wants to replicate S'pore success in CEPA
in relation to the Comprehensive Economic
Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India
and Sri Lanka will be held towards the end
of next month, Indian High Commission's
Commercial Counsellor Sunjay Sudhir told The
Sunday Leader on Friday.
objective of CEPA is to expand the current
Indo Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ILFTA) that
is at present restricted to goods and
services, to cover services and investments
Sudhir said that the Indian delegation would
be led by its Joint Secretary Department of
Commerce Rajeev Kher. The meeting in Colombo
would last about 2-3 days, he said.
however refused to divulge what would be in
the agenda. "That has not yet been
finalized," said Sudhir. Earlier,
Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad,
addressing the Indo-Lanka Chamber of
Commerce and Industry in Colombo on Friday,
said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was
keen to expand trade in the Asian region.
who formerly served as India's High
Commissioner to Singapore, before being
assigned to Colombo, witnessed during his
tenure in Singapore, such a comprehensive
economic partnership being entered into
between Singapore and India. "We want
to replicate the Singaporean
experience," said Prasad.
said that talks between the two countries on
CEPA hardly made any progress last year. But
Prasad said that India was keen that it
should take off. Prasad also said that in an
assymetrical move, India plans to reduce the
number of items in its negative list vis-…-vis
further said that in regard to tea exports
from Sri Lanka to India, currently
restricted to two ports, Cochin and
Calcutta, to be expanded, with the
possibility of Chennai also being included.
India was keen on removing non-tariff
barriers so that Sri Lanka could benefit
from India's economic boom, he said.
area in relation to the removal of NTBs that
they were looking at was with regard to
garment imports from Sri Lanka. In relation
to the liberalization of financial services,
they were looking at areas covering finance,
such as banking and insurance and even the
movement of professional service providers
like doctors, lawyers and auditing, he said.
Prasad further said that Vanaspathi imports
to India is normally charged a 75% duty. But
under the ILFTA it is zero. In order to
protect the Indian vanaspathi industry, an
annual cap of 250,000 metric tons (mts) have
been placed in regard to vanaspathi imports
from Sri Lanka.
between the two countries since the signing
of the ILFTA in 2000 has grown from 5-600
million dollars to $ 2.2 billion.
relation to the gradual liberalization of
duties in India and the possible negative
impact such a scenario would have on Indian
investments made in Sri Lanka, with the
intent of taking advantage of the duty
concessions offered under the ILFTA, Prasad
said that trend could not be reversed.
"You cannot be protected for ever, your
enterprise needs to be viable," he
added. Average duties which were between
200-250% prior to liberalization, has since
come down to 15%.
of duties is a global trend and it is only
those industries that are efficient, would
be able to compete in such an environment,
he said. Prasad also said that since India
liberalized its economy in 1991, it has
grown two fold. And it's bound to grow a
further two fold soon.
hundred million people have come out from
the poverty trap and has joined the ranks of
the consuming middle-class after the
implementation of reforms. Poverty,
according to conservative estimates, has
come down from 36% to 25%. Another 200
million are expected to come out of the
poverty trap in the next couple of years.
Indian economy is expected to grow by 9.2%
this year. It is a $ 900 billion economy and
is expected to pass the trillion mark in the
next 1-11/2 years. It's corporate India that
is leading India's reforms process.
the top 100 corporates in the 1991 list is
compared with the present list, only 30 of
the old guard still remained. Companies such
as Infosys and Reliance which are in the
present list, was not there in 1991.
names such as Birla and Tata are still there
in both lists, those companies however have
prior to liberalization, from the 1950s,
'60s and '70s, India's economy grew at 2-3%,
equal to its population growth, keeping
millions of its people entrapped in poverty.
fall if Indian inflation passes 5%
India, if inflation passes 5-6%, that would
result in governments being toppled, Indian
High Commissioner Alok Prasad said on
the Indo-Lanka Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, he said that if the price of
onions doubled, that would hasten the
government's departure even faster.
Currently inflation in India is in the range
further said that it was macro-economic
stability that spurs growth. Prasad said
that though growth in India accelerated in
the 1980s, that period was also dogged by
high inflation and a worsening external
balance of payments position.
at present, India has reserves amounting to
$ 180 billion and the government does not
know what to do with it! The Indian economy
is being integrated. Exports last year grew
by 20% to $ 120 billion. Imports amounted to
$ 170 billion. But this is positive, because
imported raw material is needed to feed the
factories in India. FDI investment last year
amounted to $ 8.5 billion, lower than
China's $ 40-45 billion. Indian companies
are investing abroad.
believes in gradual change. It does not want
to rush into reforms and suffer the fate of
Indonesia and Argentina. Three million
mobile connections are being made every
month in India.
in the port sector are improving. Turnaround
time which was 3-4 weeks previously, has now
been reduced to 3-4 days. But there is still
a long way to go in this sector. For
instance the turnaround time in Singapore is
a mere 3-4 hours.
