mosquito coils and mats. The laboratory is
also used by the Health Department for analysis of all pesticides
imported for the anti malaria campaign.
facilities for carrying out pesticide residue analysis for over 30
pesticides in water soil and agricultural commodities, many exporters
including shrimp, fish exporters and tea exporters obtain analytical
reports for their products with respect to banned organochlorine
pesticides such as DDT, dieldrin and lindane and other commonly used
pesticides in Sri Lanka from the ITI lab.
role of the private sector
Ranil Wickre-mesinghe this week met with private sector
representatives and with some of the top business people who matter,
to discuss the way forward to usher in prosperity to all Sri Lankans,
and also to find out about their expansion plans for 2003 and beyond.
This business like move by the PM was to very clearly to tell the
private sector to get on with it, if not society and the government
would lose confidence in the private sector and that would be death to
pro private sector policies.
His advice to the captains of the private sector was, make
use of the generous incentives to expand, grow and create jobs. He
asserted that it was now, or perhaps never. The problem with the
Lankan private sector is that it lacks the maturity of a developed
market. As a result to many companies giving something back to society
is alien to their corporate culture.
If you approach chief executives of some of these large
companies for a donation to support a worthy cause he or she would
have no hesitation in saying they are not in business to do charity.
In fact, companies in Sri Lanka should embrace the role of good
corporate governance not only because it is the right thing to do, but
also because giving something back to the communities it serves would
ensure its own survival in the long term.
Furthermore, employees of companies that participate in
social work, also tends to work harder to invest in the communities
they operate. Not only is this good for business, it is also good
stewardship. Often good corporate citizenship is discussed in terms of
doing what’s right, but as educated business managers we should
believe that doing the right thing, keeping to the moral code, is a
natural by product of acting out of compassion.
Therefore, compassion uses power to serve and wealth to
expand its capacity to serve. In fact Henry Ford the father of the
auto industry once said, “A business that makes nothing but money is
a poor kind of business.” In fact, in the USA in the early 1900s,
Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller led the way for the
establishment of benevolent foundations for the distribution of
private wealth for public benefit. Though this money was relatively
small, when it was targeted creatively, its leadership value was
tremendous. The need for such initiatives in Sri Lanka cannot be more
urgent than today.
Many private sector companies don’t realise that can only
prosper in a society that is permeated by social equity and a basic
sense of fulfillment. No company operates in a vacuum and that its
success is dependent on the fulfillment of certain obligations to
society. I strongly believe that if the private sector is to become
the engine of growth in the country, they should take on more of the
community activities that the state provides.
The community’s needs are what they are ultimately
servicing through their various enterprises, and apart from anything
else it makes perfect business sense to do more for the community.
Therefore, companies that want to make itself economically superior
should also be environmentally sound and socially responsible. In
fact, many people have slammed the private industrial sector for what
they discerned as showing arrogance towards the country’s
environment and energy needs.
It goes without saying that the private sector cannot
function effectively when social tensions are riding high, also if one
thinks of the social obligations of the private sector, that it
creates an image of itself which is on the right side of the moral
values, if it fails to do so it can contribute towards it own downfall
and invite state regulation.
The private sector involvement in national affairs has become
necessary because our political leaders have failed to build
confidence, are sending the wrong signals and resting their hopes of
political power on policies that will be harmful for the country.
Today, Sri Lanka needs effective leadership more than ever
before and it is therefore necessary for the private sector to come
forward strongly to pull our nation together to cope with the
challenges of the future. In this context we should remember the
positive impact the private sector made to promote a peaceful
resolution of the ethnic conflict.
In a corporate world obsessed with maximising returns, the
question of private sector taking a lead role in social betterment
projects are rarely on corporate agendas. However research suggests
that investing in the well being of their communities are good for
Furthermore, today it is becoming increasingly difficult for
the private sector to exist and function in isolation. Our society at
last has recognised the need for our private sector to take on greater
responsibility in matters affecting our society. It make sense for the
private sector to take an intense interest and continuing interest in
public issues, because, when society disintegrates, the private sector
will find it increasingly difficult to reap the benefits of their
Our private sector has in the recent past been criticised by
its own leaders for not acting responsibly as corporate citizens and
that its activities has little social relevance, even though the
purpose of any business is to satisfy customers continuously at a
profit to itself. Large corporates in Asia have struck partnerships
with governments and community leaders to strengthen their communities
with which they do business. They have realised that their investment
is not just charity and that investing in the well being of their
communities is becoming necessary for their long-term survival. They
also know that it could benefit them by way of brand loyalty,
enhancing the long term sustainability of their investment, better
potential employees and above all that it helps create a stable
When a business is looking for an opportunity to generate
huge profits by over-pricing its products and services, then it is not
meeting its social and community responsibilities. The arbitrary price
increase prices by companies are a good example of irresponsible
On the other hand if an organisation is exploiting its
employees and vendors then it is guilty of unfair practices. We are
accustomed to thinking of the west as a materialistic society. Yet
this is what Albert Einstein had to say about the USA: “The social
conscience of the well to do is so highly developed that he considers
himself obliged as a matter of fact to place a major portion of the
wealth and often energies at the disposal of the community.”
