BOI allegation boomerangs
Board of Investment (BOI) last week dismissed allegations made by
President Chandrika Kumaratunga that the institution had squandered
millions of rupees over the last two years.
story that emerges is that the President during the People's Alliance
(PA) regime had used the BOI as a tool to achieve her own political
ends," said Chairman, BOI, Arjunna Mahendran, speaking to The
Sunday Leader, refuting allegations in the state media last week that
the BOI had squandered Rs. 990 million.
alleges the Auditor General's observations in the annual report of the
BOI for the year 2002 had been quoted verbatim and reproduced along
with a few adjustments.
to Mahendran, of the Rs. 990 million referred to by the President,
more than 90% had been expended due to contracts entered into during
the PA regime.
2002 report had been released in mid 2003 and its evaluation after a
lapse of nearly a year was seen by the BOI as a politically motivated
reaction. "In fact, the Auditor General's report for 2003 is in
its draft form at the moment, so the publication of this at this
juncture points to it being politically geared. It is totally because
of the elections in an effort to sling mud at the government,"
bulk of the Rs. 990 million has been spent in the form of subsidies to
investors, amounting to around Rs. 430 million, in the less developed
areas such as Hambantota and Polgahawela. "These were areas where
investors were reluctant to go and therefore we had to give them a
cash incentive. This was basically an interest free loan, and they are
repaying the loans at the moment," Mahendran said.
second highest expenditure had been with regard to the relocation of
expenditure was made again during the PA regime but the justification
was that no one was willing to take up this building for rent because
of the war situation at the time. The BOI created a lot of confidence
by taking up 10 floors of the building and has made the property
two are the largest expenditures, which total up to around Rs. 760
than Rs. 27 million had been spent on the filling up of the old rock
quarry at Madapatha, on the basis that people could buy the land and
build houses on it. "Instead of filling it up with sand, the
senior management had got it filled with garbage. The whole place was
permeated with an unholy stench. As a result the villagers just
refused to let us go there after a while."
funds closing on Rs. 20 million spent on the Muthuwadiya bridge has
gone to waste, a project uncompleted.
on the eve of the 2001 elections, that is on October 31, 2001, a
contract was entered into with a British advertising agency for Rs. 2
million for advertising in the Financial Times. "It was done very
clearly in view of the elections by the President. In advertising with
the most expensive business journal, she wished to raise her profile.
Fortunately most of the advertisements were never carried. But almost
Rs. 2 million was spent on it," explained Mahendran.
report on setting up a global logistics hub was called for to rival a
project planned to start in conjunction with Marks & Spencer by
then member of the opposition and now Commerce Minister, Ravi
Karunanayake. "They actually got one of Marks & Spencer's
logistics people to leave and gave him Rs. 13 million to write a
report on how the BOI could start up a global logistics hub. That
report is still here. It never got off the ground," stated
2000, the old textile mill at Pugoda, was being converted into an IT
centre with an expenditure totalling more than Rs. 13 million.
Mahendran questioned as to why the President would want to invest in
an IT centre at the time since IT could not be expected to flourish in
a place like Pugoda because it was too far away from the city and
lacked the basic infrastructure. He added, "now we have got the
largest textile manufacturer in Singapore, South Asia Textiles
Industries to take over the site and revive the textile mill."
to Mahendran, when he took over at the beginning of 2002, the BOI
found out that the land at Ja Ela purchased from Sri Lanka Telecom at
a cost of Rs. 28.4 million had been distributed free among the people
in the area. The BOI had to repossess some of the land and it is now
handed over to Ceylinco and Nivasie for housing development.
money spent on the IT park at Kamburuptitya amounting to more than Rs.
27 million is a complete waste. This project is completely
dormant," Mahendran added.
the Rs. 990 mn expenses highlighted, the following have been
incurred during the PA regime
incentive programme for investors in difficult areas - Rs.
of the BOI at the WTC - Rs. 331.250 mn
of 251 acres of land from SLT - Rs. 28.4 mn
up of IT park at Kamburupitiya - Rs. 27. 407 mn
solid waste landfill project - Rs. 27.164 mn
bridge - Rs. 20 mn
up of IT centre at Pugoda - Rs. 13.395 mn
on setting up a global logistic hub - Rs. 13.127 mn
supply to the Horana export processing zone - Rs. 3.3 mn
in the global edition of the Financial Times - Rs. 1.731 mn
over proposed 'mixed economy'
Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema and Shehan Moses
the launching of the election manifestos of the country's two main
political parties - the UNF and the UPFA - the public together with
the business community has voiced concern over the country's progress
in the future.
