U turn on privatisation policy
By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema
The UPFA government has made a sudden U
turn with regard to its policy on privatisation of state owned
The past week saw the Public Enterprise
Reform Commission (PERC) calling for Expressions Of Interest (EOIs)
for several state enterprises - BCC, Embilipitiya Paper Mills,
Valachchenai Paper Mills, etc., for "restructuring."
PERC has also called for interested
parties to come forward to purchase outright blocks of land from
the former Colombo Commercial Company land at Sir James Peiris
Under the guise of introducing a new
approach and concept, the Public Enterprises Reforms Commission (PERC)
is inviting representatives of the employees, or any other social
interest groups, to submit proposals or suggestions, in respect of
each project, when soliciting an EOI, so that the 'views' of all
stakeholders, and other social interest groups, could be taken
cognizance of, in formulating the way forward for the respective
projects to be re-developed and / or developed in conformity with
PERC's functions. Whatever the terminology used, in almost all the
cases, it is a matter of 'selling out.'
Interestingly, the JVP, a vociferous
critic of privatisation of public assets, has remained silent.
Responding to a question raised by
former Deputy Finance Minister and UNP MP, Bandula Gunewardena in
parliament recently as to whether the government planned to sell
BCC, Plantations Minister, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was quick to
admit the government would indeed go ahead with the sale. However,
he maintained it would be done in a transparent manner.
JVP MP and Deputy Small and Rural
Industries Minister, Sunil Handunnetti at the time interrupted
saying the government would not sell any state asset.
Opposition MPs observe the JVP, which
stoically opposes privatisation, is silent either due to the need
to stay in power or due to a lack of understanding of the various
forms of privatisation.
Privatisation of public entities could
be done in various forms - complete sale, privatisation of
management while holding on to ownership, leasing to the private
sector, selling either 51% or 49% of the shares, etc.
Privatisation of public entities was
undertaken to reduce the budget deficit by ridding loss-making
enterprises from the government's shoulder.
According to analysts, PERC has been
mandated to bring in a specified quantum of revenue and the Ceylon
Electricity Board (CEB) and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)
would also be included in the list of companies billed to be
Chairman, PERC, Nihal Sri Amarasekera
and Director General, L. Wickremarachchi were not available for
comment despite repeated attempts by this newspaper to contact
PERC now functions directly under the
purview and direction of President Chandrika Kumaratunga and has
been re-launched with a new logo and approach: "to do the
right thing, the right way, to support the initiatives of the
government to re-build the country, with a strong vibrant economy,
based on a national agenda."
The PERC website also has been
re-designed in which PERC functions and the several ongoing
activities and assignments of PERC are listed.
According to the PERC website, EOIs for
several re-development and / or development endeavours are being
invited to pursue re-developments and / or developments,
essentially on a strategy of a public-private partnership
approach, taking into cognizance the interests of all
stakeholders, to achieve the broader goal of socio-economic
development of the country.
PERC is also in the process of
establishing a dedicated unit to re-structure and re-organise
certain identified public enterprises, with a view to assisting
them to achieve viability, taking into account the interests of
all stakeholders, including the public.
The list of names provides information
on enterprises as at February 12, for which requisite
restructuring strategies are being examined, except in the
case of land.
Embilipitiya Paper Mills -
Re-development - (EOI)
Valaichchenai Paper Mills -
Re-development - (EOI)
BCC - Re-development
James Peiris Mawatha Land - Development
of 11 acres
Eppawala Phosphate project development
Hingurana Sugar Mill - Re-development
Union Place Property (3/4 acre land +
Mattegama Textile Mill - Re-
Elkaduwa Plantation Estates - Leases
BCC Land - Two acre block sale
BCC Land - Four acre block sale
Kantale Sugar Mill - Re-development /
asset sale / land allocation to farmers
Kahatagaha Mine - Divestiture
JEDB - Plantations / estates - leases
SLSPC - Plantations / estates - leases
Lanka Salt Ltd. - Divestiture
Thulhiriya Textile Mill -
Hotel Developers (Lanka) Ltd. -
Restructuring and divestiture
Petroleum Retail Market Development -
to implement CPP soon
By Shehan Moses
The Telecommunication Regulatory
Commission (TRC) hopes to introduce the long awaited Calling Party
Pays (CPP) system within three months, despite heavy resistance
from fixed line operators.
Under this system, the fixed line call
charges - including cellular, mobile termination charges, and
existing national call charges - would increase.
For example, if a caller uses Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) to
make a call to a mobile phone user during peak hours after the CPP
system is introduced, the caller would have to pay Rs. 11 for
201-1,000 units rather than the present Rs. 6 - an 83% increase.
Callers would also have to pay double the present rate if they use
over 3,000 SLT units.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader,
Technical Director, Suntel Ltd., M. Ramasundara said Suntel would
oppose this system due to the high tariffs that would be
implemented. "As a concept the CPP system would benefit the
public. However, the extraordinary rates charged from this system
would affect both the consumer and fixed line operators," he
said, adding that CPP systems were successfully introduced in both
India and Singapore because those systems did not charge high
rates from fixed line callers unlike the TRC recommended rates.
Ramasundara accused the TRC of trying
to mislead the public using its advertisements seeking public
views regarding the implementation of the CPP. "TRC does not
give a clear picture of the CPP in its advertisements, and only
shows the increased rates of fixed line operators when calling
mobile phones. However, technically mobile phone users would also
have to pay when calling mobile phone users. The fixed line
calling rates would increase from 71% to 572 % when calling a
mobile phone user," Ramasundara said.
According to Director General, TRC,
Anura Amarasekara, under Section 12 of the Telecommunication Act
No. 25 of 1991, TRC would have a public hearing based on the
written requests submitted by the public regarding their views of
the CPP system and would then take a final decision regarding its
A senior official from TRC said upon
the introduction of the CPP system, 'the efficiency of mobile
phone operators would increase.' Although TRC planned to switch
over to the CPP system several years ago, the process was delayed
due to various technical reasons.
"Last year it was not introduced
due to reasons such as government changes and individual
complaints made against the CPP system. Therefore TRC had to hold
back the implementation process,"said Director Legal Affairs,
TRC, R Amarasiri. According to a senior official from Celtell
Ltd., the introduction of the CPP system would increase the growth
of the mobile market.
The present annual growth is 6% and
this figure is expected to increase rapidly, thereby encouraging
mobile phone usage.
to help Sri Lanka
Chairman, Pacific Asia Travel
Association (PATA), Ram Kohli and President and CEO, PATA, Peter
de Jong arrived in Sri Lanka last Thursday to assess the situation
and help re-launch Sri Lanka as a part of its Asian Initiative.
Addressing the media on Friday,
February 18, de Jong said the PATA Asian Initiative is focused on
redeveloping the region and what is important right now is
fighting the perception that Sri Lanka was completely destroyed by
the tsunami. "The perception of the damage is far greater
than the reality. PATA is fighting this misconception," he
PATA is also promoting tourists to the
region and is working with the local chapter to see what can be
done to support and assist projects that would help restore the
tourism industry, and the lives and livelihoods of those who
derive their existence from the industry. According to De Jong,
the lack of information is a major problem and the focus should be
on getting across a message of solidarity on the lines of "if
you want to help us, come and visit us."
PATA is looking at a variety of funding
proposals and during this visit, described as a
"listening" tour, will see what PATA, as an association,
can do to help. PATA has also set up a tsunami recovery fund to
aid Sri Lanka and other affected countries. PATA is also working
behind the scenes with governments with regard to travel
unhappy with LPG market
The quality of market for LPG
business in Sri Lanka is poor and there is neither a proper
regulatory framework for the LPG industry nor an independent LPG
regulator available; instead there is price control in place now
and we have seen decisions that are erratic and unilateral, said
Director (Corporate Affairs and Marketing), Shell Gas Lanka
Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma in an
interview with Dinesh Weerakkody. "It is a strategic weakness
in the investment climate for the LPG business that has failed to
increase the number of serious competitors up to now. It is
perhaps only when the government is able to take urgent remedial
steps to curb this weakness that we may truly improve the level of
good competition in the market and allow the consumers to reap the
benefits," Dr. Ranasoma further said.
Following are excerpts:
Q: In Sri Lanka we talk of free
markets and competition. However LPG companies are allowed to
fleece consumers in the guise of escalating operating costs?
A: I disagree with you. Before
we talk about our product, I think we must set the context within
which we refer to markets and competition. I believe that the term
market must be considered in the context of "the quality of a
market" and the term competition must be considered in the
context of "healthy competition on a level playing
There are several indicators that one
may use to describe the quality of a market. These include the
ability to protect intellectual property. Intellectual assets such
as brand, reputation, trademarks and patents could be highly
valued assets, availability and conformity to product and service
Standards could mean a whole array of
things: specifications, quality standards - ISO, codes of
practices, industry best practices, independent ratings, and so
on. One could measure these indicators in markets for different
products/services and then form a reasonable view on the quality
of market for the market offering concerned, which I believe is
the meaningful context to refer to markets.