In Sri Lanka the public’s expectations of the private
sector has changed dramatically over the past two decades. Today, more
and more Sri Lankan people seem to support regulatory reforms which
reduce government intervention in the affairs of the private sector as
long as businesses are willing to demonstrate commitment to social
Our private sector is generally branded as being only profit
oriented. There are certain sections of the private sector that
support political parties and thereby, obtaining necessary approvals
with no apparent regard for the social costs associated with a project
or a government tender. These sections of the private sector have
tarnished the good image of the larger private sector, which is
conscious of its social obligations.
From a business point of view the argument that is most often
heard in favour of a firm’s involvement in social activities is that
such activities can improve a company’s public image and help to
attract new customers, investors and better employees. It is also
argued that such activities may reduce the enactment of government
regulations, which are costly and restrictive to the management
However, it is maintained that involvement in social
activities undermines the efficiency of the corporation and misdirects
limited resources, serving only to increase costs and the price to the
customers. Another argument against it is that there is frequently a
That is to say most firms, which provide voluntary social
information in their annual reports, describe their actions in
qualitative rather than quantitative terms. Further more the private
sector has to take risks in order to give a reasonable return to the
They also have to repay the loans borrowed from banks and
also retain a portion for expansion, failure to understand this also
have led to the criticism of the private sector.
From the employer’s view a business enterprise provides its
employees with salaries and wages, so the employees are concerned with
the ability of the enterprise to generate favourable cash flows.
Nevertheless, they may be concerned with plant and product safety,
training programmes and fair business practices.
On the other hand, as a member of the community, the
employees may also be interested in the firm’s community
involvement. However, employees may see these activities as increasing
expenditure and affecting their wages and jobs. It has been pointed
out that managers have social concern but, unlike other employees,
management is in the unique position of being able to initiate social
programmes and activities.
It is generally felt that it is the role of the state to
provide welfare facilities, as the private sector contributes more
effectively to economic development. The private sector employs 60% of
the 7 million labour force and also is the biggest direct tax payer.
Therefore the revenue collected from the private sector should be
targeted more creatively for social welfare and national security,
thereby reducing the strain on the private sector.
It is time for the private sector to move away from the age
old philosophy of turning to the government for support in a crisis
and condemning the government at every opportunity for not solving
their problems, but work unitedly for the betterment of our society.
We should not forget that we have already gone through two
class-based insurgencies that virtually paralyzed the private sector.
Therefore, there is a definite need for our private sector to respond
to the call of the government to invest and grow, but equally, the
public servants, the politicians, who are responsible to the public
(who are paid from the revenue collected from the private sector and
the NGOs) and also unions to display a social conscience and join
hands for the betterment of our country.
In the final analysis, the survival of private sector firms
in the future will depend on their social and economic relevance and
if firms within the free enterprise system wish to have the free
enterprise system accepted by society and by the government, they
would have to demonstrate their social relevance in addition to the
obvious one of making profit.
launches ‘The Buzz’
innovation, driven by technological superiority and geared with a
futuristic vision, Dialog GSM once again exceeds the expectations of
its customers through the launch of the country’s first ever
customer service contact point on wheels — The Buzz.
is 40-foot long luxurious Mercedes coach. It offers customers the
convenience of paying their monthly bills, settling accounts and
checking account balances, purchasing phone units and accessories,
obtaining new connections, transferring accounts and mailing
addresses, gathering information on the latest technological
advancements and special offers from Dialog GSM and so much more under
one mobile roof.
team comprises of a committed, dynamic, proactive and efficient team
of young professionals who are more than willing to offer subscribers
the best service possible.
will travel the island and tour interior villages and towns. In this
journey, it will also conduct workshops for customers in a bid to
educate them further on the uses and benefits of mobile telephony. It
will not doubt get closer to the hearts and minds of people and give
them the opportunity of getting connected through Dialog GSM.
Manager, Marketing and Sales, Nushad Perera stated, “The Buzz is a
valuable asset to Dialog GSM in connecting deeper with the customer.
Now we can not only cater to their needs more effectively, but also
understand firsthand their communication needs and solve them
speedily. Best of all, the customer suffers no hassle as it is done
virtually at his doorstep. The Buzz will be testimony to true customer
is operated by MTN Networks (Pvt) Ltd. It is a fully owned subsidiary
of Telekom Malaysia. The company has spearheaded the mobile industry
in Sri Lanka since the late 90s, propelling it to a technology level
on par with the developed world.
company operates a 2.5 GSM network supporting the very latest in
multimedia and mobile internet services and also provides
international roaming in 130 countries.
reports healthy profit growth
Seylan Merchant Bank Limited (SMB) has reported satisfactory growth
in its financial results for the first half of 2003.
results released this week, SMB reported a consolidated pre-tax profit
of Rs. 16.7 million, a growth of 148% over the Rs. 6.7 million profits
reported in the corresponding period of 2002.
also reported a consolidated net income growth of 32% to Rs. 335.6
million while net interest income grew 70% to Rs. 56.8 million. The
bank’s pre-tax profit rose to Rs. 3.1 million from Rs. 826,487,
reflecting a growth of 271% compared to the first half of 2002.
bank has also recorded healthy growth in net income, up 35% to Rs.