feared that the country might yet again experience the dark era from
1970-1977, complete with shortages and queues if a mixed economy is
reintroduced to the country as proposed by the UPFA in its election
manifesto. Sri Lanka, which was performing well economically made vast
strides in GDP growth - from minus 1.5% in 2001 to an estimated 5.5%
in 2003. Inflation too saw a decline from 14.2% in 2001 to 9.6% in
this growth has been in the balance for the past few months with the
country experiencing a turbulent political environment.
Monetary Fund (IMF) Resident Representative, Jeremy Carter told The
Sunday Leader that the country had developed in several areas
including the economy in the last two years. He noted that the country
had done very well with regard to macro economic growth resulting in
positive movements in the economic process.
to Carter, the ongoing peace process has also played a key role in the
country's development process. "It's a cycle and everything is
connected," he said.
said that any government that comes to power on April 2 should
continue with the present development programmes. He said that
whatever government should ensure steady economic growth; along with
growing interest rates while fiscal deficits should be reduced.
according to Carter, the internal problems experienced during the last
three months has resulted in various economic problems as uncertainty
in a country would not help sustain high levels of economic growth.
noted that there should be progress in improving performance of the
public sector. He said that public enterprises should be made to
perform more efficiently in case the government does not wish to
privatise them. He also noted that a government should give priority
to governance than engage themselves in businesses. An aspect of
governance apart from the public sector is the introduction of
reiterated that in order to prosper, the country should be more
productive, adding that the country presently has all ingredients to
make things work.
of the Board of Investment (BOI), Arjunna Mahendran told The Sunday
Leader that the promises of the UPFA manifesto are very unrealistic
and contradictory. He said the manifesto makes many promises such as a
large number of subsidies and other related incentives but the
question arises as to funding.
pointed out that the UPFA does not give a clear picture on how it will
deliver on these promises and the fundings for this. Speaking about
the proposed labour related issues of the UPFA manifesto, Mahendran
said Sri Lanka has the best labour laws and this makes it the most
friendly region in the world for Foreign Direct Investment( FDI).
warned that if the trade unions in this country are made powerful, it
may create unrest and the country may lose large scale foreign
investments since the investors would seek other destinations for
investment purposes, which would create many job losses.
said that unlike the UPFA manifesto, the UNF manifesto is "very
realistic." He was of the view that it would be possible for the
UNF to create three million jobs as promised. According to Mahendran,
last year the BOI only created 45,000 jobs and about 100,000 jobs were
created by non-BOI companies. He believes that around 200,000 jobs may
be created this year.
to The Sunday Leader, Nalini Perera (housewife), feared that an
introduction of a mixed economy would definitely be a return to the
dark era of 1970-1977. "All we had were queues and shortages in
everything. People didn't have anything to eat or even wear."
According to Perera, while the general public was deprived of going
abroad, the people in power made sure their children were educated
had to eat sweet potato and manioc. Children didn't have milk to
drink. Having a wedding during that period was awful with a lot of
restrictions," she said. However, Perera said that reverting back
to such an era would mean that Sri Lanka would never be able to raise
its head, adding that the country would forever remain in the dark.
Haleem (shopkeeper) said that he has had enough of local politics.
"Everyone is good at making promises, but when it is time to keep
them, they all seem to suffer from amnesia," he said. However, he
mentioned that from what he has seen so far, the country did seem to
be on the right path for the past two years, adding that now people
would, as always, have to wait and see. "There was no war and the
country was doing well. People even had the freedom to strike and in
most cases get what they wanted," he said.
to Menik Perera (housewife), "It is sad to see that the country's
politicians are more interested about their welfare rather than the
actual development of the country." Perera went on to say that it
is sad that leaders today lack true leadership qualities. "How
can they be leaders when they are not in a position to be
respected?" she questioned.
for the manifestos of the two main political parties, Perera felt that
they were both filled with beautiful promises, which only needed to be
kept. However, she said that the past two years have been better than
what the country has experienced
Walk the talk
PA-JVP alliance has been screaming that the UNF is corrupt to the
core, forgetting that the PA was labelled as one of the most corrupt
administrations in our post independence, whilst the JVP has been
accused of murder, robbery and destroying state property. None of
these parties therefore have the credibility to accuse each other of
without slinging mud at each other, these parties should leave it to
the people to vote those corrupt politicians out of office.