India's quest to achieve a 10% economic
growth, the agriculture sector would have to
correspondingly grow by 4%. For this, the
government is targeting public investments
in rural infrastructure like roads.
social security without liberalization
Sri Lanka to have a social security system,
then government controlled funds such as the
EPF and ETF will have to be liberalized,
Institute of Policy Studies Executive
Director Dr Saman Kelegama said.
at a Federation of Chambers of Commerce and
Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) organized
seminar on Friday, he however said that that
would be a difficult thing to do, with Sri
Lanka running high budget deficits of
funds such as the EPF and ETF are used by
the government to borrow at low interest
rates, rather than making such borrowings
from the banking system. He said as such it
would be difficult for the government to
institute labour reforms, because, in the
absence of a social security system in the
country, the only protection the worker
therefore has is job security, he said.
the importance of industrial peace, Kelegama
said that as Sri Lanka is now recognized as
a middle-income country, it has to go to the
market to meet its borrowing requirements.
For this purpose, the sovereign rating of B-
that the country received is
if there is industrial unrest, this rating
could go down even further. This would make
commercial borrowings more expensive. The
FCCISL, in order to facilitate better
industrial relations has set-up the
Industrial Relations Forum (IRF).
also said that trade unions were
politicized, working not on the interest of
the worker, but in the interest of some
political agency. If not for the strike in
the plantations and in the ports last year,
Sri Lanka would have grown by over 7.5%,
said Kelegama. The country recorded a 7.4%
growth rate in 2006.
further said that for greater transparency,
trade unions should elect their leaders by
ballot and prepare annual reports to show
how they utilize the membership fees
collected from workers affiliated to their
seeks JVs with China
70 strong chambers delegation would leave
for China with President Mahinda Rajapakse
on a week long tour beginning today.
of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri
Lanka (FCCISL) President Nawaz Rajabdeen
said on Friday that among the chamber
delegates are those representing
regional chambers from places such as
Matara, Kalutara and from the Sabaraga-muwa
Province. However, no delegates from the
regional chambers in the North and East are
making this trip, he said. This was due to
the bureaucracy involved in obtaining
security clearance, said Rajabdeen.
further said that Rajapakse was specifically
interested that regional chambers make this
visit. "Never mind if they don't clinch
orders, but what I want is for them to get
that international exposure," Rajapakse
had said, according to Rajabdeen.
FCCISL, which is playing a lead role in this
chambers' tour to China, would focus on
promoting joint ventures(JVs),
in areas such as rubber based
industries. The focus is for them to set-up
JVs with Chinese partners in Sri Lanka, in
order to export to India, capitalizing on
the Indo-Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ILFTA),
area that we are looking at in this
connection is the rubber component industry,
to feed the Indian automobile industry, he
FCCISL in this connection would be liaising
with China's largest chamber movement, the
China Council for the Promotion of
International Trade (CCPIT).
to Shan-ghai, and the Guangzou export
promotion zone have also being organized, he
said. "It's not exporting to China that
we are looking at, but promoting JVs,"
Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera scooted off
from a press conference on Friday before
reporters could ask him questions after he
spoke about the country's development
said that at the Sri Lanka Development Forum
that concluded in Galle recently, donor
agencies had had pledged $ 4.5 billion to
take forward Sri Lanka's development agenda.
But World Bank Vice President South Asia
region Praful Patel told The Sunday Leader
at a post development forum media briefing,
that no such pledge had been made by the
donor agencies at this forum.
before reporters could ask Jayasundera any
questions, he left the Finance Ministry
auditorium where the briefing was being
held, giving the Director General of Inland
Revenue A.A. Wijepala the podium to address
earlier said that Japan has pledged Yen 39.3
billion for the outer circular road project
and "water development" projects.