280.9 million. Net interest income of the bank grew 81% to Rs. 36.7
million during the period under review.
Director/General Manager, Rohan Senanayake said the significant
factors that influenced growth in this period were the capital gains
on Treasury bond investments, improvements in IT infrastructure with
the linking of four main branches to the head office by computer and
improvements in employee productivity.
said that SMB would be focusing mainly on developing its leasing
portfolio in the future. The bank introduced a leasing product branded
‘SMB Quick Lease’ which grants a lease within 24 hours, without
the need for guarantors.
Seylan Developments improves performance
For the first six months this year Ceylinco Seylan Developments recorded an
after tax profit of Rs. 10.86 million compared with a loss of Rs.
24.39 million during the corresponding period last year. This
achievement is mainly due to an improved revenue of Rs. 85.49 million,
which is a 46% increase compared with the same period last year. Due
to the improved business climate prevailing at present made it
possible for the company to successfully negotiate with tenants a
higher rent which helped improve performance. The company also managed
the operational expenses prudently to maintain the same level as the
previous year. The reduction in interest rates has had a positive
impact on the good results achieved. The company forecast better
results during the latter half of this year with the diversification
into property development projects.
shipping service at Colombo port
line will commence its West Bound caller Bosphourus Express Service
through the Colombo port with effect from September 26. The first
vessel out of seven of the new service to call over at the Colombo
port is MV Cordonia. This is a weekly caller which is scheduled to
call every Friday. The port rotation is Colombo/Suez/Port
Said/Piraeus/Istanbul/Constantza/Odessa. The other vessels coming
under the new service are MV Carpathia, MV Douce Fiance, MV Fort
Royal, MV Fort Dasax, MV ER Brisbane and MV ER Albany. In a bid to
boost its image as the preeminent load center (hub) of South Asia, on
the advice of Ports Development and Shipping Minister, Rauf Hakeem,
Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Parakrama Dissanayake has been
spearheading a programme to boost service delivery to clients.
on post-Iraq global economy
A book titled Why
Should I Give A Damn For The Global Economy? A Pre-And Post September
11 Perspective by Gerard Dilhan Muttukumaru will be launched at 5
p.m. on September 8 at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo. This book is
on how the post-September 11 and post-Iraq global economy affect every
aspect of one’s life whether it be a student, educator, parent or a
CEO of a national or an international organisation. The author also
examines the increasingly dominant role played by teenagers and women
in the borderless economy. The author is of the view that the USA, the
west and all advanced economies, the UN and multilateral agencies can
and must be a tremendous force for good. The book is published by
Vijitha Yapa Publications. Muttukumaru’s professional expertise
includes serving as the Asia Programme Manager in the Philippines at
World Vision International and with two global financial services
organisations and as a principal with a California based international
healthcare consulting firm. In 1998 he founded the US based Centre for
Global Leadership Inc. The author has served on the faculty of
universities in the USA, having taught leadership, global management,
strategy and global marketing to managers in the MBA and professional
oral health checks from Ceylinco
Oral health will be the theme of a month-long campaign in September by the
Ceylinco Cancer Detection Centre, the only private stand-alone
facility in the country for cancer screening. Starting September 1,
the centre will offer free oral health checks to the public who call
in requesting the service. These free examinations will be by
appointment and all persons who undergo the checks would receive
special discounts on any follow up oral screening that may be
required, the centre said. “Poor oral health can lead to cancer,
which is why the Cancer Detection Centre has chosen oral health as its
theme for September,” Deputy Chairman, Ceylinco Healthcare Services
Ltd., R. Renganathan said. “Our objective is to create greater
awareness of the need for regular oral health checks.” “Betel and
tobacco chewing, smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, broken teeth,
ill-fitting dentures, poor nutrition, anemia and poor oral hygiene are
among the chief causes of poor oral health in Sri Lanka and therefore
an average individual should get an oral check done one every six
months,” Senior Medical Officer, Ceylinco Cancer Detection Centre,
Dr. Shyama Fernando said.
Bell launches new corporate logo
Lanka Bell unveiled a new corporate logo and theme — ‘Connecting You to
Limitless Possibilities’ — that represent Lanka Bell’s new
vision at a staff convention held at the Galle Face Hotel. The event
also marked the launch of an employee empowerment programme that will
harness the intellectual and emotional capital represented by the
entire staff to achieve Lanka Bell’s ambitious programme of growth.