psychology of corruption in developing countries like Sri Lanka is
deeply ingrained in the collective minds of an impoverished society.
a respected President Counsel said, "Corruption in countries is
due to weak legal institutions, poor enforcement mechanisms, vague and
complex laws and regulations and too many discretionary powers at
various levels of government" had perpetuated the culture of
thinks everybody else is taking bribes, which generally disables any
effort at enforcement of the law. The Commission to Investigate
Allegations of Bribery or Corruption was mooted by Act No. 19 of 1994
by the PA government nine years ago. However, nothing significant has
been achieved after so many years.
raises the question whether it is just a another political tool of
successive governments with no political will to investigate and
syndrome of demand driven bribery and corruption has always remained
an essential part of the affairs of the state. Kautilya, the adviser
to the Mouryan Emperor, Chandragupta of India had observed in 300 BC
that governrnent ministers should always be under scrutiny through a
spy network, to prevent them from embezzling state funds. Just as it
is not possible to know whether a fish is swimming in the water or
drinking it, so it is impossible to know when officials in charge of
state enterprises are misappropriating monies.
of power, inefficiency, corruption and mismanagement are identified as
the four factors that made the people vote against the PA government
in 2001. It is also a fact that the PA manifesto even in 1994 promised
to wipe out bribery and corruption that had prevailed during the UNP
regime. It is common knowledge how the Bribery Commission has become a
is an impediment to growth as corruption discourages investment.
Corruption increases the cost of doing business, hampers development
the country is to develop, we have to attract and encourage
investment. Then we need to eliminate graft from top to the bottom and
not the other way around. Such efforts however may prove hazardous.
are the Sinhala audio tape Commisana, explaining the transfer of funds
to a party coffer by a Sri Lankan tycoon, published by Satana Editor,
Rohana Kumara which cost him his life (the murder to this day remains
unresolved), the Thawakkal affair concerning the privatisation of the
Puttalam Cement Factory, allegations have also been made in respect of
the Galle Harbour development project, sale of Shell Gas, LATEC bus
deal, the privatisation of the Steel Corporation, the Ruhunu
fertiliser factory, BOC building, fisheries, bus privatisation,
lotteries and so on.
who come into politics must be free of corruption," says the
President but the PA administration sold Air Lanka (now SriLankan
Airlines) to Emirates Airlines despite public criticism.
seem to be an unsavoury nexus between investors such as casino owners
and the prevailing vice and crime rate.
is a well-known fact that criminals and army deserters enjoy the
patronage of leading politicians. So much so that one former defence
minister announced that the amnesty for army disasters would be
strictly enforced and those found harbouring deserters will be dealt
with by the law.
however, failed to mention that there was an exception to the above
rule - that cabinet ministers were exempt. Such double standards had
severely crippled any effort at cutting the slack for those who
responsible for encouraging or accepting bribes and bribe giving.
of the development projects mentioned above particularly where land
alienation, power and energy or educational authorities were involved
it promises to be nightmare experience for the foreign investor who
plans to start up projects. Based on the findings of a survey
undertaken in 2001/2002 by Transparency International, the Sri Lanka
Police has been labelled the most corrupt.
in order are the health and education sectors followed by power and
energy and land administration. Not withstanding the rhetoric, whoever
wins the April 2 election has to bring in an enforcement mechanism
which will ensure the implementation of the laws that are already in
view is supported by the findings of the above survey where nearly 59%
of the more than 2000 people surveyed were of the same opinion.
factor which causes the vicious cycle of bribery, corruption and
retardation of development is low salaries of the public sector
officials responsible of these decisions.
faulty social system is another, where 15% of the surveyed population
felt that a faulty social system is a factor which helped perpetuate
the vicious cycle where the bribe receiver and bribe giver are
accommodated in society and continue to enjoy privileges and be
regarded as people who peddle influence.
response to a question from many of the citizens whether to wipe out
bribery and corruption would be a definite yes but the mystery of this
situation is that many politicians of ill repute continue to be
elected to parliament.
is the confirmation of the truth that as long as people have to seek
the assistance of politicians and their cronies for matters of job
promotions, transfers, housing or land, bribery and corruption has
little chance of being minimised leave alone eliminated.