We can likewise, take a closer look at
what is meant by healthy competition. I believe it means ethics
and values nurtured and practiced by marketers while pursuing
business objectives. These include, good governance practices,
(transparency and consistency), socially responsible behaviours
(CSR), are for environment, and not resorting to anti-competitive
practices such as price fixing, predatory pricing to force
competitors out, deceptive pricing to hide true value from the
consumer, dumping prices or selling below cost, all forms of
market sharing between competitors, arrangements between
competitors to restrict output and abuse of market power by a
Q: Are you advocating an aggressive
A: Yes, a good quality market
provides a level playing field for healthy competition. When this
is the case, there could be many benefits to consumers as well as
competitors.Among the main benefits to consumers are, broadening
the choice availableto consumer, innovative value addition to
product/service offers, ability for consumers to choose value for
money (fair prices, customer success), greater penetration into
un-served markets so that more equitable distribution of benefits
could potentially occur and good investment climate and
opportunities for further investment and production.
The reverse is also true when market
quality is poor or has deteriorated and one could expect
non-serious competitors to operate in such markets. In this sort
of case, I would say that all the potential benefits of market and
competition to consumers that we discussed earlier would be at
Q: LPG business in Sri Lanka is
controlled by two players. Can this change?Is there room for more
A: The estimated penetration of
LPG among the households stands low at 25 to 30% with only two key
players operating and the third player who entered the market more
or less dormant at present. So we have an oligopoly (more
specifically a duopoly) market structure right now in a country
that has significant growth potential.
In terms of size or consumption, the
LPG market in Sri Lanka is about 150,000 to 160,000 mt per year.
There is therefore quite a good scope for new competition to enter
the Sri Lankan LPG market. Our own journey in this market will
complete 10 years by the end of 2005 and we are into the fifth
year after the exclusive period for Shell Gas in 2000. Yet, we
have seen only one serious competitor entering our LPG market.
Q: Why aren't new players coming in
to Sri Lanka?
A: There may be many reasons,
but I wouldn't rule out some factors that we discussed before in
terms of the market's quality and the resulting investment
It is a strategic weakness in the
investment climate for the LPG business that has failed to
increase the number of serious competitors up to now. It is
perhaps only when the government is able to take urgent remedial
steps to curb this weakness that we may truly improve the level of
good competition in the market and allow the consumers to reap the
Q: In my view the government must
protect the consumer by regulating the supply and demand. Do you
believe the government should not let go of regulation in a hurry?
A: We need to understand the
role of a regulator. I believe that it is to ensure that all
stakeholdersare given equitable treatment balancing short-term and
long-term issues. When this equitable principle is practiced, not
only the consumer interest, but also the interests of all
stakeholders should receive a fair consideration in the decisions
by a regulator regardless of the market's competitive nature.
Q: Perhaps aggressive price
regulation or monitoring is what we need?
A: There can be several forms of
price setting. You can have discretionary pricing as in the case
of government controlled utilities and businesses where discretion
is used to set the price. Then there are situations where prices
are controlled by price caps. Prices also can be controlled by way
of regulating revenue or profits, sometimes referred to as rate of
return price regulation.
However, none of these can really beat
market forces based pricing. There is empirical evidence that
market based prices consistently deliver value of money than any
form of regulated prices. This allows the consumers to choose what
they want whereas price control reduces choice.
By Pelham Juriansz
'Rail' - an unusual title for an
exhibition and sale of paintings - will be held at the Slave
Island Railway Station on February 23 (Poya Day) and continue on
February 25 and 26 with a break on February 24.
The innovative idea to start Adaid, the
organisation that is conducting this exhibition, was the
brainchild of Adrian Ferdinands and Mike Masilamani, who explained
why a railway station was chosen. The idea to have this at a
railway station began with Adaid, a group formed to help
especially the children affected by the tsunami.
A railway station was chosen as it is a
meeting point for a number of people and many different people
from different walks of life could come to such an auction without
any inhibitions. The amount needed to fund these children is Rs.
2.5 million and actually two fund -raisers have been planned.
"Rather than have it in a art
gallery we decided to have it in a more accessible place,"
explained Masilamani. One is the said auction and the other an
auction of cricketing memorabilia (probably to be held at the
The group Adaid is made up of about 20
advertising agencies in Sri Lanka, and the sale of paintings will
be by Muhammed Cader, Mahen Chanmugam, George Claessen, Nelun
Harasgama, Upali Herath, Shehan Madawela and George Keyt. The
auctioneers will be Tracy Holsinger and Deshan Tennakoon.
Adaid is also trying to commission a
profile of children displaced by the tsunami. This is being done
through an independent research agency, Survey Research Lanka, and
will cost Rs. 2.5 million.
'Rail,' as the event is appropriately
called, will be more than an auction. There will also be a sale of
work of photographers, musicians, dramatists, cartoonists, writers
and poets, as well as unusual cards, secondhand books and even a
of advertising spends
An innovative media audit on ad-spends
is being pioneered for the first time in Sri Lanka by Time Media
Audit Pvt. (TMAPL), an associate organisation of Time Monitoring
Services (TMS) in India.
TMS introduced the state-of- art
services in media monitoring across all medium to the entire media
fraternity. With the vast media experience and high tech
infrastructure, TMPL is here to offer a revolutionary concept in
media monitoring to its Sri Lankan media fraternity. Its services
will cater to all segments across media industry, viz. ad
agencies, advertisers, broadcasters, media houses, etc. TMPL aims
to cover all the three major media: print, radio FM and TV. The
focus of TMPL's services as a 'third party authentication' will
feature the unbiased delivery of information within 24 hours
through electronic transfer with highest levels of accuracy, which
will be a boom for advertisers and ad agencies in justifying their
ad spends by assessing GRPs and other ratings instantly and
accordingly reschedule their ads.
Interest rates unchanged
The Monetary Board has reviewed the
recent economic developments and projections and decided to
maintain the policy interest rates of the Central Bank of Sri
Lanka at the current levels.
The following is an assessment of the factors that were
taken into consideration in arriving at this decision.
Considering the need for
facilitating expenditure relating to rehabilitation and
reconstruction activities, the Monetary Board has decided it is
appropriate to leave the current monetary policy stance unchanged.
Accordingly, the policy interest rates of the Central Bank of Sri
Lanka, i.e., the repurchase rate and the reverse repurchase rate,
will remain unchanged at 7.50 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
With the continuing improvements in all
the key sectors in the economy, the initial projections have
revealed that the overall growth in 2005 would be around 5.5
percent. The relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction work
initiated by the government in the tsunami-affected areas will
help mitigate the negative impact of the tsunami disaster,
particularly in the fisheries and tourism sectors, which have
already begun to recover.
The services sector, which provided the
main impetus to economic growth, will continue to play a leading
role with the main contribution coming from transport, storage and
telecommunications sectors. The agricultural sector is expected to
see a turnaround in 2005 due to favourable weather conditions. The
industrial sector output is expected to expand with the major
contribution arising from the textile and apparel sector. A
healthy growth is also expected in the construction sector mainly
due to post tsunami reconstruction activities.
The growth in export earnings is
expected to continue in 2005, mainly benefiting from the expected
global economic growth. The imports for relief, rehabilitation and
reconstruction will further increase the total import bill in
However, with the expected foreign
financial assistance for tsunami-related expenditure, the increase
in remittances, and foreign debt relief provided by donors, the
overall balance of payments is projected to record a surplus in
2005, increasing the external reserves, thereby reducing the
pressure on the exchange rate.
Though the overall budget deficit is
expected to be higher than the original target of 7.6 percent in
2005 due to tsunami related expenditure, such expenditure will be
financed through the receipt of concessional foreign assistance.
Furthermore, the government's domestic borrowing requirement will
be lower with the expected debt relief.
Although inflation continued to rise in
January, this year, inflationary pressures are expected to
moderate somewhat in the next few months due to favourable supply
side factors. On account of the higher than expected increase in
credit to the private sector, monetary aggregates have been
growing at a somewhat higher rate than the desired level. Growth
in monetary aggregates by end December 2004 was 19.6 percent.
Overall growth in monetary aggregates is expected to be
contained at around 15 percent in 2005.
Colorzone (Pvt) Ltd. recently unveiled
Colorzone Plus, a new hi-tech and modern facility, as a response
to the diverse demands of apparel manufacturers and to
successfully service the embellishment requirements of the highly
competitive apparel industry.
The new venture enables the company to
offer computerised multi head embroidery, automatic screen
printing, heat transfer printing and other embellishments to the
"Colorzone, which has
accreditation by major international brands such as Marks and
Spencer, Nike, Gap, Reebok, Next, Disney, etc., has made great
strides in the field of printing on apparel and this new move will
enhance its scope of activity to serve it clients with variety and
versatility," Chairman / Managing Director, Firoze Cassim
The new building houses three units of
nine colour / 20 head embroidery machines with onecapable of
sequin attachments as well. A four head sample machine is also
available with design punching facility to develop speedy samples.