“Underlying the new logo and theme is a company-wide programme to
upgrade all the operational aspects of our business. Our vision is to
offer all our customers limitless possibilities through the superior
features of our network and services,” said Managing Director and
CEO, Joey V. Mendoza addressing the Lanka Bell staff. “As the only
debt-free telecommunications operator in the local market, we are now
ready to make the investment needed to bring the quality and reach of
our network to the highest possible level. Every element of our new
logo reflects a vital element of our corporate vision. The red ring
represents our passionate commitment to customer service. The blue
ring represents our technological expertise. By combining these two
vitally important elements to form the mathematical symbol for
infinity, we affirm our commitment to offer all our customers infinite
possibilities to enhance their business, professionals and personal
Packard mega promotion
Hewlett Packard has recently launched a mega promotion, ‘Travel the World with
HP’ Grand Lucky Draw 2003. The three month promotion is from August
15 to November 30. Shoppers who buy any selected HP products will
stand a chance to win air tickets to dream destinations round the
world. The suite of products for this promotion is the desktops,
notebooks handhelds, laserjets, deskjets, scanjets, the all-in-ones
multifunction printers as well as the inkjet and laserjet print
selection on SIA inflight entertainment system
Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) inflight entertainment system, KrisWorld,
now features a wider selection of Chinese and Indian movies, as well
as new music channels. Movie titles for August include mandarin hits
like Honesty starring Hong Kong heart-throb Richie Ren, Hindi
blockbuster Khushi with rising stars Kareena Kapoor and Fardeen
Khan in the lead roles, and Tamil movie Yee Nee Romba Azaga Irukey.
In addition, music lovers can also enjoy an exciting array of
contemporary sounds and evergreens with an enhanced audio selection.
SIA, in a first-ever exclusive tie-up with United Kingdom’s Ministry
of Sound, introduces a new dance music channel called Adrenalin,
hosted by renowned disc jockeys like Jakatta and Sandy Rivera, and
showcasing cutting-edge dance club beats.
tank farm at Kotahena a time bomb
been making representations to the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) for
a long time that the huge fuel storage tanks of Lanka Marine Services
Ltd. (LMS) at Kotahena and over one kilometre of leaky pipe lines that
carry fuel oil for sale to ships in the Colombo harbour are not only
50 years old, but some were considered bad at the time PERC called for
bids for the sale of the shares.
are being made to hide behind the environmental protection licence
which is issued for this installation. This should not be considered
as an approval for carrying out this activity/process at this
stipulated in the licence that “the licence is only a permit for the
discharge of effluent/emissions and emitting of noise levels according
to stipulated standards. The written approval of the relevant local
authority (Pradeshiya Sabha, Urban Council, and Municipal Council)
should be obtained for the operation of the installation/activity at
annual licences are issued with a validity of one year only.
the wholly owned subsidiary of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) that
took over these tanks that were built by the Shell Company in 1948.
location of the tanks in a highly populated area like Wall Street,
Kotahena, has angered not only environmentalists but also people who
value other people’s life. The photographs and the survey map show
the extent to which the area immediately next to the tanks is densely
map shows the congested housing situation surrounding the 30,000
tonnes of fuel tanks as it stood in 1982. The congestion now is even
worse. The close proximity of the tanks to the adjacent housing is
shown in the photographs.
Keels (JK) was the only company willing to pay Rs. 1.2 billion for 90%
of LMS, 16 others who were pre-qualified by PERC to bid withdrew from
the sale due to the dangerous location of the tanks, the environmental
problems faced due to the leaking pipes, the corroded tanks and the
high floor price asked for by the seller.
CPC chairman when questioned about why the tanks and pipes were not
repaired during their ownership when LMS was making good profits, said
that they did not want to put any money into the tank farm at Kotahena
as it was not considered prudent to continue developing a fuel storage
facility in a highly populated area like Kotahena — the construction
of the fuel tank farm at in the isolated area of Muthurajawela was
considered the safest.
past 50 years since the tanks and the pipelines were built, the
Kotahena population has increased to such an extent that there are now
thousands living within a few feet of the facility. Perhaps it is the
CMC that should not have given permission for the houses to be built
so close to an inflammable storage facility.
it is a fact that the houses and the people are there for good, and
will continue to live next to a possible towering inferno.
the tanks is the only option for a responsible blue chip company like
John Keels to do. However LMS was the biggest earner in the JK group
during the last two quarters and as such, public interest is likely
fade into the background in the midst of these huge earnings.
granted BOI concessions in March this year even though no new business
was generated there. Believe it or not, this 10-year-old company was
given BOI concessions only because JK bought shares of the company for
a large sum of money.
effect on the national economy due to these BOI approvals is the
depletion of taxes collected previously from the same enterprise —
the Rs. 1, 200 million collected on the sale of LMS being lost on the
non payment of taxes by LMS in about four years.
precedent to this is quoted as being the sale of the Steel Corporation
to the Koreans, which was also given BOI concessions many years ago.
That of course entailed the inflow of new dollars to the country.
If this is
taken to its logical end there could be financial institutions or
individual heavy weights like Dhammika Perera who could go round
purchasing shares of any and all the companies in Sri Lanka for large
sums of money and bestowing on all these companies all the BOI
concessions and selling them off after the conversion.