Global Corruption Report of Transparency International says the lack
of accountability is a main reason for corruption. In fact Sri Lanka
ranks in the corruption index in a global survey of 100 countries in
the 56th position (see table).
of the development projects particularly those relating to
infrastructure are strategically planned to link the rural economy to
the regional/urban hubs.
enabling technologies such as IT and access to communication
technology must go on.
delay in such development programmes will lead to an economy devoid of
opportunities for the self-employed and for those in the labour force
who are currently upgrading their employment skills.
have much to lose. Most of the younger generation have not witnessed
any major development since the beginning of the ethnic conflict 20
the forceful enforcement of the law is a crucial element in battling
corruption. Many believe it is not an absence of legislation but the
personality of the jobholder, which perpetuates this vicious cycle.
member of civil society has a responsibility to eradicate bribery and
corruption. This he or she can do by saying no to anybody who demands
a bribe in exchange for goods and services and by reporting such an
individual or institution to the Bribery Commission.
President must appoint the third member to the Bribery Commission to
make it function effectively.
the final analysis, the UPFA and the UNF without playing politics must
give a pledge to the people that they really want bribery and
corruption out of our system by installing the required institutional
mechanism to enforce the law.
sadly the alliance and the UNF both do not have the credibility to
accuse each other of corruption. None of them have the right to talk.
So it is high time both leaders walk the talk and demonstrate their
Perception Index- 2002
Thai land 3.2
Sri Lanka 3.7
CPI score relates to perception of the degree of corruption as
seen by business people, academics and risk analysts and ranges
between 10 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt)
Corporation is delivering four new processors, formerly codenamed
Prescott, that are built on the company's high-volume 90-nanometer
(nm) manufacturing technology. These processors are among six new
offerings in Intel's line of desktop chips, bringing new features and
high performance to a wide range of PC users, from mainstream
consumers and business people to gaming enthusiasts and computer power
new manufacturing technology, along with numerous architectural
enhancements, enable us to continue delivering products that allow end
users to interact with a wide variety of digital devices," said
Director (Marketing), Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd., Jayant Murty,
adding, "these processors provide improved responsiveness for
today's corporate and home applications, and offer headroom for the
next wave of technologies."
Pentium 4 processors built on the 90-nm process retain the
multi-tasking capabilities of Hyper-Threading (HT) technology, and
include new features such as enhanced Intel NetBurst micro
architecture, a larger 1 MB Level 2 (L2) cache and 13 new
to Murty, this new technology will facilitate the coming together of
computer electronics and personal computing, resulting in enhanced
multiple flexibility and simplification of the way electronics are run
even in one's own home. During the year 2004, Intel plans to expand
its local presence and to invest in developing the local IT industry
through training, eco-system building and sharing of best known
methods. Through all this Intel hopes facilitate a greater level of IT
literacy rate, which at present is at a low of 2%.
completes 25 years
Lanka Credit Insurance Corporation (SLECIC) completes 25 years of
service and celebrates the anniversary with a vision to become the
catalyst in international trade. SLECIC commenced its services in 1979
fulfilling the concept for an export credit agency for Sri Lanka.
the formative years of SLECIC it grew fast. However, over the years
SLECIC adopted a risk averse attitude and tagged along not keeping
pace with the changes and developments that were taking place in the
this was however destined to change in the year 2002. Restructuring
activities were implemented during 2002 and 2003 and SLECIC is now
equipped to move with a new focus defined information, support and
protection for exporters. SLECIC today is a market oriented
organisation with an appetite for risk taking and has become a true
partner to the exporters of Sri Lanka. On March 18, SLECIC celebrated
its 25th anniversary at the Hotel Colombo Plaza. The re-launching of
its principal product was seen as the most appropriate event for
its oldest product was a long felt need since there were
incompatibilities identified. SLECIC reviewed the export payments
insurance policy and as a result the premium will be revised
downwards, the coverage will be increased and the terms and conditions
will be liberalised.
prime product of SLECIC was re-launched on March 18 under the brand
name of Seller's Risk.
will be also launching a new product under the brand name of CAT
Policy to cover catastrophic losses of exporters. This new product
covers major losses, thus protecting the balance sheet of an exporter.