A brand new fully automatic screen printer capable of executing
large 12 colour prints is the latest addition to its printing
fund managers conference
With investors looking for a direction
to channel their investments, a fund managers conference on the
'Way Forward For The Sri Lanka Economy And The Colombo Stock
Market' is expected to provide the much-needed direction to
convert this challenge into an opportunity and stimulate
investment ideas. The conference will be held on February 25 at
the HNB Auditorium at HNB Towers from 4 p.m. onwards. The welcome
address will be delivered by Chairman, HNB Stock Brokers (Pvt)
Ltd., Rienzie T. Wijetilleke and the keynote address will be
delivered by Finance Minister, Dr. Sarath Amunugama. The
introduction of the research report and presentation will be done
by Head (Research), HNB Stockbrokers, Hasitha Premaratne. Sector
presentations at the conference will be: Financial sector -
Chairperson, LOLC, Rohini Nanayakkara; Construction - Chairman,
Tudawe Brothers Ltd., Rohan Tudawe; Transportation - Director,
P&O Nedloyd Sector Head, JKH, Romesh David; Exports and non
traditional agriculture products - Managing Director, HJS
Condiments Ltd., Sector Head, Hayleys Group, Anil Wickremanayake;
Power sector - Managing Director, Hemas Power, Kishan Nanayakkara;
Travel and tourism - Managing Director, Jetwing Hotels Ltd., Hiran
Cooray. A panel discussion on sector presentations and the
conference theme will also be conducted. The panelists are Country
Director, ADB Sri Lanka, Alessandro Pio, Chairman / Director
General, National Peace Secretariat, Jayantha Danapala, Chairman,
Colombo Stock Exchange, Eraj Wijesinghe and Deputy Governor,
Central Bank and Co Chair, Financial Sector Cluster, NCED, Dr.
Ranee Jayamaha. The vote of thanks will be given by General
Manager / CEO, HNB Stockbrokers, Deva Ellepola.
Dr. Mike Bourne from the Cranfield
School of Management, UK, will address Sri Lanka's chief financial
officers on 'New Departures in Planning and Budgeting.' Cranfield
is one of the best known business schools in the UK and is rated
number three by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Dr. Bourne has
authored over 100 articles and books on subjects such as the
balanced score card, performance measurement and business
excellence. He will explain to the chief financial officers that
budgeting techniques in use today have to change along with
everything else in the rest of the world and will bring together
research in this area conducted at Cranfield which looks at the
rules of planning and budgeting in delivering value to
shareholders together with some best practices observed and
practical steps organisations should consider in their budgeting
declares 05% dividend
Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL)
announced a first and final dividend of 05% for the year 2004
subject to shareholder approval at its AGM scheduled for end
March.The dividend will be paid on March 31. MBSL was listed in
1991 and paid dividends every year until 1996. The highest
dividend of 30% was paid in 1991. "Since 1998, MBSL has
followed a strategy of steady growth backed with good systems and
procedures. After learning lessons from the past, MBSL will not
embark on high risk ventures. Investors are therefore unlikely to
see spectacular results but would more likely see a steady
growth," Managing Director, MBSL, Sunil Wijesinha said.
seminar on disciplinary inquiries
A seminar on disciplinary inquiries
organised by the Industrial Security Foundation (Sri Lanka) will
be held on February 22 at The Learning Centre, YWCA. The seminar
is for senior security personnel, investigators, industrial
relations officers, HR executives and administrators in both
public and private sector organisations. The objective of this
seminar is to educate and train investigating officers to
understand the ingredients of an offence the manner of recording
statements, the need to take charge of the
correct productions and to keep them in custody, and the
preparation of the final report on the investigation. It will also
provide advice on the role of the investigating officer at a
House wins two key ICTA projects
PC House (Pvt) Ltd. has been awarded
two key projects by the Information and Communication Technology
Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) valued at a total of Rs. 36.5 million.
Both projects are funded by the International Development
Association, and are part of the e-Sri Lanka Development Project.
Valued at Rs. 15.5 million, the first is a 'Distance Learning
Project' aimed at enabling rural areas to access global and
national sources of knowledge and learning, and increase the
access of public and private sector professionals to global
information and innovations. Chairman, PC House, S.H.M. Rishan
said this was the very first time that Sri Lanka's rural areas
will be provided with a comprehensive multimedia experience.
"Under this project, video conferencing facilities will be
provided to the proposed Distance Learning Centres in the
University of Jaffna, South Eastern University in Olluvil,
University of Peradeniya and Beliatta. These will, in turn, be
linked to the Distance Learning Centre at SLIDA," he added.
Valued at Rs. 21 million, the second is ICTA's 'Vishva Gnana
Kendra' (VGK) project which comes under the purview of Prime
Minister Mahinda Rajapakse. "This project is aimed at taking
ICT knowledge to rural Sri Lanka and to harness the benefits of
ICT towards achieving its overall objectives of poverty reduction,
socio economic development and peace building," CEO, ICTA,
Manju Haththotuwa said.This first phase will provide 50
telecentres (VGKs) to provide access to information in
geographical areas such as Badulla, Galle, Hambantota, Matara,
Moneragala and Ratnapura. The second phase will provide 50 more
centres in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa,
Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.
Pacific presents HK$ 75 million
tsunami cheque to Red Cross
Chief Executive, Cathay Pacific, Philip
Chen presented the Assistant Director (International and Relief
Service), Hong Kong Red Cross, Lady Wu with a cheque for HK$ 7
million raised from staff and company donations to help the
victims of the tsunami rebuild their lives. The company kicked off
the fund-raising effort for the Cathay Pacific Southeast Asia
Disaster Relief Fund with HK$ 1 million on December 29, 2004, then
matched dollar-for-dollar every donation made by staff until the
initiative ended on January 28. The airline and sister carrier Air
Hong Kong also mounted special cargo flights to Sri Lanka and
Indonesia. In all, Cathay Pacific and Air Hong Kong flew more than
200 tonnes of relief supplies. The airline also carried more than
40 strong search and rescue team and sniffer dogs from Paris to
SLID proposes disaster preparedness for
Sri Lanka businesses
'Learning From The Tsunami; Integrating
Disaster Preparedness Into Business Practices' will be the topic
at a breakfast meeting conducted by the Sri Lanka Institute of
Directors (SLID) to be held at the Salon Orchid, Galadari Hotel,
on February 24. SLID is a leading forum for company stewards in
Sri Lanka. In line with its objectives, the institute is
organising this event addressing the long-term, positive and
sustainable changes to be adopted by companies in order to evade
or minimise the effects of similar calamities in the future.
Concerns on how to incorporate this new sphere of management into
businesses will be addressed by Director, External Programs of
Learning Initiatives for Reform in Network Economies, Prof. Rohan
Samarajiva. This would be an open and interactive session.
- name change significant
By Pelham Juriansz
NKAR Travels and Tours Limited, formerly known as NCAR Travels and
Tours, has replaced the C with a K. Why the change? Well, the name
change is significant because after 25 years of business it became
imperative that K replaces the C.
Explaining the change in his plush office at Dharmapala Mawatha was
Managing Director, NKAR Travels and Tours, Nilmin Nanayakkara.
Twenty five years is a long time and the business idea started by
Nanayakkara at that time was to have a car rental company, but
that perception changed over the years.
The 'N' stood for the 'Nanayakkara' in the name and 'car' stood for
the car rentals. But the visionary Nanayakkara did not stop there.
He diversified within two years into an airline ticketing agency
at Bristol Street, Colombo 1. Just three employees and 250 sq.
feet of office space was sufficient at the time. Now 25 years down
the line, they have their own building at
Green Path and boasts of a staff cadre consisting of 100
"I recognised the potential in ticketing though the ticketing
business was competitive. I managed to build a sizeable clientele.
And within six years we won our first award, which was the 'Best
Sales Agents Award.' In 25 years we have won about 45-50 awards in
different areas. We continued to progress in airline ticketing,
using the strength of the Middle East market and corporate
"In 1988 just eight years after starting we got into corporate
business. Then we concentrated on inbound tours. Today we operate
holidays to places like Australia, China, Hong Kong, Far East,
United States, United Kingdom, Europe, all SAARC countries (except
Bhutan and Nepal), safaris to Kenya, South Africa and of course
the Holy Land as well," said Nanayakkara.
"In addition NKAR has been appointed as the PSA for Star
Cruises in Sri Lanka. In 2000 we established our 'Outbound'
holidays. In 2002 we bid for the GSA for Pakistan International
Airlines (PIA) and the competition was very heavy but despite the
heavy bidding we won the GSA for PIA.
I consider this a great achievement. We then established
our sister company, NKAR Sky Clan (Pvt) Ltd., to handle the
GSA," said Nanayakkara.
Explaining further the change of name, Nanayakkara said that as
much as a tiny acorn planted in fertile soil soars to great
heights, NCAR (as it was known at the time) grew in strength and
size over the years to include the airline and ticketing wing,
soon developing into a leader in destination management and
airline representation as General Sales Agents (GSA).