This is in
spite of the clarification that PERC gave to the other bidders at the
time of the sale of LMS shares as follows:
of shares of an existing company is not considered new investment by
the BOI for concessions,” stated a PERC document dated May 8, 2002
minutes of pre-bid conference on April 30, 2002.
obtaining these concessions LMS even obtained clearance/approval for
the Kotahena site from the BOI whose engineers are normally very
strict about the fire gaps, surroundings and precautions regardless of
the traditional authorities being lax due to “one reason or
other.” Perhaps the BOI is also taking the “one reason or other”
route in its approvals.
next board chairman of JK is expected to be the one who pulls in the
biggest profits for the group, those leading LMS may not be losing
sleep over the safety of the Kotahena population.
where the pipeline runs is so congested that LMS was unable to repair
the leaky pipes that were laid over 50 years ago as there are now a
large number of shanties built over the pipelines leading from
Kotahena to the Colombo harbour.
situation remains unchanged with oil leaking from the pipes finding
its way underground water-table every day.
about time that the CMC or the Environmental Authority took action to
relocate the fuel oil tank farm in a more appropriate area in which
the fire gaps can be maintained and located in a remote unpopulated
that is not expected to know about the preset safety standards in the
petroleum industry should employ consultants to ensure that industry
safety standards are maintained for the sake of the thousands of
rate-payers who live around these fuel tanks.
and precautions to take in the running of fuel oil tank farms is
clearly spelt out in the codes of the American Petroleum Institute
(API) and the codes of the National Fire Prevention Authority, that
all those in the petroleum industry adhere to.
familiar with the API and NFPA codes say not only are very the basic
codes not complied with but that even the municipality laws are not
complied within and outside the premises of LMS.
not have to be an expert in petroleum codes to be able to visualise
the tragedy that would result in this highly populated area if and
when an incident like the 1996 Kolonnawa oil installation should take
about time that the honest officers of the municipality started acting
with some responsibility. The
chairman of the BOI too should visit this site and see for himself the
potential tragedy that his officers have approved.
more appropriate in a populated area such as this with no open spaces
would be a play ground and community centre and not a life threatening
fuel storage facility.
brings hope for women in the north
National Development Bank (NDB) and Seva Lanka Foundation officials
visited the northern part of Sri Lanka recently to conduct a needs
assessment study prior to implementation of project which the NDB will
manage on behalf of the World Bank and government of Sri Lanka.
from NDB comprised of Senior Manager, SME Development, Ranjith
Abeywardena, Senior Executive, SME Development, M.R. Sarath Doranegoda
and Manager, Anuradapura Branch, Manjula Goonatilake while Kaushalya
Navaratne, V.K. Illanko and A.E. Anandarajah represented Seva Lanka.
visiting team stopped at Sinnamadu in Kytes, Colombuturai in Jaffna,
Wallipuram in Vadamarachchi and Attaria in Thenmarachchi. They were
warmly welcomed in all these villages by the women development
associations that are in initial stages of operation.
Lanka Foundation, a non governmental organisation engaged in
resettlement and women empowerment in the northern and eastern parts
of the island, coordinated these visits.
has signed a MoU with the Seva Lanka Foundation operating in the north
and east, who will carry out the grassroot level implementation. The
three districts identified in the north and east will receive Rs. 42.0
mn under this grant.
project is titled ‘Empowering the Poorest of the Poor Women and
Girls in Sri Lanka’ and is to be funded through a grant of US$
900,000 made available to the government of Sri Lanka from the Japan
Social Development Fund.
Bank in its administration capacity of the fund selected the NDB as
the project consultant as NDB has been the apex organisation for the
implementation of several projects dealing with small, medium and
micro financing enterprises.
One of the
key objectives of the project is to assist the most vulnerable groups
of women and girls in the Vavuniya, Jaffna and Trincomalee districts
of the north and east to strengthen their income generating capacities
and enhance female participation in economic activities.
Dispensers in Sri Lanka
of the newest
industries to reach Sri Lanka has become the manufacturer of Fourcourt
dispensing pumps for petrol and auto diesel. Balvin Dispensers (Pvt)
Limited, a joint venture company between Balvin Inc., UK and Serendib
Engineering and Agencies (Pvt) Limited, Sri Lanka, has been set up as
a BOI company for the manufacture of Fourcourt fuel dispensers.
production has already commenced in Sri Lanka and in excess of 10
dispensers have been manufactured locally and supplied to the UK.
Balvin Inc. are a well known international player in the market for
dispensing equipment along with other well known brands such as Wayne,
Tokhaim, Gilbarco etc.
is the first time a precision electronic mechanical unit of this
nature has been manufactured in Sri Lanka for the export market. The
Balvin dispensers manufactured locally are to the highest
international standards thereby being able to break into the
sophisticated European and North American market sectors.
dispensers manufactured in Sri Lanka range from the units with an
electronic display of units incorporating PC control, incorporating
sales software which are now universally used in all developed
local value addition consists of not only assembly the units, also
manufacture of components.
local company expects over a period of time to gradually expand the
volume of locally manufactured input to 70% of the components required
for the dispensers.
is a well established name worldwide and during a recent journey in
Sri Lanka approx. 150 miles out of Colombo a Balvin dispensing pump
was seen operating in a remote petrol station in Sri Lanka.
Dispensers (Pvt) Limited together with their joint venture partner
Balvin Inc., are also consistently pursuing new developments in the
search of excellence and accuracy in its products and will shortly be
bringing out new variations of dispensing equipment which are tailor
made to suit specific requirements in various territories.
