negotiating petroleum deal with Iran
and Energy Minister, Susil Premajayanth has reportedly visited Iran
for discussions regarding a soft loan to purchase crude oil from Iran.
Premajayanth met officials from the Iranian government for a soft loan
and purchasing crude oil from Iran at a concessionary rate.
UPFA government on Friday dealt a body blow to motorists, splapping an
additional Rs. 8 per litre on petrol, raising the price of a litre to
Rs. 65. The government is also expected to hike diesel and kerosene
to The Sunday Leader, Finance Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that
if the government receives this facility and succeeds in purchasing
oil at a concessionary rate, this would ease the burden on the
economy, thereby cushioning further price hikes.
to sources, 70% of crude oil imported to Sri Lanka is purchased from
Iran. Minister Amunugama is also due to visit Vienna next month to
discuss the purchase of oil at concessionary rates. Amunugama would
hold discussions with senior officials at Organisations for Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC).
is providing oil at concessionary rates to countries such as Sri Lanka
which finds it difficult to maintain oil prices locally due to the
boost of world oil prices," Amunugama said. According to him, the
US$ 150 million soft loan from India will be used to cover the
increased oil importsz bill.
year's budget has allocated funds for purchasing oil at the price of
US$ 30 per barrel. However, during our tenure the price of a barrel is
US$ 38. Therefore, we have to pay a higher price to purchase oil than
the price stated in the budget and as a result we have to use this US$
150 million credit line to cover up this extra cost," he said.
Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Saliya Medagama told The Sunday
Leader there is an immediate need for the government to increase oil
prices. "The government should consider a price revision in order
to maintain prices accordance to international oil prices," he
further stated the government has to pay Rs. 1 billion as compensation
to CPC for the month of July. According to Medagama, the CPC has
arrears of Rs. 4.7 billion since February. "We cannot operate in
the future with these losses. The government should pay CPC its due
payments from the loan acquired in accordance to the Indian Line of
Credit," he said.
to Medagama, a litre of petrol is brought to Sri Lanka at the cost of
Rs. 29.60. However, after relevant taxes and other overhead costs are
added, the price of petrol would increase to approximately Rs. 65.
Director, Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC) M. Nageswaran told The
Sunday Leader if the government decides to settle the dues related to
petroleum from the Indian credit line, it would ease the burden in the
Minister Amunugama told The Sunday Leader the government presently has
no plans to use the Rs. 150 million to settle dues from imports of
crude oil to Sri Lanka. "We are at an early stage to decide
whether to pay the dues of petroleum imports," Amunugama said.
Lanka's annual requirement for petroleum products is 3.4 million
metric tonnes, of which 3.1 million metric tonnes is crude oil while
1.1 million metric tonnes is refined products. Sri Lanka spends around
US$ 1,000 million for imports of petroleum products.
turmoil on the cards
allegations abound that the government is expected to issue a
development bond in exchange for US$ 50 million from the Non Resident
Foreign Currency (NRFC) accounts in local banks next month in order to
sustain current spending, Former Deputy Minster, Finance, Bandula
Gunewardana told The Sunday Leader that he raised a point in
parliament last Wednesday with regard to the government taking such a
government is committing a serious offence by borrowing from the NRFC
accounts as this includes the savings of expatriate Sri Lankans,"
he said, adding, "if they borrow from the NRFC, the expatriates
would stop depositing foreign currency in local banks and due to this
the country would lose foreign exchange," he said
when The Sunday Leader contacted the Finance Ministry, Ministry
officials denied all allegations stating they were false and baseless.
"No such decision has been taken to date," officials
Gunewardana said the country is presently facing an economic disaster
with the government in debt as the installments on the borrowing from
dollar bonds have not been paid to local banks and further, the
government has not received the two installments of the poverty
reduction growth facility from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
country has no financial discipline and as a result the cabinet is
currently unaware as to what exactly is taking place," he said.
former Deputy Minister added that if the depreciation of the rupee
continues, the cost of living would rise immensely as essential items
such as dhal, sugar, wheat grain and rice are all being imported.
materials such as petrol, diesel, motor vehicles and building
components are all imported as well and if the dollar keeps
increasing, this would have a serious effect on the country's import
industry," Gunewardana said.