Lanka best in Asia Pacific
Lubricants Lanka Limited (CLLL) has won the gold 'Best Performance
Award' of the ChevronTexaco global lubricant companies in Asia Pacific
region for the year 2003. The award was presented to Managing
Director/CEO, CLLL, Kishu Gomes by Vice President (Asia Pacific
Region), Martin B. Southern at a regional conference held in Singapore
with 17 other ChevronTe-xaco Lubricant companies in the region,
including New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China, Philippines,
Singapore, Thailand, India, and Vietnam, CLLL achieved this
recognition due to its outstanding performance in all areas of
consideration for the year end 2003 This follows its last year's
achievement proving its competitiveness, by winning the silver award.
hope the recognition which couples this achievement will definitely
motivate the Caltex Lanka family to do better in future. It's an
achievement of the efforts of a big team, which includes all
stakeholders," said Gomes, adding that this recognition would be
a great motivating factor to meet the future challenges with
of the regional companies were evaluated on '4+1' strategic intents
followed worldwide in all ChevronTexaco companies with CLLL's success
showing in all areas; whereby five critical business drivers are
managed effectively, which are operational excellence, cost reduction,
capital stewardship, profitable growth and organisational capability.
has been a laid down criteria covering all aspects of the business in
evaluating outstanding performance in the Asia Pacific region, which
includes corporate compliance, social and environmental
responsibilities, financial performance and stock market performance,
market performance while defending margins, merger integrations and
human resource development and management CLLL has performed
exceptionally well in all the above aspects, to come ahead all other
companies in the Asia Pacific region.
industry gearing for major jolt
changes will take place in Sri Lanka's garment industry and economy
from the beginning of 2005 with the abolition of quotas under the
Multifibre Agreement (MFA) from January 2005.
the negative aspects is the possibility of over 50% of garment
factories being closed down, creating major job losses in the garment
sector, which would have a huge impact on the labour force and the
to The Sunday Leader, Labour Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said he
does not anticipate such a large percentage of job losses since the
government has received General Special Preference (GSP) status from
the European Union and is also currently negotiating a Free Trade
Agreement (FTA) with the United States to export garments to the USA
said there is a possibility of more job opportunities in the garment
sector if these agreements are successful.
Lanka is greatly benefited from the MFA compared to other South Asian
countries. According to sources, in 1997 quotas per head for India was
0.33 while for Sri Lanka it was 2.20.
high quotas and the cheap labour force especially in the Free Trade
Zones (FTZs) and concessions to foreign investors has made Sri Lanka
an investors hub.
Sri Lanka is heavily dependent on the industrial garment sector and
exports, the phasing out of the quotas will drastically affect the
to The Sunday Leader, Chairman, Export Development Board (EDB), R.
Sivaratnam said that once the MFA is completely abolished, the local
garment industry will not collapse completely. "Some of our
garment manufacturers and exporters have upgraded their technology and
skills. Therefore they may survive and will not be affected," he
Sivaratnam warned that once the MFA is abolished, nearly 50% of
garment manufacturers and exporters may go out of business.
emphasised that the remaining players in the market may have to face
severe competition from the exporters of other garment manufacturing
countries such as South Asian countries and the European Union (EU)
should look for alternative markets and be more competitive in the
international arena and face the challenges," he said.
about relations with India, Sivaratnam said Sri Lanka should make use
of the FTA between the two countries and try to exploit the Indian
pointed out that under this agreement Sri Lanka can export up to eight
million units of garments to India under a concessionary rate.
last year only 75,000 garments have been exported to India. He says
this situation should be changed and Sri Lanka should export more of
garments to the Indian market.
said it was unfortunate that only about four-garment manufacture such
as MAS Holdings and Hameedia have displayed their products at the Sri
Lankan Trade Centre (STC) established by the EDB in Chennai, India. He
expressed his belief that this is an ideal opportunity for garment
manufacturers to display their products and capture the Indian
readymade garment industry.
to Sivaratnam, the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME) would be
directly affected once the MFA is completely abolished by the end of
2004. In order to minimise this effect, he suggests that SMEs should
formulate special contracts with large-scale industries and become
outsource agents and produce quality garments with high quality
finishing touches and reliable services.
stressed that Sri Lanka should be able to diversify into other sectors
and give priority to the agricultural sector to overcome this
Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman, Arjunna Mahendran said the BOI is
encouraging large-scale manufacturing companies to take over small
companies by providing special incentives such as tax holidays for
stressed on the importance for Sri Lanka to produce textiles and
accessories instead of purchasing these items from other countries.
this is done, Sri Lanka could be more competitive in the international
market especially after the MFA quota system is abolished.