He said that the Hambantota port would be
developed with Chinese assistance. They hope
to increase foreign aid utilization this
year to $ 1.5 billion, up from the $ 1.1
billion used in 2006.
the other projected targets were, the
increase in foreign remittances from $ 2.5
billion to $ 2.8 billion, increase in
tourism receipts to $ 500 million this year,
with 600,000 tourist arrivals envisaged this
year. And tourism receipts, in the next 2-3
years to be increased to $ one billion.
ministry stumps Bandula
Director General Sarath Jayathilake exposed
the lie of Trade Minister Bandula
Gunewardena when he said that his Department
had not increased the duty free status of
certain essential items upto the Avurudhu
(April) season in order to provide these
items to the consumer at a reasonable price.
have got no such order from the Finance
Ministry," Jayathilake told reporters
on Friday, at a briefing that was presided
over by Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith
Siyambalapitiya. Siyambalapitiya did not
earlier told The Morning Leader in its
February 21 issue that the duty free status
of essential food items such as onions,
sugar, dried chillies, sprats, potatoes and
lentils, that was instituted in December to
provide cheap food for the consumer and
which expired on February 15, had been
extended till the Avurudhu season.
local harvest starts rolling into the market
from now, therefore if the import duty
waiver is extended till the Avurudhu season,
it will affect the local farmer, said
said that this is one of the steps that the
government is taking to reduce inflation.
Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya
told reporters on Friday that following the
recruitment of 42,000 graduates by the UPFA
government, 8,000 more would be taken into
said that of these 8,000 to be recruited,
4,000 will have to serve in schools located
in "difficult areas" as teachers
for a period of five years. A further 1,500
would be absorbed into the state sector.
fund for SMEs
government is having talks with the ADB to
set-up a technology fund, especially
targeting the SME sector, Institute of
Policy Studies Executive Director Dr Saman
Kelegama addressing a Federation of Chambers
of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL)
seminar on Friday said.
however have not been worked out, he said.
The implementing agency is the National
Economic Development Agency that comes under
Investment Promotion Minister Dr. Sarath
Amunugama, he said.
uses captive funds for borrowing
bill rates continued with their upward trend
despite government's efforts to keep down
rates and borrow cheap by bringing in
captive funds such as the Bank of Ceylon and
People's Bank to invest in this auction that
was held on Wednesday, informed sources
weighted average yields (WAYs) of 91 day,
182 day and 364 day bills increased by
three, five and three basis points
respectively to register WAYs of 13.78%,
13.82% and 14.12%. A total of
Rs 11,978 million worth of bills were
offered for re-issue at this auction.
Rs 8,938 million treasury bills were
accepted from the market, the balance Rs
3,040 million worth of bills were
retired," the Central Bank said.
22000 for Dickoya
Plantations Ltd., has obtained the ISO 22000
Certification for Diekoya Estate selling
under the "Adisham/Dickoya" marks.
increase in HNB's pre-tax profits
National Bank (HNB), acknowledged by the
internationally respected UK Banker Magazine
as Sri Lanka's Bank of the year 2006, has
ended another year of robust performance
with solid improvements in key financial
indicators, said a statement.
on the audited statements released for year
ended December 31, 2006, HNB Managing
Director Rajendra Theagarajah said:
"Team HNB has pursued a path of
implementing selected strategies designed to
meet the set of challenges we identified as
critical for delivering superior value to
our stakeholders during the last twelve
months with a unified focus and vigour."
per the audited results released recently,
HNB and its subsidiaries and associate
companies recorded a significant growth of
54% in pre tax profit in 2006, compared to
Rs 2,008 million-in 2005, standing at Rs
bank alone recorded a pre tax profit of Rs
3,019 million, a 63 % growth over the
previous year. Post tax profit attributable
to the Group crossed the important milestone
of Rs. two billion to record Rs 2,276
million compared to Rs 1,795 million in
Bank's after-tax profit too recorded a 34 %
increase to Rs 2,220 million despite a
charge of Rs 799 million for corporate
taxes. Group turnover increased by Rs 10
billion to reach Rs 23.2 billion crossing
the important Rs 20 billion milestone.
in Net Interest Income (26%) and Fee and
Commission Income (8%) contributed towards a
healthy growth in Net Income of 21%. Foreign
Exchange contributed Rs 792 million
recording a healthy increase of 22% over
continued focus on cost management has led
to operating costs (including provision for
bad and doubtful debts, and bad debt
write-offs) increasing by only 11.5 % during
the year despite inflation reaching 19% in
2006. A notable achievement was that the
provision for bad and doubtful debts
decreased by a massive 47%.
Advances grew by Rs 21 billion to Rs 136
Focus on portfolio quality was
evident with the Non Performing Advances
Ratio (Net of provisions) reducing to 2.27%
(from 3.05 % in 2005) while the Provision
cover improved to 74%. Selective acquisition
of assets ensured that the Total Assets of
the Bank increased by Rs 30 billion to reach
Rs 196 billion. The Deposit base grew by 15%
to Rs 148 billion.