added that the country's export industry was also affected as a result
as most of the items that were required to make the finishing products
for the export market were all imported.
in the garment industry, essential items such as buttons and cloth are
all imported. Even though the exporters are unaware of it, their
profit margin has decreased to a great extent due to the high import
bills," Gunewardana said.
order to save the economy from collapsing, the government has to
prepare a micro economic policy, which should be implemented rather
than kept for reading purposes only, he said.
economic policy that the government has currently prepared seems to
have been kept for reading purposes only as nothing has been
implemented to date," he charged, adding that at the time the UNF
handed the government over to the UPFA, the outstanding liability on
Treasury bills amounted to only Rs. 11 billion, but today the
liability now exceeds Rs. 52 billion.
leading businessmen in the country have also sent out panic signals,
claiming that the country is headed for disaster if the government
does not take immediate steps to stablise the rupee and prevent the
dollar from increasing further.
the import market currently facing a crisis due to the rapid increase
in the dollar, leading businessmen claim there is a serious economic
crisis brewing in the country and if the government failed to take
immediate action, the country would face an imminent crisis.
to The Sunday Leader, Chairman, Joint Business Forum (J-Biz), Mahendra
Amarasuriya said if the dollar continues to rise, the prices of
imported raw materials such as oil and petroleum would rise immensely,
thereby increasing the cost of living.
essential products such as sugar, milk and fish would also rise as
these products are also imported," Amarasuriya said.
added that if the government could not control the prices of these
products and put the "burden" onto the consumers, then the
country would suffer due to the high cost of living.
important factor that has to be considered is the power cost as the
price of electricity has already increased. The government has to act
as soon as possible to control these prices," Amarasuriya said.
Research Manager, HNB Stockbrokers, Hasitha Premaratne told The Sunday
Leader that the rapid increase of the dollar would affect not only the
imports industry but also the healthcare system.
in the private hospitals most of the medicines are imported. Once the
import costs are increased, it will have a direct impact on the
consumers," Premaratne said.
further said other important sectors such as agriculture and power and
energy would also be affected and the end result would be a rapid
increase in the cost of living. "The government should arrive at
an appropriate decision soon in order to control the economy," he
Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, Ranjith Hettiarachchi told The
Sunday Leader that today, most of the country's local industries were
seriously affected due to the rupee depreciation as over 60% of raw
materials are presently being imported and if the government did not
take any action soon, the prices of products would increase rapidly.
the country has lost competitiveness due to the many number of
holidays and the high cost of electricity. With the dollar increasing
almost every week, the final result would lead to the country facing
an economical disaster," he said.
Chandrika - country first
UPFA's showing on July 10 to many MPs in the alliance was a landslide
victory for Chandrika and her key alliance partner the JVP. What these
MPs failed to realise was that the UPFA had lost over 450,000 votes in
just three months and to add to that the voter turnout was less than
50%. This was by no means a mandate for change.
for Kumaratunga, the PC result gave her very little to crow about
because the UPFA had only secured around 28% of the total number of
registered voters. More than half the electorate had boycotted the
election because the public had got fed up with both the UNP and the
many the PCs were a waste of time and a burden for the taxpayer.
Moreover, having won the general election a little over three months
ago the party was destined to win this poll. Also three months was no
doubt too short a period to pass judgment on a new government, but the
events during the last three months was definitely disadvantageous to
task for the UPFA however was made easier because many of the UNP
organisers were asleep and failed to infuse young candidates with a
better track record to contest the PC elections. Furthermore, the UNF
did very little to inform the people of this country of the peril the
nation finds itself in and to counter the multitude of untruths and
contradictions that was being spread in the state media by the JVP.
the UPFA, the PC polls results will help them to take stock and do
what is required to secure a majority to conduct business in
parliament. On the other hand, for the UNP this is a good opportunity
to regroup and bring in the young and the educated to carry forward
the party mission and develop another group to reach out to the rural
poor before the upcoming presidential election in November 2005.