Insurance achieves record revenue
Ceylinco Insurance Co. Ltd. has reported a record Rs. 3
billion in total revenue in its first half yearly financial statement,
indicating a growth of 35% or Rs. 771 million.
This is the highest turnover for a first half-year in the
history of the company. This
figure represents the premium income of both the life and general
The company’s profits before taxation in the consolidated
financial statement stood at Rs. 30.9 million as per published
accounts, reflecting a growth of 12% over the corresponding period
last year, while its life fund grew to Rs. 8 billion at the end of
The growth of the life fund from Rs. 6 billion at the end of
June 2002 to Rs. 8 billion at the end of June 2003, a 33% increase
underlines the strength and stability of Ceylinco Insurance, the
company’s Director/General Manager (Life), R. Renganathan said.
He said the company sold more than 42,000 new life policies
in the half year under review, at a healthy average of 7000 a month,
which is a tribute to the professionalism and motivation of its sales
staff. In 2002, Ceylinco Life recorded the highest volume of new
business in the life insurance industry.
Ceylinco Insurance Company Limited has maintained its
reputation for excellence in providing service to policyholders of
both life and general divisions.
Ceylinco Insurance recently launched ‘On the Spot’ claim
settlement for its ‘VIP Motor Insurance’ customers, which created
a major impact in the market. This is the first time that such a
scheme was launched in Sri Lanka.
Ceylinco Insurance Co. Limited was ranked the number one
insurer in 2002 and was ranked 17 amongst the top 50 companies in Sri
Lanka by the Lanka Monthly Digest magazine.
“If there are no givers, there can’t be
us stop for a moment and think who is responsible for corruption. It
is the giver. Without a giver, there cannot be a taker. Therefore the
Bribery Commission must go after the givers and not the takers. The
takers will gradually disappear when open and transparent procedures
are adopted and every bit of information is made available to the
tenderers on the worldwide web,” said Chairperson, People’s Bank,
Sumi Senanayake Moonesinghe in a speech at the Rotary Club of Colombo
West luncheon meeting. Following are excerpts:
10 years since I last addressed this august assembly on the
development of Trincomalee to be the gate way to South Asia, to access
the 1.5 billion people across the Palk Straits. I am sure all of you
realise the viability of a six lane super highway from Colombo to
Trinco and hope someone from the private sector will start this
want to share my views on my pet subject — Knowledge economy.
All of you
have read Alvin Toffler, the futurist author’s books, where he spoke
of the third wave, future shock.
nations sell information, innovation, management, culture, advanced
technology software, education ,training, medical care, and financial
services and military protection.
complex new system requires more and more information exchange among
its unit companies, government agencies, hospitals, associations and
even individuals. This creates a ravenous need for computers, digital
telecommunications networks and new media.
though the initial cost of computers, software, information and
telecommunications may be high, the capital needed to do the same job
is less. Human capital has replaced dollar capital. Knowledge becomes
the ultimate substitute. Let us catch up on this revolution.
we as responsible people in society done to meet these challenges?
World Bank and the IMF give us any assistance, it is tied up to us
meeting certain goals specified by them. Liberalise, open the economy,
level the playing field with no protectionism, down size and retrench
staff, etc, etc.
for the recent power failure in the east coast of the US and Canada,
is still being investigated. Imagine when the electricity grids of
south Asia are all connected which has to happen during the next 10
years. While we are in this first wave world without the knowledge to
handle such a complex matter, how will we cope? Has the ADB who is
handling the unbundling of the CEB sent our young engineers to the
west for training to acquire this knowledge?
so much debate about developing our stock market. Have we been able to
come up with anything new, such as mortgage backed securities, real
estate investment trusts, capital guaranteed notes swap deposits? We
are waiting for the foreign banks, who possess the knowledge of these
money market instruments globally, to launch these new products or
train our local staff in the knowledge they lack, in return for the
market share they have accessed without much effort.
expertise in the preparation of bankable documents on the priority
projects identified by the government to attract foreign funds. At a
time when word stock markets are under performing and interest rates
are so low for deposits, any fund manager will look at long term
investments, if only we have bankable documents.
complaints from every sector of society how the bureaucracy is
blocking and deliberately delaying and placing obstacles in the way of
progress. Having been exposed to government service in the last eight
months, I can defend them because they are governed by a set of rules
and regulations which have not been amended for decades.
I want to do something in the bank the way I was used to in the
private sector, I am told I have to obtain approvals under the Finance
Act, Banking Act, BOC Ordinance, etc., etc., and these take a long
time. The chambers must come forward and help the government to revamp
this red book. Government officials must be sent to Harvard’s
Kennedy School of Government, Wharton and Oxbridge, etc. to learn the
latest management techniques and negotiating skills.
private sector is investing in technology, in supply chain management
for just in time delivery, all that is of no use if you are dependent
on a decision from the government which may take even a year. I know
that tenders have gone on for as much as two years. By this time
technology has changed, prices have come down and you have missed an
opportunity that may never come back.
can’t tender evaluations be transparent, display the entire
proceedings on the web and ask the tenderers to point out if you have
made any mistakes in your evaluation? If you adopt this open
transparent method, there is no need to bribe from the peon upwards to
find out what’s going on.