"Accelerated development programmes were implemented resulting
in the expansion of links overseas. And at this point we realised
that the name 'NCAR' did not accurately reflect or encompass the
many facets in the company's current portfolio."
"Our focus today covers many businesses and yet, the name
could imply that we are still confined to being a car rental
"Proud as we are of our beginnings, for it is good to know
that we have achieved our present status through dint of hard work
and dedication, we feel the time is now right for a change.
Nothing stays static and this is very true of our organisation -
we have moved with the times, and even ahead of the times, and now
we introduce ourselves as NKAR Travels and Tours (Pvt) Ltd.,"
"Our new name retains the same familiar pronunciation and we
would continue to serve with the same dedication and commitment as
we have over the past quarter century. Yet the familiarity ends at
this point and with our new name, NKAR assures you that we will
take you even further, providing a seamless service."
"We have not achieved all this through quick bucks, but
through patience and working well within the laws of the country
and the industry. We have won the respect of all embassies and
foreign institutions and that is proof of the clean way of being
in business. We have a lot of plans for our 25th year which we
will reveal later," added Nanayakkara.
and TNS unveil 'Sri Lanka Icon 2005'
Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the national body of Sri
Lankan marketers and vice president, Asia Pacific Marketing
Federation (APMF) together with TNS Lanka, a 100% owned subsidiary
of TNS, a leading global provider of marketing information have
constituted a new award to recognise Sri Lankan icons. The
initiative, which was launched formally last month will culminate
with an awards ceremony slated for March 28.
The theme of this award scheme is "Power to the people"
and the award is being referred to as SLIM-TNS Icon 2005.
In the Sri Lankan context there are awards and awards. Yet, there
appears to be little cognizance of the people's choice in these
"For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, the award
format aims to reflect the views of the common man in deciding the
best of the best. Our core premise is that it is this stake holder
who can be the best judge of success. And hence the moot idea of
the SLIM-TNS Icon Awards is to uncover the choice of the people
and allow this all important stakeholder in deciding the best,
most admired, most respected.
"The vision is to support and foster the development of
society, leading to recognition of icons of Sri Lankan
society," SLIM said in a media release.
The mission is to recognise and reward those that reflect the
aspirations, values, and perceptions, of the everyday man.
A large-scale national market survey will form the backbone of
ascertaining the response of the common people. Conducted by TNS
Lanka, 2500 people across the island will be interviewed,
representing all sections of society. Scientific sampling
methodology and techniques will be used to ensure that an unbiased
view of the people is reflected.
There will be no formal eligibility criteria because the process
does not warrant limiting the choices among entries as decided by
a paned of judges but rather allow people to spontaneously suggest
their preferences in each award category.
A team from SLIM Secretariat will oversee design of questionnaire
and make spot checks on the quality of the data collection and be
involved in the analysis and reporting of the data. An independent
audit company will verify the results.
The award categories;
Entertainment and leisure
Information and communication technology
Office automation/business education and support services
Agriculture/Building Construction/Industrial Equipment
Banking and Financial Services/Investment/Insurance/Real
Preferred by kids and teens (8-9 years)
Preferred by housewives
Preferred by white collared workers
Preferred by blue collared workers
Most contributed to community development
Best entertainer - performing arts
Best entertainer - non performing arts
Ideal leader with Sri Lankan values
Newsmaker of the year - 2004
Landmark best synonymous with SL.
Institute - typical British higher education
Imperial Institute of Higher Education (IIHE) was formed in 1996
with the objective of providing high quality undergraduate
education to students who wish to obtain a British degree at a
fraction of the cost of doing such in the UK itself. Its focus has
so far been Business Administration as there was both a need and a
growing market for good quality graduates in that area. Imperial
began by offering the University of Wales BSc (Hons) in Business
In 2001 it took the next logical step by launching the
University of Wales MBA Programme.
University of Wales founded in 1893 is the second oldest and second
largest Federal University in the UK (with over 90,000 students)
and has a long and distinguished academic history. The university
awards over 14,000 first degrees and about 3,000 higher degrees
Royal Highness Prince Charles serves as the Chancellor.
The University of Wales (UW) is the degree-awarding authority for
its 10 constituent institutions namely UW-Aberystwyth, UW-Bangor,
UW-Lampeter, UW-Swansea, UW-Institute of Cardiff, UW- Newport,
North-East Wales Institute, Sawnsea Institute of Higher Education,
Trinity College Carmarthen and Royal Welsh College of Music and
University of Wales degrees are also awarded for programmes offered
at over 60 validated centres within the United Kingdom and across
the world in countries as diverse as Canada, France, Germany,
Greece, Ireland, India, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Russia,
Switzerland and Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka in addition to the
Imperial programmes the University offers the LLM in International
Trade Law through the Law College
The BSc (Hons) in Business Administration is a three-year full time
degree programme. The "academic" is intertwined with the
"practical". The teaching and learning strategies
support the acquisition of both knowledge and skills. It prepares
students to move into the world of work both nationally and
globally as persons capable of meaningful contribution
particularly as managers and leaders.
The programme is broad-based as is appropriate for the
management field. It is possible however to seek some
specialisation in the final year in a functional area of business
such as Marketing, Human Resources or Finance.
Our typical MBA student is working and adopts the part-time mode of
study. The standard pattern involves the taught modules spread
across three semesters and a research component that is generally
completed within two semesters such that it normally takes about
two and half years to complete. A quicker full-time route is also
The MBA supports the building up of a solid analytical framework
and of the skills needed at higher levels of management through a
reflective and pragmatic approach to learning. We can proudly
claim that in the end our MBA becomes a solid foundation to face a
constantly changing world.
When foreign universities come into countries such as ours, they
generally follow two models - Franchised or Validated.
In a "franchised" set up one offers the same
course in the same manner but locally. So the local organisation
"delivers" the programme and administers the
In the case of Wales and Imperial, the mechanism is
"validation". The local academic team "develops and
owns" the programme and it is Wales that decides - and
continuously monitors - whether it is of the standard to qualify
for the award of a University of Wales Degree. The synergy ensures
that it remains responsive to the Sri Lankan market as well as to
global trends. The students benefits as they have the opportunity
to reach high levels of employability locally and globally.
Certificate - One very important fact is that our graduates receive
the same degree certificate as those students who physically
reside in Wales and attend one of the constituent universities.
"This is very important because there is confusion
about whether this is an internal or external degree - ours is an
internal degree. We have a graduation ceremony each year locally
here. However, every June, we get a request from Wales to indicate
the names of the graduands who wish to participate in that year's
formal Graduation Ceremony at Wales. Of course not everyone can
afford to go there but we have had a number of students who did
opt to go there and walked up along with all the other Wales-based
graduates to receive their degree certificates," said a
spokesman for Imperial Institute.
The University of Wales is subject to control and monitoring by
UK's independent Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) for Higher
we offer degrees from there, we have no choice but to be subject
to the same logic and processes as applicable to the University of
Wales. It is demanding on us all . on the academic staff, the
administration, the Institute as such . and even on the students.
But in the end all of us, including the students, are happy
because of it. The net result is that our degrees bear a stamp of
quality and therefore the effort we put in is worth it.
"The study programme as such has to be accepted as
appropriate. This is through validation initially, and
re-validation generally every five years. With regard to every
study programme/degree we have to document and justify the aims
and objectives, the contents, each subject/module and its place
within the whole, the knowledge and the skills acquisition, the
progression from year to year from initiation to analysis and
synthesis and to application of knowledge gained, the
appropriateness of the learning, teaching and assessment
strategies within the context of the outcomes etc.
"The mechanisms for student support and for student
involvement, the resourcing plan, the staff base and the staff
development plans, etc., are all checked. The validation panel
that visits the Institute for this purpose knows how to
"grill" us so as to be sure that we know what we are
talking about, have thought things through, and are capable of
implementing/doing what we propose.
"Once validation or re-validation is granted, then there are
the mechanisms for continuous monitoring and review. Our faculty
have to prepare the examination papers, model answers and marking
schemes about 10 weeks prior to the exam dates. These are sent
through the University to designated External Examiners,"
said the spokesman for Imperial Institute.
"These examiners review the papers, particularly from the
perspective of whether or not the exam is testing the learning
outcomes defined for the subject.
They are free to request changes and we have to accommodate
such changes. We cannot hold any exam unless the External
Examiners have cleared the paper. Then, at the end of every
semester, that is twice a year, the External Examiners, the
programme Moderator and a Representative from the University of
Wales visit Colombo. All answer scripts, all assignments done by
the students, and all related material/reports/information have to
be made available to them.
"They generally devote about two days using their own
mechanisms for assessing the level of performance of the students
and the quality of assessment and marking. The Examination Board
is held at that point with the participation also of the academic
staff of the Institute and, with the External Examiners having the
right to make any changes thought fit, the marks are finalised for
release to the students, subject ultimately to ratification by the
Academic Board of the University of Wales."