UNP could not generate any goodwill from the public despite the UPFA
not fulfilling any of its promises, therefore the party more than ever
needs fresh talent to work with Wickremesinghe to give the party
direction. The UNP needs a Ranjan Wijeratne or a Gamini Athukorale as
general secretary to put the UNP machinery back to work and to take on
the propaganda savvy UPFA leaders.
the BJP, the UNP should be working aggressively to stage a major
comeback and maintain unity and discipline within its ranks. Focusing
on issues that are detrimental to the party and the country will only
help them to remain in opposition. It is the UNP's job to inform the
people of the perils facing this country, which the government will
not do, and also force the government to keep its manifesto promises.
they fail to do this effectively in the coming months they could very
well isolate the party further from the electorate.
people have yet come to terms with the fact that we are in deep
trouble. We have a President determined and desperate to hang in post
2005, a minority government that has so far failed to pass a bill in
parliament because it lacks parliamentary majority, an opposition
pulling in different directions, a depreciating rupee that could very
well derail the government's economic programme and push the cost of
living to record levels and to add to all this a suicide bomb blast
that jolted the markets and could very well jeopardise the peace
now that the elections are thing of the past, the UPFA should start
focusing on winning back the confidence of our lenders. Borrowing
money from the market to meet current expenditure will only push
interest rates further and fuel inflation. In fact the liability on
Treasury bills has increased from Rs .11 billion to Rs. 52 billion in
we need to get international support to bridge the budget deficit, if
not our foreign reserves will erode very fast, depreciating the rupee
big time. However, aid will not be forthcoming until we get the peace
process back on track. So at least for the sake of the country
Kumaratunga and the JVP should try and work with Wickremesinghe to get
the peace process back on track.
games with the LTTE will only lead us back to war. In order to secure
a working majority, the UPFA should try and work with the opposition
without intimidating the opposition unnecessarily and postponing
parliament. Buying over MPs will be only a temporary measure. This
country needs stability to develop and grow.
the other hand, if Kumaratunga tampers with the constitution to ensure
her survival, she could very well inflict deep and abiding wounds on
the polity of Sri Lanka. Then if the UNP continues to pull in
different directions they will fail to curb her excess and also fail
to ensure the government keeps to its promise of providing employment
for those unemployed.
the government is preoccupied with remaining in power by any means and
is not focused on resuscitating the economy but is focused on taking
short-term decisions at crisis management compounding the economic
a result business confidence will continue to be at low ebb and
international assistance will not be forth coming until the resumption
of peace talks. The government at least now must accept the reality
that they are a minority in parliament.
government should stop portraying that the present crisis as a
constitutional crisis. Because we all know that this crisis is
essentially stemming from a number game in parliament. Therefore,
before the government brings forth a new constitution the government
needs to put our economy and the peace process back on track, if they
do not do so now, the reality we will face belatedly may well be that
we are without a country.
to JVP sources, they are keen to ensure the UPFA manifesto promises
are met, because the JVP leadership is coming in for increasing
ridicule and criticism for not delivering on a single of the promises
made by the alliance. In fact the majority that voted for the alliance
in April did so with the hope that the UPFA would be guided by the JVP
and deliver the goods.
is with this in mind that the voters made sure that most of the JVP
candidates were elected to parliament, and to the PCs. The JVP has now
realised that governing with CBK is no easy task and they run the risk
of getting ridiculed big time. Very soon the JVP will also have to
take a stand on the ISGA and has clearly stated they would reject the
warnings to the President will not help them to satisfy its rank and
file. The party may gradually therefore try to give itself a new
identity distinct from the alliance. However, the opposition should
ensure that the JVP is held accountable for all UPFA blunders, they
should not be allowed to pass the buck to the SLFP.
if the JVP fails to get the alliance moving to put the country back on
track it will end up being remembered for failing to pass a single
bill in parliament for three months, for giving false promises and
devaluing the rupee big time, a record that could affect its
popularity at the next general election, especially if 75% of the
registered voters decide to cast their vote.
what the people want from the UPFA is to get down working and
delivering on its multitude of promises, and for the opposition to do
its part by informing the masses and curbing the government's excess.
business community has appealed many times to our national leaders and
heads of political parties to get together at least for three years
and work as a government of national unity and reconstruction.