and government officials are awfully afraid of the newspapers and
readers are waiting for the next bit of sensational news about a
government tender. As a result, everything is delayed because no one
is willing to take a decision. What’s the solution to this?
us stop for a moment and think who is responsible for corruption. It
is the giver. Without a giver, there cannot be a taker. Therefore the
Bribery Commission must go after the givers and not the takers. The
takers will gradually disappear when open and transparent procedures
are adopted and every bit of information is made available to the
tenderers on the worldwide web.
government has appointed private sector managers to key institutions
and we see very positive reports. Let us not kill their enthusiasm and
instead make a concerted effort to assist them to install private
sector management techniques by redrafting the rules and regulations
to suit the new millennium. We are a very clever people excelling in
every field internationally but collectively failed. Have we pondered
to think why?
cannot flow back. We are in a global village and we cannot control
this momentum of globalisation. But who is studying the shadows of
globalisation and taking action to minimise them? What has WTO done to
the third world?
impressed when the privatised state owned entities are turned around
by the foreign managers because of the knowledge they brought in with
them and the human resources needed. I am sure if we give the same
autonomy to our people coupled with the freedom to access the
knowledge by paying market salaries, we will be able to achieve the
are we unwilling to invest in our most valuable asset, the educated
youth, who will grasp the third wave effortlessly? Human resource
development must first begin with the public sector and sector reforms
must be installed on priority basis.
related reward systems must be in place and we must give all the
incentives for our young executives who have experience in the
knowledge economy to return, to help our nation to embrace this third
wave without much conflict.
We need to
invest a very large sum of money to access this knowledge if we are to
survive. But we are not allowed to spend because of the outdated rules
and regulations we are burdened with. If we calculate the total sum of
money spent as management fees and consultancy fees, I am sure if that
money is invested in exposing our clever youth to access this
knowledge, we can at least expect a return on that investment within
the next five years.
of knowledge workers should be publicised and promoted extensively. In
these activities it is possible for a knowledge worker to be based in
SL but undertake the relevant activity in another part of the global
cyber village while even serving a customer from another part of the
world. We need to retrain our work force.
happy to see the government allocating Rs. 1 billion for English
education. Why do we wait for the state to do all this? The private
sector must lead. Even though we are very late in linking ourselves to
this knowledge economy, it is now possible to leap frog to the
our immediate problem we must lobby with the government to recruit Sri
Lankans working overseas to return to our country and pay them the
market salaries and incentivise them by assuring empowerment so that
they do not get frustrated in trying to beat the system that is so
hierarchical and old fashioned. We must first create the proper
environment to entice them.
I am sure
if we recruit these skilled people as middle managers in the public
sector after installing the administrative service reforms and empower
them fully with accountability, these people can be the change agents.
We hear of many Sri Lankan achievers all over the world. Have we
stopped to think why they can’t achieve their full potential here?
personally do not agree that privatisation is the only answer. Who is
the owner of HSBC or CITI bank or GE? Ownership changes daily on the
stock exchange. It’s the management team that matters. When you
select a stock to purchase, you are buying the CEO and his team, who
are capable of enhancing shareholder value.
sector can be made to compete with private like in Singapore if the
administrative reforms create the proper environment. Why should we
sell our assets at a depressed price? Why can’t we enhance the value
through professional management and then broadbase ownership by
listing? Let us emulate the Singapore government Temasek holdings
concept by transferring the shares of all the revenue generating
SOE’s to a holding company with a mandate to maximise shareholder
value and then list them.
must be given for skills input where ever necessary until we train our
people. We must invest in our youth. Never have so many been able to
travel, to communicate and to learn so much from other cultures. We
must as a first step launch the widest possible public debate over the
need for a new administrative and political system attuned to the
needs of the third wave.
conferences, TV programmes, contests and simulation exercises to
generate the broadest array of imaginative proposals for restructuring
our educational system and to unleash an outpouring of fresh ideas.
The responsibility for change therefore lies with us. This means
fighting off the idea-assassins who rush forward to kill any new
suggestion on grounds of its impracticality, while defending the
current status quo. We have a destiny to create.
leaving you with all these thoughts, which I am sure all of you have
had before, but now it is time for action and can we all pool our
resources and begin the change at least now for our children to
inhabit a better country than what we live in.
— a guru in advertising
good things need no advertisement, so it is with Sonal Dabral, Ogilvy
and Mathers’ Managing Director and Executive Creative Director from
O&M in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
spontaneous and soft spoken, Dabral’s keen eye for soft detail is
portrayed in the way he speaks and even in the way he appreciates and
lives his daily life.
product must come out in a certain light. People have to be told about
the benefits of the product and what to expect,” said Dabral, the
man behind strong creative messages such as Milo, Ponds, etc.