In addition to the above there is much that goes on continuously by
way of monitoring and review. All of the above steps ensures that
a graduate can be satisfied that he or she is achieving something
that is widely marketable, respected and precious.
The Quality Assurance is generally handled through the University
and through the External Examiners from outside the University.
But UK's QAA is finally the arbiter. Any negative judgment from
them has serious implications that could lead even to a revoking
of the validation.
Teaching and Learning
In the BSc year one is used to lay the foundation while
progressively in years two and three the emphasis shifts from
lectures to guided reading, learner-centred resource-based
activities such as student-led tutorials, case studies,
problem-solving workshops thereby moving the student to a
situation where they bear the responsibility for their own
learning, while staff play a facilitating role.
The culmination is a dissertation that provides a special
opportunity for independent learning and for demonstrating a solid
grasp of the theories and concepts, research capability, and the
ability to apply knowledge to a problem from business and
The MBA is biased towards a problem-based pragmatic approach to
learning where critical and innovative thinking is facilitated
with one's own work and experience and that of peers serving as
the context, and supports the development of interpersonal and
teamwork skills. The research project counting to one-third of the
value of the degree highlights the importance of problem
investigation and problem solving.
"We referred to "Teaching" and "Learning".
We have already highlighted for example the shift of emphasis that
occurs in the BSc between year one and year three. The student is
central to us. All have the opportunity to evaluate each module
and provide feedback. Student representatives play an important
role in the Staff-Student Liaison Committee and in the Boards of
Study. They thus have a positive role within the Institute. They
are supported in a variety of extra curricular activities.
As what we offer are UK Degrees we strive to create and
maintain in our own way a UK-University culture which focuses on
enriching the student experience," the spokesman for Imperial
"Our faculty all local and are eminent academics and/or
recognised professionals from industry.
Due to the stringent Quality Assurance, we don't need to
have costly expatriate faculty.
"At the time of graduation, in the BSc we have had 22% First
Classes, 30% Second Upper, 44% Second Lower, 4% Third Class.
Even the University of Wales has commended Imperial for the
very high calibre of graduates. The Wales Representative has
commented on this and has said that Wales was very proud that
while maintaining very high educational standards Imperial has
been able to produce such a number of students who have received
"classes". In fact, we did not "give" them
classes, but they "earned" them through hard work.
"In the MBA which follows a "Pass" or
"Distinction" grading we already have one MBA with a
distinction and his dissertation has been placed in the National
Library in Wales.
We have about 50 students who have completed their
coursework and are now working on their dissertation.
So many students are still working on their dissertation
because the Part-Time programme allows a student to take up to
five years to complete their degree, so some are taking longer to
do complete their dissertation.
"All our MBA students are working and the degree directly
helps them in their career progression.
Our BSc graduates who have chosen to work have found jobs in less
than one month of graduation but nothing more than three months.
Our students are employed at companies such as Ceylon
Tobacco, Hayleys, John Keells Group, NDB, Slimline, Standard
Chartered Bank, Aitken Spence Group, Maersk Lanka, Brown's Group
of Companies, Virtusa etc.
Those who have gone for higher studies have done so at
universities such as the London School of Economics, Monash
University, University of Hull."
Study Locally or Overseas
Going overseas is a good and worthwhile option to consider as it is
enriching specially due to the exposure and experience through
life in another context and culture. However, not every parent or
young person wants to do that nor may be able to afford it.
The total cost of our BSc degree over the three years is
under Rs. 1 million whereas it costs about GBP 15,000 per year for
Tuition, Housing, Food, Travel, and Clothing etc. which is about
Rs. 9 million for the three years.
Therefore, students and parents should consider all options in
making a decision. One could for instance do the first degree
locally and go for a one-year Masters when one is a little more
mature. Or one could do two years of the degree here and transfer
to Wales or another university for the final year. Those might be,
at least for some, better options than going abroad soon after
Investor and Board
The Chairman is Mahendra Amarasuriya (Chairman of Commercial Bank,
United Motors, Pelwatte Sugar to just name a few), Rohan N.
Wijeratne- CEO (formerly at the World Bank, former Chairman of
CINTEC, Founder Director of Millennium IT and former Board Member
of Sri Lanka Telecom and Arthur Clarke Centre for Modern
Jit Warnakulasuriya (Chairman/MD of Just-in-Time Holdings a
premier IT Company),
Pasan Madanayake (Chairman/Director of companies in the
Garment, Chemicals, and Freight Forwarding areas),
Bimal Perera (a founder Director of Millennium IT), and
Sabir Jafferjee (business interests in Trading and Export oriented
Links With Waikato University In New Zealand
LIBM campus (Lanka Institute of
Business Management Campus) recently singed a MOU
Understanding) with the Waikato University of Hamilton, a
State University in New Zealand to offer the first degree to
students in Sri Lanka, who choose the field of Management Science
and Electronic Commerce. LIBM campus will provide higher education
up to the second year of the degree BMS (Bachelor of Management
Studies) and BE Com. (Bachelor of Electronic Commerce) in Sri
Lanka and the final year of education is provided at the
University in New Zealand.
Chairman of LIBM campus, Aruna Rajamanthri signed the MOU on behalf
LIBM campus and Dr. Ed Weymes Associate Dean signed on behalf of
the Waikato University.
LIBM campus is a higher educational institute started on 4th
September 2002 to provide competency based education for the
students who qualify at the GCE (A/L) and wishes to embark on
careers in the ever expanding private sector. The core
competencies of their programmes are that they provide an
education based on right knowledge, skills, and attitudes with
special emphasis on personal development and developing
LIMB conducts a certificate programme in Business Commutation and
Information Technology, Diploma in Business Management, Diploma in
Computer studies, Diploma in English Language. Also they have the
recognition to Conduct classes for CMA ( Chartered Management
Accountants) Canada. Recently they launched a new course for those
who select Sales as a career, a Certificate programme in Sales
Management. This could probably be the first of its kind in Sri
Panel of lectures are drawn from the academic
Universities in Sri Lanka and professionals holding senior
positions in the private sector.
Addressing the gathering at the signing Ceremony Chairman Aruna
BMS and BE Com. degrees from Waikato University will give
the Sri Lankan students the required international exposure and
also drastically reduce their cost of obtaining a degree from a
foreign University. He further said that LIBM may be the first to
affiliate with a New Zealand University to offer the first degree.
Dr. Ed Weymes said that he was proud and honoured and is confident
in building a long lasting relationship with a Sri Lankan
institute which is professionally managed.
Guru of this state University of Waikato thanked those who
helped this affiliations to get off the ground. Waikato
University is the fourth largest University in New Zealand.
University offers a world class education and have already drawn
students from 73 countries ranging
from America, Germany, France, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea
and Pakistan. University Management School has similar
affiliations in the region with India, China, and Hong Kong.
Waikato University offers lots of varieties to enrich the campus
life of students,
Dr. Ed Weymes said.
accountants to visit Sri Lanka
Two world leaders in the field of international accounting
standards will be in Sri Lanka next week for a top level regional
meeting to be hosted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Sri Lanka (ICASL), the country's apex national accountancy body.
Professor Sir David Tweedie, Chairman of the International
Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and Board Member Warren
Macgregor will hear presentations in Colombo from the national
accounting standard setters of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal
and Sri Lanka at this day-long meeting on Wednesday, February 23.
These presentations will focus on the current status of each
country's efforts to adopt International Accounting Standards (IAS)
and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the
challenges they face and the steps taken by countries affiliated
to the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA) for adoption
of these international standards.
"The South Asian Regional Standards-Setters Meeting is one of
the most important events for our part of the world in the process
of moving to a single set of global accounting standards,"
ICASL President Indrajith Fernando said. "The ICASL, as the
SAFA Centre for Excellence in Standards and Quality is proud to
host this milestone conference."
He said the meeting would help the International Accounting
Standards Board to evaluate the progress made by countries in the
region in moving to international accounting standards and
generate valuable discussion on technical and other issues faced
by countries in the region in this area. The expectations of SAFA
countries from the IASB and the Board's responses would
significantly take the process forward,
Reyaz Mihular, Chairman, SAFA Centre of Excellence for Standards
and Quality said a key matter of debate at the meeting would be
new trend in Financial Reporting Standards. "International
Financial Reporting Standards are increasingly moving to fair
value measurement consequences of an entity's performance,"
he explained. "This trend poses several challenges to
countries in the South Asian region where we do not have active
markets to support such fair valuations. We will address
challenges such as this at our meting."
carries out research
Since its inception, ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified
Accountants) has been involved in promoting greater transparency
and thereby sustainability in the local corporate sector. Among
the wide range of activities organised to this end, an important
venture is the introduction of the award scheme for environmental,
social and sustainability reporting namely the ACCA Sustainability
Parallel to the Awards, ACCA has also carried out a special
research to analyse the current standards of sustainability
reporting in Sri Lanka. Their aim is to convey to the business
community, the importance of such activities for the continued
success of business entities.