Therefore it is imperative that Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe put the
country first and shed their political differences and work together
to pull our country from the current political crisis.
and Wickremesinghe must realise that they have to get smart to the
facts, if not this moribund nation may well be on the point of no
return. Furthermore, we are facing this serious crisis because our two
main political parties cannot read the writing on the wall.
making repeated attacks on the UNP and Wickremesinghe, or enacting a
new constitution is not going help this country to survive the current
crisis. So it is important for Kumaratunga and Wickremesinghe to shed
their political differences and work together to rebuild this country.
for this to happen, Kumaratunga and the JVP will have to stop
lambasting the UNP and Wickremesinghe for all their problems in order
to gain cheap political mileage. If not we will only help the LTTE to
create more chaos in the south. Also if Wickremesinghe's UNP is
serious of forming a government in the future, they too must act in
accordance with that reality and be focused on pulling Sri Lanka away
from the edge of the abyss.
recent bomb explosion and the utterances of the LTTE could affect the
tourism industry very badly. Occupancy has already fallen and the
wheels of the economy are now turning slowly. The constitution is
being challenged and parliament is not functioning.
reality is internal political animosities are standing in the way and
preventing the emergence of a national consensus. In this desperate
situation, at least now, our political parties must size up the
situation and realise that they need to work on the basis that the
nation must exist for the government to exist and that they are
elected to serve the people and not to be served by them. If not the
people of this country will turn against the PA, JVP and the UNP.
in a quandary
Mandana ismail Abeywickrema
Joint Business Forum (J-Biz), Mahendra Amarasuriya told The Sunday
Leader the weakening of the rupee shows a shortage of dollars in the
country and the impact on the Treasury has resulted in the government
auctioning Treasury bills.
said the country's increasing oil bill, wheat flour and fertiliser
subsidies and the government's involvement in the Ceylon Electricity
Board (CEB) have put the Treasury in a somewhat difficult position.
pointed out that all these issues together with the government's
policies play a key role in the country's economy, adding that while
the previous regime adopted a policy of stopping and cutting in a bid
to increase revenue, the present government has pledged to give and
increase and their economy policy too is considered a "pro-poor
observed that the government has to deliver, adding that the
indications so far show that the country will see an increase in the
level of inflation, which would also create a cash crunch on the
Amarasuriya said his personal view is that it is difficult to maintain
a low inflation level and solve the employment problem and that the
level of inflation in China still remains quite high.
observed that an increase in the level of inflation is all right as
long as the country generates enough employment and pointed out that
the power sector also plays a key role in the country's GDP.
an example, he said the country recorded a negative GDP growth at the
time it was also facing a power crisis. Therefore, Amarasuriya
asserted that the power sector should also be looked into.
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) maintained that it is too early to
give an opinion on the performance of the economy given the fact that
the government has just released its economy policy. However, the CCC
states the increase in global oil prices would have implications on
the country's balance of payments and on local oil prices.
CCC further said although the government has managed to secure credit
facilities from the Indian government to meet part of the fuel bill in
a bid to reduce the impact on the balance of payments, the progress is
yet to be witnessed.
CCC noted that while the depreciation of the rupee will provide
benefits to some of the exporters, it would not be beneficial to
certain others like the bulk tea exporters. However, the depreciation
will exert pressure on prices of imported items, which the government
has cushioned so far and if the local oil prices are increased, it
will have an effect on the transport and energy sectors as well as on
consumer items due to the cost of transportation.
Sri Lankan economy, which registered a growth of 6.2% during the first
quarter of this year saw a growth with an expansion of 9.5% in the
service sector. During the same period, exports increased by 16% as
against the exports during the same period of 2003. Imports have also
risen at a faster pace.
consumer price inflation, according to the CCPI, bottomed in May and
increased to 3.9% in June.
that as it may, the mid year fiscal position report released by the
Finance Ministry there has been a decline in the total cash inflows
when comparing the period between January-April 2003 and the same
period of 2004 with the total cash outflows from operating activities
seeing an increase as well.
closure sends shockwaves
closure of the Bata factory due to labour unrest has sent shock waves
through the business community regarding future investments to Sri
Industrial Relations, Board of Investment (BoI), L. Wijeweera told The
Sunday Leader that if such incidents occur it would send a negative
message to potential foreign investors. However, he emphasised that
this effect could be overcome by other benefits Sri Lanka offers to
its investors. "The labour force in our country is significantly
cheaper than other countries in the region. This would encourage
investors to invest in Sri Lanka," he said.
Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI), Ranjit Hettiaarachi
however told The Sunday Leader that cheap labour in Sri Lanka cannot
overcome the negative impact to Sri Lanka. "Investors are eying
countries which are productive rather than countries with cheap labour.
Regardless of the cost of labour at the end of the day what most
matters is productivity," he stressed.
to Hettiaarachi, a country with productive resources, both physical
and human, would lead to economic growth.
Wijeweera stated the geographical setting of Sri Lanka is also a
favorable sign for foreign investors. "We are a platform to other
Asian countries and the Middle East," he said.
pointed out this is a controversial situation because on one hand, the
government should safeguard labour rights and on the other hand,
investors are looking for the best returns for their investments.
"There should be a balance between the labour rights the
government is offering and how the government encourages investors to
Sri Lanka," Wijeweera stressed.
about the labour unrest within factories, Hettiaarachchi said the
relevant authorities should take immediate action about this matter,
which, if unattended to, would adversely affect the economy of Sri
Lanka. "Investors are continuing to watch Sri Lanka and its
environment. Therefore this type of action should be prevented,"
added that authorities have to take immediate action to reopen all
factories that have been closed due to this reason and the government
should take measures to restructure labour related laws within the
should have the freedom to be flexible. Since the present labour
related laws and policies are beyond our control, there is necessity
to restructure the laws," he emphasised, pointing out that
presently Sri Lanka is facing severe competition from imported goods.
there is labour unrest in Sri Lanka and factories continue to close
down, the economy would be severely affected," he reiterated,
adding that there should be continuous production. Hettiaarachchi
further stressed that in the event production is halted due to labour
unrest, importers would not face any competition from local producers
eventually leading to a severe balance of payments deficits.
Chairman, Federation of Chambers of Commerce in Sri Lanka (FCCISL),
Nihal Abeysekara told The Sunday Leader that labour unrest in the
country would send negative signals to foreign potential investors.
"If they see Sri Lanka as a country with labour unrest they would
simply not invest," he said, stressing that the present labour
laws need to be amended.
National Labour Advisory Council which was established by the
government with participation of trade union members and private
organisations a couple of years ago is studying prospective changers
to labour laws in this country. These changes would benefits all
parties involved and once the proposals are submitted, it may prevent
labour unrest thereby securing foreign investments to Sri Lanka,"
IPO postponed for September
Indian Oil Company (LIOC) is to go public in the first week of
September, having postponed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) which
was due to take place in August.
extended the IPO by a month due to documentation issues. We are
presently overloaded with work which makes it difficult to go public
on due date," said Managing Director, LIOC, M. Nageswaran.
is a fully owned subsidiary of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which
purchased 100 filling stations from Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)
for US$ 75 million in December 2002.
is India's largest commercial enterprise with an annual sales turnover
of US$ 25.22 million and profits of US$ 1,287 million. IOC is India's
sole representative to be listed in the Fortune 500 magazine. The
company is also the 17th largest petroleum company in the world.
which began in 1959 as Indian Oil Company merged with Indian
Refineries and formed Indian Oil Corporation in 1964. IOC presently
controls 18 refineries in India with a current combined capacity of
49.8 million metric tones per annum (MMTPA) or one million barrels per
day. These include subsidiaries of Chennai Petroleum Corporation and
Bongaigaon Petroleum Corporation.
also owns and operates India's largest network of cross country crude
oil and product pipeline of 7.7575 km with a combined capacity of
company has performed well during the previous financial years. For
the financial year 2002-2003 it earned a turnover of US$ 25.55 million
and for the same year a gross profit of US $2.28 million. The company
also paid US$ 51 million as dividends for its share holders.