pointed out that at present there are five such new textile mills that
are under construction and these mills would produce garment
accessories and textiles to the Sri Lankan garment manufacturers.
the local manufacturers may be able to purchase the textiles and
accessories at a cheaper rate and be more competitive.
said Sri Lanka is concentrating too much on the garment sector and
should find alternatives.
he felt instead of concentrating too much on the agricultural sector,
Sri Lankans should look into other areas such as Information
Technology (IT) and ceramic manufacturing industries.
said there would be large-scale job losses once the MFA quota system
is abolished, which would create a burden for the workforce.
if Sri Lanka can diversify to other industries such as IT and
ceramics, there is a possibility that the workforce may get higher
wages than in the garment industry," he said.
pointed out that regardless of the industry that the country
diversifies into, it is important that there should be a good supply
stressed that there should be better infrastructure facilities in the
long-term rather than the short-term if Sri Lanka is to attract
foreign investments and look in to other sectors.
General, Joint Apparel Association Forum, M. Corey said the future of
the industry once the MFA is abolished completely would depend on the
competitiveness of our products in the international market with
countries such as India and Indonesia.
to Corey, Sri Lankan garments are well known suppliers for leading
international brands. He said that regardless of which government
comes into power, priority should be given to establishing agreements
with other countries and finding a solution such as new international
markets for Sri Lankan garments once the MFA is abolished.
Commerce Minister Ravi Karunanayake said that President Chandrika
Kumaratunga should be held responsible if the garment industry is
affected and large-scale job losses occur once the MFA is abolished.
to Karunanayake, the UNF government was in the process of negotiating
FTAs with the United States and United Kingdom, a process that was
disrupted by the political unrest in the country created by the
said the abolishment of the MFA would create a huge impact
and the country would lose billions of rupees in lost exports.
He said it would also result in the loss of thousands of jobs which
would in turn affect the economy.
instant ticket lottery to be relaunched
Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund (MTF) last week announced the
relaunch of the Mahapola instant ticket lottery on March 23. GTECH
Lanka (Pvt.) Ltd, a 100% subsidiary of GTECH, will manage this
lottery. The relaunch of the Mahapola lottery has been made with a
view to widen the coverage of the MTF scholarships, and to engage in
other charitable educational, vocational and technical training
activities in Sri Lanka.
on the appointment of GTECH Lanka as the operating company for the
Mahapola lottery, Marketing Director, GTECH Lanka, Tusitha
Kumarakulasingam said, "Nearly 70% of the world's government
authorised lotteries have selected GTECH as their partners. The
appointment of GTECH Lanka as the operating company for Mahapola
lotteries will bring in the latest technology and the expertise of
international standards that we at GTECH pioneer.
important aspect of the relaunch of the Mahapola instant lottery
ticket is that it will continue to use most of the existing retail and
distribution channels thereby providing livelihood to thousands of
people, who depend on the lottery sales commission as their only means
of income. The revival of the Mahapola instant lottery has met with an
overwhelming response from the trade and we hope to launch many
interesting products, on par with international standards in the Sri
Lankan market soon."
Mahapola Lottery was first launched in 1981 with a vision to provide
higher education to the poor but talented children who abandon a
higher educational career because of poverty. This idea to use the
lottery as the means to collect money and use the proceeds to set up a
fund to grant scholarships was conceived by the then Trade and
Shipping Minister, Lalith Athulathmudali. At present, the fund
provides about 7,000 to 8,000 undergraduate scholarships per annum.
education in SL has much to learn
education in Sri Lanka requires considerable learning from countries
like India. Executives here can participate in executive development
programmes conducted by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs).
These are the views of Professor (Production and Operations
Management), Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB), B.
quality of management education in India is high," he noted.
According to him, the IIMs are now ranked in the top five in many
international ratings. The magazine Asian Incorporated, which ranks
top business schools, has rated the IIMs among the top 10 in
Asia-Pacific. The Wall Street Journal guide to top 100 business
schools included IIMB - the only one in the Asia-Pacific region to be
have a neighbour whose quality of management education is very high.
It is only natural that your management educators and management
practitioners make use of that," said Prof. Mahadevan.
added that IIMs are located in Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Indore,
Lucknow and Calicut. He also believed that government chambers and
academics need to find ways of promoting management education in India
among Sri Lankans.