ACCA commissioned HNB Stockbrokers, the specialist in stock market
researching to carry out the research. The research panel, headed
by Hasitha Premaratne and his able team comprising of
researchers with many years of experience to their credit,
carried out the analysis of data gathered through the sources such
as annual reports and company web sites for a period of two months
starting from 30th November 2004.
The top 100 Sri Lankan companies were selected as a sample, to
carry out the research. Out of this sample , 75 companies were
selected through the Colombo Stock Exchange according to market
capitalisation data as at 29th November 2004 and the balance 25
non -listed companies were selected through the information
contained in the booklet Sri Lanka's top 100 companies 2003
published by Dun Bradstreet Information Services India
(Pvt.) Ltd. in association with Lanka Orix Factors Ltd.
The research findings of the research panel of HNB Stockbrokers on
Sustainability Reporting in Sri Lanka will be presented at the
ACCA Sustainability Reporting awards night, which will take place
on March 9 at the Colombo Hilton.
& Finance news
Asia goes high-tech
By Ann Nicholas
The fast-paced existence of today's
consumer has led to the growing demand for convenience in
obtaining any kind of service. Recognising this need for
convenience and in its effort to address it, the Pan Asia Banking
Corporation (PABC) recently launched 'thumb' banking with the aid
of SMS technology.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Head,
Information Technology, PABC, Sujeewa Dissanayake stated,
"Customers no longer want to be confined within the 'brick
and mortar' system. They are demanding more convenient, prompt and
secure ways of doing banking. We have now introduced a way to do
banking with just your thumb, using our SMS banking service."
The bank considers SMS banking as a
product that is set to improve the access to clients in a
significant way. This feature is available to both personal and
corporate accounts and is provided upon a nominal registration fee
for the service. In providing the SMS service, the bank has
already linked up with Dialog, and hopes to tie up with Mobitel
and Celltel in the near future for wider coverage.
"Statistics revealed that
customers spend a fair amount of time and money to do banking
under the conventional banking system. For example, the payment of
utility bills, transfer of funds, inquiring of balances etc., cost
the client invaluable time and money. As opposed to this, on
considering the current SMS charges, all such transactions can be
performed virtually free," observed Dissanayake, adding,
"PABC introduced SMS banking last December and within two
months of its operation, over 200 customers are actively using
Dissanayake pointed out, "One
might argue that similar transactions could be done using phone
banking technology, where a normal phone is used for banking
transactions. However, on comparison of the call costs and other
inconveniences of phone banking, SMS banking is far cheaper,
speedy and convenient. Rather than listening to and noting down
information on their accounts, customers prefer to see the
information in text form. SMS service enables mobility and ability
of alerting the customers at any given time."
Some of the features of the SMS service
are, inquiry of account balances including foreign currency
accounts, mini statements with last five transactions, fund
transfers between own accounts to other PABC accounts and credit
card settlement, requests for cheque related services and account
balance alerts and changes in PIN.
Some of the unique features are the
descriptive balance alerts, with float, limits, etc., fund
transfers, credit card payments, which are designed to enable
corporate accounts for effective fund management, elaborative mini
statements and cheque book requests where the manager and
representatives are alerted for immediate dispatch and customer
update alerts to inform customers of feature enhancements and
other product details for better usage of the service.
The bank has invested considerably on
improving its IT infrastructure. "Today, IT is the enabler of
superior service. Moreover, it should be used to reduce costs so
that banks could be more competitive. In keeping with our vision
to become the most customer-preferred commercial bank in Sri
Lanka, PABC too has invested last year, over Rs. 25 million on the
latest technology, to boost up the processor power and to support
the envisaged customer growth. Further, the core banking
application too was upgraded," stated Dissanayake.
Under the 'e-wave' strategy, the bank
continues to introduce innovative technologies to provide
convenient ways of doing banking with it. PABC's customers have
access to 24-hour ATM services, and all branches are linked so
that customers could perform transactions at any branch. Further a
24 hour customer support desk has been opened which is available
to report all concerns and suggestions. "PABC values all
contributions made and takes every step to enhance its
productivity and service levels," said Dissanayake.
Recognising that continuous improvement
and innovation is the way forward, the bank is moving its entire
network to the advanced IP/VPN technology at the beginning of the
second quarter of this year and will introduce internet banking
towards the latter part of the second quarter with many innovative
features, enabling the customers to do banking at their
In conclusion, Dissanayake stated,
"PABC believes that customers come first, and the profits
follow. During the last year, we consolidated our efforts to see
that the infrastructure is in place to support our delivery
channels. We are now geared to serve our customers better."
workshop on IT security
Being the pioneering organisation in
information system security services, CISCO Information Security
Services (Pvt) Ltd (CISS) together with its strategic partner,
MIEL e-Security, India have organised a two day workshop on
'Effective Information Security Management based on ISO 17799/BS
7799' for the first time in the country, which is to be held on
February 24 - 25 at the Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) in Colombo.
This two day programme has been
designed to give an insight into information security management
system (ISMS) certification by ISO 17799/BS 7799 and its
implementation process in corporate organisations. BS 7799 was
developed in response to a demand by industry, government and
commerce for a common framework to develop, implement and measure
effective security management practices and to provide confidence
in inter-company trading.
The workshop provides an unique
opportunity to CEOs, CIOs, policy makers and IT managers to
understand the strategic value of benchmarking their information
security systems with international standards and to improve
competitiveness in the global market.
Also the creation of Business Value of
ICT investment is in the top of the CEO's agenda which is not
automatic but needs much complementary activities such as ISO
17799/BS 7799 security certification especially for banks,
telecommunication, insurance, internal service providers, exchange
houses and government agencies to be more competitive in their
markets and to differentiate their organisations.
The programme is conducted by Avinash
Kadam (IS Security Guru in India) and S. Pathirage (Senior IS
security consultant in Sri Lanka) who are industry experts having
extensive experiences in information system governance, assurance,
and security for over 20 years. The programme is also backed by
DNV (Det Norske Veritas) India as an independent auditor for
Bank NRFC accounts
rates for higher balances
FC Plus from Commercial Bank is a Non
Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC) account that guarantees
impressive returns on foreign currency investments.
With an initial deposit of 5,000 in
either US Dollars, Euro, Sterling Pounds or Australian Dollars a
FC Plus account can be opened at any branch, CSP or MiniCom.
The FC Plus offers the highest interest rates as compared
to other banks.
Interest is calculated according to the
London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR) on daily balances and paid
at the end of each month.
The rate of interest increases with the
balance in the account.
A higher balance means a higher interest rate.
The interest rates applicable for each
currency will increase depending on the quantum of the balance.
Deposits upto 5,000 would receive the regular NRFC rate
while deposits between 5,001 - 25,000 will receive the one month
LIBOR rate, deposits of 25,001 - 50,000 the one month LIBOR rate
plus 0.10 per cent, deposits of 50,001 - 100,000 the one month
LIBOR rate plus 0.25 per cent.
The interest rates applicable for each month will be
published on the last working day of the month.
Assistant General Manager, Treasury,
Dula Weerathunga told The Sunday Leader that since the product was
launched last year the bank has got a good response, especially
from the Sri Lankan diaspora overseas.
Weerathunga says customers are better
off saving in a FC Plus NRFC account rather than a saving in an
account, which offers a lottery for a few.
Customers of FC Plus have also the
added advantage of borrowing in rupees as against their foreign
currency savings for low rates of interest.
He noted that while the customer has
the security for their savings in a bank that has a superior
credit rating, the country as a whole benefits immensely through
the scheme as it has attracted foreign remittances to the
country's foreign reserves.
"The credit risk for the customer
is minimal as the Bank has an AA+ (Sri) rating by Fitch Sri
Lanka" notes Weerathunga.
The AA+ (Sri) rating is the highest
rating offered to a local commercial bank and Commercial Bank is
the only bank in Sri Lanka to receive this rating.
The bank also won the "Best Bank
in Sri Lanka" award for the sixth consecutive year from the
US based Global Finance magazine and "Bank of the Year"
for the fourth consecutive year from the UK based The Banker
magazine in 2004.
Weerathunga says this is testament to the stability and
growth of the bank.
leaves no disaster uncovered
Ceylinco Insurance (General) now
ensures that no disaster is left uncovered with its recent launch
of a new natural disaster cover to their range of insurance
policies. This is the first time in Sri Lanka that an insurance
policy has been introduced as protection against natural
The recent tsunami disaster placed
insurance policy holders in a quandary whether they would be
compensated for their losses. Ceylinco Insurance Co. stepped in on
humanitarian grounds to compensate those affected on an ex-gratia
basis, though insurance policies did not cover destruction due to
disasters such as tsunami. Accordingly many businesses in the
affected coastal belt from Moratuwa to Jaffna were able to
recommence business in as little as 10 days.