Capital Adequacy too showed healthy position
despite an upward revision during 2006 in
the risk weights applied to the majority of
the advances categories including housing by
Tier I ratio reached 10.23% while the
combined Tier I and II ratio reached 11.32%
well above the minimum regulatory
requirements of 5% and 10% respectively. The
Return on Average Assets improved by almost
18% to 1.23% from 1.04% in 2005 while
Shareholders' Funds grew by a healthy 15% to
reach Rs 12.9 billion.
directors have recommended a final dividend
of 25 % to be paid which will result in the
total dividend for 2006 being 50 % (40% in
2005). At a meeting of the Board held
recently, the directors have also
recommended a script (bonus) issue to
ordinary shareholders on the basis of one
ordinary share for each ordinary share
voting share price ended at Rs 190.00 while
non voting share ended at Rs 89.75 on
provides corporate exposure
Institute of Higher Education (IIHE), one of
the oldest tertiary education institutes in
Sri Lanka and the validated centre to award
(WU) degrees locally, has introduced
a practical, young entrepreneur development
programme with its "Seminar In
Marketing" module, which is a skills
development module of the BSc. (Hons)
Business Management degree, said a
is the first time in Sri Lanka a foreign
degree-awarding body has introduced a
comprehensive employment oriented program
for its undergraduates.
"The objective behind setting up
of the IIHE was to provide world recognized,
quality guaranteed, up-to-date UK tertiary
education at an affordable price to Sri
We tied up with WU because of its
long and distinguished academic history as
it is the second oldest and the second
largest federal university in the UK.
of casually replicating foreign degrees in
Sri Lanka, which sometimes serves
to no purpose, we at IIHE go through
a lengthy process to customize the academic
courses to suit local requirements while
keeping up with global standards.
courses are then evaluated and mapped
against the prevailing WU degree modules and
after a stringent quality assurance process,
the WU awards the validation." IIHE CEO
Dr. Thilak Weerakoon said.
in Marketing" has been developed as
part of this academic "customisation"
Under this module, final year BSc.
students who are specializing in marketing
are expected to incorporate their own
company under the local company's act,
source funds, manufacture a product, launch
the product/s and market them.
are also expected to prepare audited
The grading for this module depends
on their success with the company and an
additional written examination.
Gunith De Silva
and Shehan Mendis, two members of
a company that was set up to sell a
presentations skills programme anda
corresponding CD said, "The experience
and exposure we got while carrying out this
assignment is tremendous.
It was like a fast track programme to
the real corporate world.
This gave us an opportunity to
explore our strengths and capabilities and
understand the happenings of the real
business world and actively set up and
manage our own businesses. We got a holistic
and first hand experience on becoming
chose the WU BSc degree programme because of
the various value additions it has
incorporated into its academic agenda.
The team working and networking
opportunities we got by engaging in the
seminar in marketing programme were
the members of the real corporate world with
whom we had to interact were
understanding and supportive.
In fact some of the elite companies
even offered us employment in their
appreciate what IIHE has done to develop us
into fully-fledged professionals who are
capable of taking up challenges in the
demanding business world." Said Sun
Beam Ltd CEO Angela Gonawela.
Beam is a T-Shirt marketing company
promoting a concept called "Good
All the proceeds from these business
ventures will be donated to charity. Such a
decision by these teams, even at this young
age shows that they have learnt what
corporate social responsibilities are.
addition, the programme also offers a 'Real
Life Problem Solving' -RLPS module where
final year students have to undertake a
consulting assignment for a company. The
company will brief the students about a
"real" problem that exists within
the company. The student team under the
supervision of a faculty member has to
function as professional consultants and
submit a report identifying solutions.
findings will then be presented during a
formal boardroom scenario in the presence of
the respective company officials.
According to IIHE sources some of the
companies have not only implemented those
recommendations but have recruited some of
the students once they passed out as
main purpose behind all these value adding
programmes is to develop professionals who
have the necessary knowledge to set up or
lead modern organizations in a very
competitive and sustainable manner.
believe that Sri Lanka needs a group of
hands-on, visionary business leaders and
this is our way of grooming them.
this was the first time we conducted such a
programme, due to the unprecedented success
it has brought in and the positive feedback
we have got from our students and their
parents, IIHE will continue to expand and
enrich the learning experience of our
students with innovative academic
modules." Dr. Weerakoon further
has been awarding UK degrees to Sri Lankan
students since 1996 and they have BSc.
programmes in Management and in IT and an
MBA at present, all validated by WU.
Rs 1 mn. prize won
lucky Lanka Bell (LB) subscriber walked away
from a ceremony in Colombo recently, richer
by Rs. one million, bringing to a close a
consumer promotion by LB, said a statement.