Dabral has not only reached out and touched the world with his
creativity, but has reached a peak of appreciation at Ogilvy and
Mather. His ability has touched where it matters and unexpectedly in
his own career too. Today he is considered a guru in the
international advertising arena.
the first ever conference of the region’s advertising heavy weights,
Sonal Dabral’s visit to Sri Lanka and his appreciation of the beauty
of this land makes Sri Lankans aware of the wonder of their own
the setting run and the palm trees and the water in Sri Lanka. It is
not that I have not seen this scene elsewhere in the world. It is just
that in Sri Lanka it is so different and so tranquil,” said Dabral.
one is in Sri Lanka there is a feeling that there is a lot of water
around,” pointed out Dabral. Dabral’s recent Milo commercial too
starts out with school girls and dolphins.
Dabral is an extension of nature — he wants to create, to touch
people to tell them the benefits — he likes water, he likes colour,
and it is no wonder that a born creater as Dabral has made his mark at
Ogilvy and Mather.
various speakers from many planners in the region too, including three
visitors from New York —Ogilvy and Mather’s Worldwide Head of
Planning, Tony Wright, Emma Gilding who runs the Discovery Unit and
Richard Welch who recently started Crystal, an Ogilvy company leading
edge trends are a few other names that were associated with this
Chairman, Phoenix Ogilvy Pvt. Ltd., Irvin Weerakody, “Sri Lanka is
proud to host conference of this scale and magnitude. This event is of
huge significance for a number of reason. Firstly, from a national
perspective it means that people around the world are willing to put
behind the negative perspectives brought about by decades of
now recognise the potential of the Sri Lankan market and are giving it
due importance as a market of reckoning in the future. For advertising
here, it could not have been better. The exposure our professionals
will receive on account of this conference is tremendous.”
directors, planners and regional business directors numbering over 100
attended this conference described as the “biggest and first
ever.” There delegates from 20 countries across the region converged
for this five day conference to evaluate strategies, creative concepts
and share the latest trends in advertising and brand building in the
various markets across Asia.
2003 — focus on Sapphires
Facets 2003 is the gem and jewellery show of Sri Lanka.
Promoted by the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) in
association with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) this
exhibition is scheduled to be held from September 8 to 10 at the
Facets 2003 is the 13th in the continuous series of
exhibitions that has been held to promote Sri Lanka as a prime source
of gem stones in the world. The theme of Facets 2003 will be ‘Blue
and More — direct from the source.’
Sri Lanka will pay special emphasis on promoting the Sapphire
family of gem stones for Facets 2003 as they are the only source known
in the world for the best natural untreated Blue Sapphire stone.
Sri Lanka is also known for supplying blue sapphire stones to
royalty around the world during the past centuries. Facets 2003 is now
established in the international calendar of events of the gem and
Among the range of stones on display at Facets 2003 will be
rubies, padparadschas, alexandrite, cats eyes, star sapphires, star
rubies garnets, spinels, topaz, aquamarine and moon stones among
others, while the blue, pink, yellow and orange sapphires are expected
to add extra glamour to this memorable event. According to Chairman,
Facets 2003, Macky Hashim, this year there are approximately 80 stall
holders of which nearly 25% are foreign participants.
“For the first time we have the participation from a
Colombian emerald company besides participation from countries such as
Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia,
Taiwan, Thailand, Hong Kong, India and Europe among others. We have
also received bookings of delegations from India, Japan, Bangkok, Hong
Kong, Europe and the US to visit Facets 2003,” said Hashim.
Visitors to Facets 2003 will be treated to a wide selection
of modern jewellery designed especially for the international market.
Commenting on Facets 2003, Carlos Suarez of Carib Emerald
Ltd., Bogota, South America, said he is delighted to participate in
this event. He is sure his visit will interest many other dealers from
the American continent to take part in the future events.
Another significant step forward of Facets 2003 will be the
availability of a web portal for the Sri Lankan gem and jewellery
centres at Sathosa outlets bring internet to the people
“By opening MiniBell Centres at Sathosa outlets, Lanka Bell
is making a very valuable contribution to the ‘e-Sri Lanka’
initiative. Lanka Bell’s very low call charges combined with
affordable IT and internet access rates are enabling people in
outstation areas to reap the educational and vocational benefits that
connectivity can bring to their daily lives,” said Commerce and
Consumer Affairs Minister, Ravi Karunanayake at the opening of the
MiniBell Centre at the Sathosa outlet in Batticaloa.
‘E-Sri Lanka’ is the Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) initiative within the ‘Regaining Sri Lanka’
programme, set up to enable people all over the country to reap full
benefits of the new digital economy.
MiniBell Centres has been opened at 10 Sathosa outlets so far
in Colombo and outstations. People in Batticaloa, Buttala and Kandy
are the most recent beneficiaries of the MiniBell Centre services,
which include internet access, local and IDD calls and faxes, computer
games, printouts, BellKards for IDD calls from any telephone, new
Lanka Bell connections, bill payments, etc. Both the MiniBell Centre
and the Sathosa outlet in Batticaloa are served through a Lanka Bell
VSAT satellite connection — the first of its kind outside the Jaffna
peninsula, after Jaffna, point Pedro, and Neliady. “We are very
proud to play a pioneering role in reducing the ‘digital divide’
between people in Colombo and the outstations,” says Managing
Director and CEO, Lanka Bell, Joey V. Mendoza.