Asia banking on technology
Asia Bank is moving ahead to achieve its vision of becoming the most
customer preferred commercial bank in Sri Lanka by expanding its
technology and is formulating new plans for the benefit of its
clientele. With envisaged expansion of the customer base each year and
in order to expand its business to target market segments, Pan Asia
Bank has put its strategies in place and gearing up to achieve its
long term objectives.
to Head (Information Technology), Sujeewa Dissanayake, the bank
initially strategised themselves by studying the market and
concentrating more towards the retail businesses. "We want to
expand our business more towards the retail market and we made the
business formulas right by moving the business more towards being
transaction oriented (retail business). Therefore in order to expand
our business towards the retail market and our customer potential, we
made a substantially large investment," Dissanayake said.
added that the first phase of the IT initiative was to invest in the
bank's main servers. "In order to be geared up with business
volumes, on par with current technology and to enable future
expansion, we replaced our old servers and invested a sum of Rs. 20
million on new SUN servers V1280 and V880," Dissanayake said.
second phase of this IT initiative is to upgrade the banks client PC
base to take advantage of the current technology and to use newer
business processing tools. For that bank has replaced over 75 PCs and
standardised flat screens across all its branches," Dissanayake
to Dissanayake, the bank has also introduced a new credit card
operation. "With the retail business being the focal point, we
wanted to introduce a new credit card operation. In order to penetrate
the card market, Pan Asia Bank introduced for the first time the
miniature card and this unique product will also be the trend
setter," Dissanayake said.
added that the third phase in this strategy is to strengthen the
bank's Wide Area Network. He said that plans are currently underway to
deploy the IP/VPN communication technology. "By moving into the
IP/VPN technology we can introduce many innovative products and this
will also enable the bank to have further enhanced secure connectivity
using IP security - which means that there will be better security in
all our branches and its network - and we can also expand to higher
bandwidth as and when we require. By having a wider bandwidth the bank
will be able to do more and more intensive work to improve customer
service," Dissanayake said.
added that even as the productivity increases this will also help
lower the operational cost. "With these facilities by the end of
the third quarter we will be moving our entire branch network to IP/VPN
and currently an evaluation is underway in some of our branches with
IP/VPN technology," Dissanayake said.
further added that the bank will also be widening the access of ATM
network globally and to be on par with the market, the ATM network
will be linked to Cirrus. "With this facility our customers will
have the ability to access or withdraw cash any where in the world.
Currently we are involved with a local network only but we will be
moving into the cirrus network, to enable customers to withdraw cash
globally, by the fourth quarter," Dissanayake said.
next phase of the strategy is to upgrade the bank's core banking
software. Dissanayake said the banking software will be upgraded to
the latest versions as this will enable newer features and will also
be beneficial to provide speedy customer service.
of the main projects that the bank is currently concentrating on is to
launch an 'e-wave.' Dissanayake said this concept will be introduced
to be on par with the market as well as to introduce a better features
on internet and SMS banking.
have gone to the drawing board to launch an internet and SMS banking
with many innovative functions which will further enable customers to
perform full range of banking facilities through this solution,"
we are looking at technology called Wireless Fidelity (WiFi), allowing
the customers to use their laptops and do internet banking or
correspondence once they come into the bank. The bank would choose a
few locations to enable WiFi 'hotspots' where customers can come into
the bank and use their laptop computers to access internet banking and
other 'e-wave' related features. "In Pan Asia Bank we believe
customers come first and the profit follows."
plans with a difference from Takaful
the company's very name meaning joint guarantee, Takaful Insurance has
an ambitious plan to take Sri Lanka to the world by offering insurance
plans with a difference.
in the year 1999, Takaful Insurance has over the past five years
earned the trust of a very large clientele due to the several benefits
that the company has on offer and to expand its popularity even
further, the company will launch three new products and also expand
its branch network within the course of this year, both within and
outside Sri Lanka
five branches set up in the island and an overseas branch in Maldives,
Takaful Insurance is a joint venture between Amana Investments and
Takaful Malaysia. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Head (Sales and
Marketing), Takaful Insurance, Ashfaque Mohammed Ali said that the
main concept of the company was to offer a savings concept where
insurance is more like a benefit for its clients, to put it simply
"value for money."
the conventional insurance industry customers have to pay a premium.