Having learn't through experience the
company has now formulated a new cover to convert all existing
policies to protect them against any natural disaster. With the
new natural disaster cover VIP motor insurance policyholders with
flood cover will be automatically covered against tsunamis, tidal
waves, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, cyclones, storms
and tempests, earth slips, landslides, hurricanes and tornadoes
without any additional premium. Further, existing VIP policies
without flood cover could get these benefits to cover all other
natural disasters before
February 26 or at the next renewal.
The natural disaster cover for all
other classes of insurance policies will cover against tsunamis,
tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and hurricanes. The new cover can
be obtained by existing policyholders at any of Ceylinco Insurance
Co. branches islandwide before February 26 or at the next renewal
of policies. New customers could also call in at any of the
branches to obtain details of comprehensive insurance policies.
Ceylinco Insurance, the leading
insurance company in Sri Lanka is committed to ensure that
customers get true value for money in their insurance policies.
The company is renowned for its consistency in service as well as
the leader in providing innovative products and services.
'SET Plus' - absolute peace of mind
SET PLUS is the latest innovative
service offered by Sampath Bank.
It is a safe depository system where customers can place
their jewellery for safe keeping, unlike the individual locker
"We, at Sampath Bank strongly
believe that there is an increasing need for people to keep their
valuables in a safe place.
Banks do offer the same facility through an individual
locker system, which is being catered only to a certain segment of
fixed deposit is needed for this and a comparatively high rental
is annually charged," said AGM, Marketing and Business
Development, Sampath Bank, Kapila Karunaratne speaking to The
Furthermore, he added banks cannot
market safe lockers as a product itself because of the high
initial investment involved and only a certain segment of the
customers can afford the facility.
"We offer not an individual locker but an allocation
of space in a single large locker and work out the rental for the
space that is occupied at a very nominal rate where competitors
cannot match," said Karunaratne.
The bank will take full responsibility
for the articles and on top of that place a standby credit
facility to the customer up to 80% of the value of the jewellery,
loaded into the SET ATM Card.
The bank undertakes gold jewellery
valued up to a limit of Rs.500,000.
For jewellery valued at Rs.25,000, the annual rental will
only work out to around Rs.160 and the minimum deposit period
is one year.
Further, Karunaratne said maximum security and
responsibility is guaranteed at a low cost with a standby credit
facility whenever needed - "Instant access to your account
from any part of the world using the SET card through the Cirrus
ATM network. As
far as the jewellery is concerned, full or part release could be
Karunaratne assured that the safety
aspect is almost the same, or even better in some instances, than
the individual locker system.
Specially in a disastrous situation, the customers' gold
kept in Sampath SET PLUS Deposit System will be secured.
Furthermore, this service was mainly
introduced keeping in mind working families where both spouses are
employed, young executives, those going abroad and those who
cannot afford individual lockers, which is very popular at
present. Customers could contact any Sampath Bank branch to obtain
cards: HNB shows the way
Want to become a millionaire? Then be a
part of the Hatton National Bank Royalty 2005 scheme. Through this
scheme, HNB opens up a whole new world for its credit cardholders
- with the grand prize offered through the annual draw for 2005
being Rs. 1,000,000.
With Royalty 2005, there are no losers
- every cardholder is able to redeem accumulated points while also
being entitled to the quarterly draws and the annual draw.
Cardholders are awarded one Royalty
point for every Rs. 100 spent anywhere in the world - customers
are eligible for the quarterly and annual draws when they achieve
a minimum of 500 Royalty points.
Prizes for winners of the quarterly
draw include a cash prize of Rs 100,000 plus 13 return air tickets
to London, Sydney, Dubai and Bangkok
The annual draw includes prizes of 10
tours to Egypt and a host of attractive cash awards - that is
apart from the first prize of Rs. 1,000,000 - aptly titled the
'Crowning Of A Millionaire.'
Special arrangements have also been
made with Emirates Airlines to offer HNB cardholders special
discounts and privileges.
Royalty 2005 was launched in the wake
of the success of Royalty 2004 - where the winner of the first
prize was handed over the keys to a Mercedes Benz on February 11
at the award ceremony.
HNB also aims to add more value,
comfort and convenience for its cardholders as the year goes by in
order to ensure that Royalty 2005 will become the
"sensational promotion" of the year.
"Visa International has confirmed
to HNB that merchant business in Sri Lanka has grown by 33% as a
whole. At HNB we have seen a growth of over 100%. Also, the card
sales volume in the country has grown by 32%, while it has grown
by 50% at HNB. We attribute this growth mainly to the success of
Royalty 2004, which not only increased the number of cardholders
but also increased card usage tremendously," Assistant
General Manager (Card Centre), HNB, P. Sridharan told The Sunday
HNB took the initiative of launching
the first ever loyalty programme way back in 1997. According to
bank officials, there were no losers when it came to the recently
concluded Royalty 2004 since every cardholder was able to redeem
the accumulated points while also being entitled to the quarterly
draws and the annual draw.
According to them, card usage increased
rapidly among the bank's existing cardholders with the
introduction of Royalty 2004 and a substantial number of new
cardholders joined the scheme during the year.
Based on this success and due to demand
from its customers, Royalty 2005 was launched last week and this
time the bank has also tied up with many leading names in Sri
Lanka such as Aitken Spence Hotels, Arpico Super Centres, Keells
Super outlets, Apollo Hospitals and various other leading
establishments from all parts of the country as Royalty partners,
in addition to its special arrangement with Emirates.
Some of the Royalty partners have their
own prize schemes for HNB cardholders who patronise their outlets
and will be announced periodically by the bank - yet another
pleasant surprise for HNB cardholders.
"Through Royalty 2005 we intend to
keep the cardholders' interest right throughout the year. We will
be having a big street promotion in April to coincide with the
Sinhala and Tamil new year; a street promotion on Duplication Road
in July or August that will cover the major shopping centres; and
a shopping spree in December featuring discounts arranged with a
large number of vendors," said Sridharan.
The bank also entered into an agreement
with Emirates to promote travel among its Visa and MasterCard
credit cardholders, with special fares offered to three
destinations initially - Singapore, Jakarta and Dubai.
This offer is for cardholders who use
their credit cards to purchase tickets for themselves and family
or friends for outbound travel before April 30, with the only
stipulation being, in each case, the cardholder must also be among
those who travel.
HNB sources confirmed that they are
geared to entertain applications from non-cardholders for the
quick issue of new cards for those who want to avail themselves of
these offers, subject to applications meeting the minimum
These special fares on business and
economy class travel confer a benefit of more than 10 percent over
standard fares to the bank's credit card holders. A
Colombo-Singapore economy class return ticket for example, will
cost Rs. 21, 000 as against Rs. 24, 000; a Colombo-Jakarta return
ticket on the same class will be Rs.30, 000 and not Rs. 34, 000,
while a Colombo-Dubai return ticket will cost Rs. 23, 000 as
against Rs. 29, 500.
The special business class return fares
are Rs. 61,000 to Dubai (normal fare Rs. 67,800), Rs. 63,100 to
Singapore (normal fare Rs. 70,400) and Rs. 81,000 to Jakarta
(normal fare Rs. 90,400.)
Emirates will also provide HNB credit
card holders travelling to Singapore under this promotion with
accommodation options starting at US$ 81 per person for two
nights, or US$ 99 for the three nights, both options on the basis
of two persons sharing. The price includes accommodation at three
star hotels, with room taxes, service charge and return transfers
Not only does this provide a great
opportunity for HNB credit card holders to experience the
award-winning service of Emirates at special rates, they will also
be entitled to earn Skywards Miles, which can be used to purchase
tickets for more travel.
Emirates has also organised a special
draw for HNB cardholders. Emirates will also conduct a draw in
March for all passengers who travel under this promotion and five
passengers will have a quantum of Skywards Miles (sufficient to
enable them to redeem return tickets to either Europe or
Singapore) credited to their accounts.
Additionally, those who avail
themselves of this offer will receive bonus points from HNB's
loyalty programme 'Royalty 2005.'
Under this programme, HNB cardholders
will also receive a free booklet of vouchers courtesy of the
Singapore Tourist Board, which will entitle them to discounts and
free offers in a wide variety of places including the zoo,
restaurants and heritage centres.
Dubai based Emirates operates four
flights a week from Colombo to Singapore and Jakarta, with flights
departing on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
The bank will also launch a whole new
value addition, CCOnline, this year. This will enable customers to
view all card related information such as transactions, balances,
etc. online instead of having to contact the Card Center.
"Customers will find this very
convenient. It will also show them the transactions that have just
been performed and they wouldn't have to wait for the statement to
arrive," asserted Sridharan.
A payment gateway is also being
developed presently and is due to be launched in March. This will
enable customers and merchants to conduct transactions in a more
Personalisation of credit cards, under
the 'Picture Card' and 'Photo Card' concepts is also very popular
among customers and considered an excellent value addition by
"There is a lot of demand for
these cards since they are personalised and we will be expanding
on this concept in a big way," asserted Sridharan.