Mahadevan is the Chief Editor of the IIMB Management Review. Indian
publications of this nature may be suitable for the Lankan market, as
the corporate experiences in India are more relevant to this country;
the cultural background, context, cost structures and mindset are
to him, the management practices followed in Sri Lanka require much
improvement when compared to India. He noted that in every country,
there is a pattern-countries open to the pressure of competition, etc.
Upgrade technical skills; then comes the management skills.
think it is very important to identify areas where you need to
focus," said Prof. Mahadevan. In his view, these areas include
textiles, tourism, IT and software. It has been noted that South
Asians have a predisposition of mind to develop knowledge-oriented
applications. In India, for example, much progress has been made in
the fields of IT, bio-technology and pharmaceuticals. "We need to
identify the specific areas in which we have strength and need to
develop," he said.
Mahadevan says, "Top management requires innovation skills. Top
management should be able to visualise, create very distinctive
models, have a sense of what the future trends are and innovate
noted that developing countries, particularly in our region, are weak
in branding. He attributes this largely to the fact that we have been
in closed economies, and says we need to invest in branding.
to him, we need to find a way of improving management skills at the
whole organisation. He says communication skills are always an issue
in developing management skills at a wholesome level.
Mahadevan says that new techniques (such as target costing, balanced
scorecard, ERM, activity-based management) take a while before they
get into practice; usually there is a stage of internalizing the idea.
adds that conviction is important, because all these require changes,
and there will be some resistance. The only way implementation will
get accelerated is when organisations face problems arising from
competition. However, it must be emphasised that proactive change is
example, India's TVS group did not wait for a crisis, but changed
proactively. As a result, they received international awards like the
Deming award and the TPM prize.
said that between 1996 and 2001, he could see a difference in Sri
Lanka. "The trajectory is clear. You are on the right track. It
is equally important a critical mass of efforts be reached for the
benefits to be apparent," he stated.
Mahadevan also has research interests. His research findings have been
published in prominent international journals like European Journal of
Operational Research, California Management Review, and International
Journal of Production Research.
book on 'the new manufacturing architecture' deals with issues
pertaining to restructuring manufacturing systems for competitive
advantage and he has developed software (MASCOT) to address these
present, Prof. Mahadevan's research is on electronic markets; he is
studying the impact of business to business markets on several
are trying to see if the supplier will quote a different price if he
participates in an auction in an electronic market. Because costs are
low, our research suggests price will be low," he stated.
says they believe electronic markets will increase supply
heterogeneity. He has identified 12 market structures in electronic
business, and provided directions on which markets buyers should go
to, depending on their needs.
three broad patterns he has identified are:
market mechanisms (e.g. trading partner network).
Neutral market (e.g. exchanges, aggregators).
Mahadevan was also responsible for designing several executive
education programmes for private and public companies and for several
professional organisations in India and abroad.
has conducted a number of programmes in Sri Lanka and recently
delivered an evening fellowship lecture on 'Changing Paradigms in
Management Accounting: Implications for Practice.'
Pieris takes over RPK
Pieris & Co. acquired 50% of the equity of RPK Management Services
(RPK) from John Keells Holdings for Rs. 465.75 million to take control
of the largest plantation management company in Sri Lanka.
was formed in 1992 as a 50:50 joint venture between John Keells and
Richard Pieris, to own and manage regional plantation companies
privatised by the government.
acquired a 60% stake in Kegalle Plantations Ltd., the premier rubber
plantation company in Sri Lanka, and a 63% holding in Maskeliya
Plantations Ltd., the finest upcountry tea company in the nation.
RPK controls Exotic Horticulture (Pvt) Ltd. and Hamefa Kegalle Ltd., a
company formed as a joint venture with a Dutch company, and which
manufactures rubber wood furniture.
company spokesman for Richard Pieris stated that "the rationale
for the acquisition of RPK was to further consolidate and secure our
sources of rubber, and to have control over tea plantations in order
to venture into the export of branded value added teas."
Pieris is also considering tourism and real estate development in the
Plantation has a total land extent of 7,866 hectares with an annual
output of 5.4 million kilogrammes of rubber and 2.6 million
kilogrammes of tea.
Plantations boasts of high yields in rubber and has one of the most
sophisticated latex centrifuging facilities in the country. Maskeliya
Plantations has 5,883 hectares of tea plantations, producing 10.5
million kilogrammes of tea and has the one of the highest yields in
premium quality high grown teas manufactured by Maskeliya are highly
sought after by foreign buyers and thus earn prices above elevation