The Takaful concept is that customers contribute money in a 'pool' and
we are the managers of this money. We refund the remaining money after
deducting any claims back to the customers, which we call surplus
contribution," Mohammed Ali said.
to him, since this unique concept was not included in the Insurance
Act, the Insurance Board of Sri Lanka (IBSL), realising this concept
was not only advantageous but also beneficial for all, went up to the
extent of modifying the act in parliament to incorporate the Takaful
concept of insurance. "We are extremely thankful to the IBSL as
they were extremely cooperative and went to the extent of modifying
the act in parliament," Mohammed Ali said.
than the existing life and general insurances, Mohammed Ali added that
the company would also introduce three new products, out of which one
was the first of its kind in Sri Lanka and a much needed and awaited
one for the general well-being of the people of Sri Lanka.
the first of August we are launching three new products, 'Hearth and
Home,' which is a family life insurance; the 'Baby Boomer' which is an
education plan; and a new product called 'Hale and Hearty,' which is
insurance for surgical and hospitalisation, and could be taken without
the mandatory life cover as it is present with insurance products,
which makes an important cover like surgical and hospitalisation
expensive," Mohammed Ali said.
is an economically based product that we will offer to our customers
who will realise the values that they will get for their money. We
expect a lot of interest which will result in many Sri Lankans going
for this plan which is based absolutely on our principal of 'Value for
Money,'" Mohammed Ali added.
to him, customers are given a refund according to the amount of
donations that are made and provided they have not made any claims
during that period. "Last month we declared a 13% refund when
bank rates were going at 3% to 4%. We were giving our clients two and
a half times more," Mohammed Ali said.
added that when a client paid a premium of Rs. 5,000 the company gave
back their customers a 13% refund with profits. "For big time
insurance industries who are dealing in billions, these are very big
amounts as they are absorbed into the company as underwriting profits,
but we refund it back to non-claiming clients as surplus contribution.
Can you imagine what a 13%-15% refund would do to a corporate client's
bottom line? We are looking to provide value for money to corporates
as well as individual clients. Today when a 4% to 5% makes a very big
difference, what would 13% to 15% do?" Mohammed Ali queried.
to him the company penetration is over 100% each year and in 2003
Takaful Insurance had a growth of over 170%. "People are under
the impression that we are only a Muslim company but this is untrue as
today we deal with clients from all religions and 30% of our clients
are top non-Muslim clients. We intend to increase this number to
anything between 40% to 45% and more by the year end. We cater to all
segments of the community and the main reason why non-Muslim clients
come to us is that they see a benefit because in a business anything
that you get back or save is a profit," Mohammed Ali said.
the company intending to open a branch in Pakistan, Mohammed Ali added
that today, the main aim of the company was to take Sri Lanka to the
world and to put Sri Lanka on the world insurance map as a company
which provides value for money.
already have a branch in Maldives and now Pakistan has shown interest
and requested us to open a branch in their country. Today in most
countries it is mostly the European companies that open up their
branches but we want to take Sri Lanka to the world as well. South
Africa has also shown a keen interest for us to open a branch,"
Mohammed Ali said.
Ali added that Takaful Malaysia, their parent company, was the largest
Takaful operator in the world and today, they own 20% of Takaful
Insurance. "This is very important as it gives our customers a
lot of confidence and peace of mind just to know that we are coming
from the largest Takaful operator in the world and each one of them is
part of this world family," Mohammed Ali said.
to revolutionise real estate in Sri Lanka
Homes (Pvt) Ltd, a revolutionary new real estate company incorporated
only one year ago in Sri Lanka operates in a niche lease market for
expatriates with their 'easy to use' website www.expatriate homes.net.
company has recently expanded into sales with plans to offer
relocation services, full property management and home loans,
insurance and valuations.
small company has merged with another operation. The Real Estate
Company (TREC), www.realty .lk, an associate firm of Multivision who
operates the local cable television network, to form Trex (Pvt) Ltd.
advertising in Multivision's Comet Cable channels and the Comet Cable
programme magazine it is hoped to capture a significant market share
from the independent operators leveraging the Multivision client
viewer-ship that exceeds 100,000 all from the higher income segment in
new alliance will be substantially stronger in the market place over
the informal operators due to the huge marketing potential available
via the Comet Cable TV.
number of new companies have already entered the market but Trex will
have an edge over the competitors due to its advertising strength and
intention is to assist the general public, corporate clients,
international schools and embassies. It is hoped to provide customers
with the total solution when it comes to entering the property market
in Sri Lanka.