HNB cardholders have the facility of
paying their bills at any HNB customer service centre across the
country at no extra cost, which would reflect in the card account
on the same date of payment.
The HNB card centre initially enjoyed
affiliate membership from MasterCard International and later
obtained principal membership from both Visa and MasterCard
International during 1997. It now operates as a fully-fledged card
centre with a variety of services, innovative products and goes to
great lengths to ensure customer satisfaction.
HNB was the first to launch an affinity
card with a school, namely Royal College Union, which was followed
with many leading educational institutions in the country. Under
the affinity partnership programme the HNB card centre has donated
over Rs. 2.5 million to the relevant schools for various
educational / development purposes.
Recently the bank launched the first
ever SMS alert system, which took the market by storm in view of
the added security features in the interest of the cardholder, in
an era where credit card frauds surface at random.
With this system, when an HNB
cardholder who has registered for this service uses his / her
credit card, a SMS alert is instantly sent to the cardholder's
hand phone indicating the nature of transaction and the available
balance. An inappropriate message will alert the cardholder that
his / her card number has been tapped, and used for a fraudulent
transaction, thus enabling the cardholder to take preventive
- very much a new generation bank
By Marianne David
A 'new generation' commercial bank,
Nations Trust Bank (NTB) is a bank that has continually gone out
of its way to understand its customers' needs and wants.
The bank is committed to providing the
best solutions, and with its latest venture, Nations Leasing, NTB
is geared to provide tailor-made solutions along with the services
of leasing experts.
At NTB, working out attractive leasing
packages to suit individual requirements is a hassle free process.
The personalised service and fast lane approach to documentation
ensures that customers are completely satisfied.
Starting with flexible down payment
options and NTB being willing to finance up to 100% of the
financial requirement of a new vehicle, the bank also offers
competitive rates of interest and repayment terms.
"We introduced leasing in the last
week of January and with Nations Leasing we are targeting three
different segments - individuals, the SME sector and corporates -
and we have dedicated teams to address the requirements of each
segment," said Deputy Chief Executive Officer, NTB, Iftikar
Most of the personal leasing would be
handled by the NTB branch network with a dedicated team of
consumer assets marketing staff, while the SME and corporate
leasing requirements will be addressed by the bank's corporate
banking relationship management team.
"We are very confident our
customers will find this product very satisfying. The features
that will apply are flexible down payment schemes, competitive
rates of interest, and efficient turnaround time - making the
process hassle free for our customers," said Ahamed.
Individuals who wish to obtain a
leasing package should have a monthly salary of Rs. 40,000 and the
lease tenures offered by the bank range from three to five years.
The biggest value addition to all this
is that Nations Leasing will complement an already exciting suite
of financial products and services that NTB offers, which extend
from retail to corporate to treasury products, that are delivered
through the bank's network of 26 branches under the unique 365 day
Not only are most NTB branches open 365
days of the year, they also operate for extended hours. For
example, the mini branches operate until 8 p.m. on weekends and
offer all the services that are available in the main branches.
The bank has also put in place an
innovative structure with the processing angle being outsourced to
Mercantile Leasing Limited (MLL), which is an associate company of
"Given MLL's industry insights,
together with the funding and treasury management expertise NTB
possesses, we are confident it will be an unbeatable
combination," asserted Ahamed.
NTB attributes its success over the
years to its professionalism, strong execution of banking services
and the will to continue providing its customers with excellent
customer care and services.
Fitch Ratings Lanka Limited has rated
the bank SL A-, which denotes high credit quality.
unveils range of new products
With DFCC Vardhana Bank, customers are
on the receiving end of better deals. The bank's initiative to
provide better deals has resulted in the development of a range of
attractive savings and deposit products.
The bank's strategy is to become a more
efficient financial intermediary and to give its clients better
services at lower costs and offers a wide range of unique savings
and deposit products to its customers.
"As a new bank we would like to
generate our savings products base and over the last one and a
half years of operations, we have been continually developing and
introducing new products. We offer our customers several savings
products," said Chief Operating Officer, DFCC Vardhana Bank,
Among its savings products are the
normal customer savings account, where interest is paid on a daily
basis; the Vardhana super savings account with a life insurance
scheme; and two products for children - the Vardhana children's
savings account and the Vardhana junior account.
The Vardhana children's savings account
is an account that aims to cultivate the habit of saving in
children, while the Vardhana junior account is a planned savings
The bank also offers a floating savings
account, where interest rates are changed weekly depending on the
market rates and in order to develop the habit of saving among the
community, the bank has also introduced a number of deposit
schemes, and offers a fixed deposit scheme ranging from one month
to two years.
"Customers with super savings
accounts are automatically entitled to have a current account as
well and they would instruct the bank to handle the fund
management aspects which gives the customer the optimum interest
earning capacity," explained Silva.
Banking on the future, the main focus
of the Vardhana junior savings account is education. Through the
account the bank aims to provide parents and guardians with the
opportunity of starting a savings account from the day a child is
Through the Vardhana junior savings
account the bank offers computer training programmes, computers,
Despite there being several junior
savings schemes in the market, the Vardhana junior savings account
is different - the reason being, instead of offering gifts, it
offers stability for the child and helps parents and guardians
plan their future.
The account features tiered rates of
interest and a bonus interest is given as an incentive for those
interested in increasing their savings balance. A nominee could be
appointed at the time of opening the account and in the event of
the death of the parent or guardian, the nominee could continue to
operate the account.
The bank's senior citizens deposit
scheme is for individuals over 55 years of age and has a
preferential monthly interest rate, which is above market rates.
The scheme was launched as a social responsibility programme, due
to which DFCC Bank decided to pay a premium interest to senior
DFCC Vardhana Bank's super savings
account is an account that provides the opportunity to optimise
return of funds and the flexibility to interchange funds via
current and savings account - a novel product in the financial
market in Sri Lanka.
Through this savings account, DFCC
Vardhana Bank is trying to focus on mobilising both urban and
rural savings. With a super savings account, customers have the
flexibility to transfer funds above a certain threshold to a fixed
deposit from their savings account, thereby enjoying
With a super savings account, the
savings account holder, while maintaining the account, can also
operate a current account as well. Super savings account holders
will also be provided with a life insurance cover depending on
their savings balance and a period of time, which the bank will
Traditionally, banks do not pay
interest for funds held in current accounts. However, with the
super savings account, the current account holder has the
opportunity to use his or her funds to get the maximum benefit
since the current account could be linked to their savings
DFCC Vardhana Bank also provides the
facility where a savings account holder can opt to have the bank
send a monthly statement instead of maintaining a savings
In addition, the savings account is not
confined to Sri Lankan rupees and Non Resident Foreign Currency (NRFC)
holders could also invest in foreign currency savings accounts.
They could parallely maintain a rupee current account and transfer
NRFC account funds to the local rupee account and draw funds in
Sri Lankan rupees - an unique feature.
The bank's foreign currency accounts
can be opened in a variety of currency with the best interest
rates available. An automatic overdraft facility of 90% of the
deposit is available from the day of opening an account.
Sri Lanka citizens residing here who
receive money from abroad are eligible to open Resident Foreign
Currency (RFC) accounts, Sri Lankans employed overseas or those
who have returned after having worked abroad can open Non Resident
Foreign Currency (NRFC) accounts and non-nationals residing in Sri
Lanka can open Resident Non National Foreign Currency (RNNFC)
The bank also pays attractive interest
rates, which are comparatively higher than those offered by other
DFCC Vardhana Bank was rated SL AA- by
Fitch Ratings Lanka Ltd., which denotes the low risk in terms of
repayment to the customers.
"This is a great achievement since
the bank has been in operation for only one and a half years.
People look at the stability of an institution - it is of
paramount importance. As a result all financial institutions are
required to have a rating, which shows the risk of a bank,"
The bank intends to cater to the rural
areas and is planning to expand operations in the course of this
year in order to reach the masses and also plans to introduce a
number of new products in the course of this year.
DFCC Vardhana Bank was formed after
DFCC Bank infused capital of Rs. 481 million into the MERC Bank.
This resulted in DFCC owning 95% of MERC Bank and it was
subsequently renamed as DFCC Vardhana Bank.
DFCC Vardhana Bank offers all
commercial banking facilities such as savings accounts, current
accounts, fixed deposits, certificate of deposits, long-term and
short-term loans, over draft facilities, L/C facilities, NRFC/ RFC
and travellers cheques.
DFCC Bank was set up in 1955 by an act
of parliament mainly to undertake the financing of development in
Sri Lanka by giving long-term loans to the small and medium
enterprise sector and private sector companies to set up various
industries, plantations and factories.
Through DFCC Vardhana Bank, DFCC is
helping its existing clients who no longer have to go to any other
bank to carry out their commercial banking operations. On the
strength of the assets mortgaged at DFCC, they can obtain
facilities through DFCC Vardhana Bank. Additional benefits offered
by DFCC Vardhana Bank include the online ATM facility and the
linked branches, enabling customers to carry out transactions at
any DFCC Vardhana Bank branch.