are in the process of building a very strong real estate team in Sri
Lanka. The entire real estate image in the country has to be changed
and brought into like with international standards. This factor forms
the basis of the strategic management plan drawn up to form the new
venture, in an attempt to revolutionise the industry," said a
to ensure quality of MBAs
the demand for MBAs increases in the local market, so does the need to
ensure the quality of the programmes which are offered by many
Association of MBAs (AMBA) through its accreditation service assesses
the characteristics of a business school and its MBA programme against
a set of criteria established by the International Accreditation
Advisory Board. The senior academic and cooperate representatives who
sit on the board constantly monitor the accreditation criteria to
reflect changes in business and management practice.
benefit of the association is diverse. It provides a reliable list of
schools, and enable employers to recruit top talent.
AMBA offers a development service to help institutions further improve
their product. It incorporates a quality audit scheme, which conducts
a thorough audit of the schools' MBA provision and offers suggestion
institutions can make use of their consultancy service, which can be
applied to the whole or part of their provision.
of Northumbria a Newcastle, U.K, through its principal representative
in Sri Lanka, Business Management School, Colombo offered places to
suitably qualified Sri Lankan students to enter the final year of the
BSc (Hons) Applied Computing degree in UK.
guidance workshop in Beliatta
career guidance workshop organised by the Center for Development of
Personal Skills and Abilities of Getamanna
under the guidance of National Apprentice and Industrial
Training Authority will be held at Beliatta Technical College on July
31 and August 1 for the benefit of school leavers and unemployed youth
in the area. This workshop is entirely sponsored by the Lions Club of
Rakwana under the guidance of International District 306 C Governor,
Kassapa Mahendra De Silva
chief organiser of the workshop, Rohan Wijesinha said that since the
introduction of open economic policy, the chances of rural youth
securing employment in the private sector are very slim for the simple
reason that though they possess intelligence and a keen sense of
business acumen, they have little or no knowledge of the prospects in
the private sector.
of the rural youth, who cannot get in to university are unaware of the
career opportunities available to them. Once they complete their
advance level exams they just waste their time
doing nothing at home, as they are not aware of alternative
career paths available to them. This type of workshop gives unemployed
youth guidance and support to choose the correct course of studies.
aim of the programme is to help the unemployed youth with career and
labour market information, advice, guidance and individual counseling
service, enabling them to make a choice as to what careers may be of
interest to them and what skills and training they will need to be
successful in their chosen career. And also to inculcate in youth the
factual requirements of employer in the competitive private sector.
to President, Rakwana Lions Club, Nalaka Aluthge, about 2,000 to 3,000
unemployed youth will be invited for the workshop. During this two day
programme, vital information will be offered by professionals of
various educational institutions. The youth will get an opportunity to
interact with professionals and be guided in their choice of career.
organisations taking part are ICMA, CIM, ICA and NIBM. Aruna Pathirana
and M.L.P Fernando of NITA will give a brief introduction to career
guidance and V.G Dayananda of Beliatta Technical College will speak on
technical training. Vice Principle, Mount Lavinia International Hotel
School, A. S. Yapa and Director (Culinary Affairs), Mount Lavinia
Hotel, T. Pubilis will speak on career opportunities in the hotel
sector. Training Director, ICMA, Upali Ratnayaka will discuss the
career alternatives in accountancy.
Acura Agencies, Suraj Dandeniya and Director, Dana Group of Companies,
Gamini Rajakaruna will speak on technical education and opportunities
in the international labour market. President, Institute of Chartered
Accountants of Sri Lanka, Indrajith Fernando will offer an insight in
the accountancy. Padmasiri Fernando of NIBM will speak on the job and
career opportunities in the management sector.
Vocational Training Authority will conduct lectures on how to prepare
a CV and how to face an interview. The importance of English language
and the incompatibility of labour market and what exactly private
companies looking for will be explained by General Manager, HR Ceylon
Biscuits Private Ltd., Vasantha Senanayaka. Deputy Head (HR), People's
Bank, Rohitha Amarapala and AGM (HR), Sri Lanka Telecom, G. Weeratunga
will explain HR as a career alternative. Kanishka Kodikara, lecturer
at Raytronics Computers Pte. Ltd., will clarify avenues in
the IT sector.
few government institution such as the army, navy and air force will
take part at this workshop