P. D. S. Samarasinghe from Kottawa, the
winner of this bonanza said she had been an
LB subscriber since 2005 and was overwhelmed
by her good luck.
was aware that there was a competition on,
but I did not even check what the rules
were. All I did was use my LB phone and I
was surprised to learn I had won Rs one
million," she said.
at the presentation, LB Managing Director
Suren Goonewardene said the promotion which
awarded more than 16,000 prizes had enabled
the company to interact with a wide cross
section of its huge customer base. "LB
is proud of its status as the only wholly
Sri Lankan telecoms company in the country
and this promotion enabled us to reward
customers across the island," he said.
promotion was the first of its kind in Sri
Lanka's telecoms sector. LB has many firsts
to its credit, so this is no surprise to our
Goonewardene said, adding that a
unique feature of the promotion was the fact
that valuable prizes, including the grand
prize of Rs one million, air tickets,
television sets, gold sovereigns, washing
machines and microwaves were awarded by the
CDMA operator that offers the lowest call
rates in the country.
of LB's BellTel and BellTel Budget
subscribers as well as post-paid residential
customers were eligible to participate in
this promotion and qualified for upto three
monthly draws. All subscribers in these
categories who received a minimum monthly
bill of Rs 750 and whose bills were 30%
higher than in the month preceding the
launch of the promotion were eligible to
participate. Customers whose bills did not
increase by 30% also qualified if their
bills exceeded Rs 2,000.
in 1997 with an initial investment of US$
150 million, LB was the first 'fixed-line
wireless' telecoms provider in the country
and is the second-largest fixed line
telecoms company in Sri Lanka today. The
company was acquired by Milford Holdings in
2005 and following strategic investments of
more than Rs six billion in its network.
Coverage is now expanding at the rate of
five new base stations a month, making
affordable CDMA technology available across
pioneer in the Travel & Tourism Industry
since 1979, Sparklink Travels Ltd's
interactive website was officially launched
by Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka
at his office recently, said a statement.
company was represented by Executive
Director Praki Perera, General Manager
Dilshan Samaranayake, Assistant General
Manager Avindra Gurusinha and E-Coordinator
Ms Eshanthi Ratnayake.
online travel website offers corporate and
leisure clients in Sri Lanka and overseas
the convenience of logging onto the site to
view special offers on airfares, hotels,
tours and cruises, foreign currency rates
and information on travel insurance,
frequent flyer programmes and embassy and
visa submission procedures.
site offers the traveller to submit
requirements of any service, to the Colombo
Head Office or the Kandy Office for a
guaranteed response within 24 hours.
Company has grown in the past 27 years to be
a market leader in outbound travel and have
won several awards from leading airlines.
is an IATA approved Agent
and an AFTA member.
Chairman Nihal C. B. Perera is the current
president of the Travel Agents Association
of Sri Lanka (TAASL). The focus of the
Company is to treat all clients to
"come as a client
and leave as a Friend."
Finance Company Ltd (TFCL) which is on an
exciting journey has launched a
revolutionary new line of loan schemes under
the Payen Kasi
(PK) brand, said a statement.
title of the product speaks for itself, said
TFCL Deputy Chief Executive Director Roshan
Egodage. "We have now made it simple
for a customer to obtain credit. Through
this innovative scheme, a customer just
needs to drive in and out in his vehicle,
with the facility, with no complications. We
are confident that the experience the
customer would envisage is well above
expectations. No doubt, this will strengthen
TFCL as a preferred financial solutions
provider in the minds of customers, said
went on to say that the requirements
"we look at in granting a loan through
the PK scheme is defined even in all
"our print material and the
requirements are minimal." Once these
documents are submitted to any TFCL branch,
a customer could be certain of walking out
obtaining his facility within an hour.
"This will simplify the way of getting
a loan on your car to meet any urgent
is looking at the future with positivism and
confidence of reaching its goals. We are
determined to be a household name by
providing financial Solutions that are of
the new generation, said Egodage.
Egodage further said that TFCL's
operations have constantly been on the
upward trend, "while recording
remarkable growth levels on almost all our
products." With the introduction of
this exciting Loan Scheme, PK, practically
all four corners of Sri Lanka will share the
benefits of this product.
conclusion Egodage said that customer
satisfaction and growth will take precedence
J. loses round three to Vitachchi
Appeal Court last week issued an interim
order against business magnate Don Harold
Stassen Jayawardena, managing director of
Stassen Exports Ltd., restraining him from
obstructing the work of Dr. V. P.
Vittachchi, another director of
Stassens, till a final determination of this
case is made.
bench comprising Justices L.K. Wimalchandra
and Eric Basnayake, also restrained the
first respondent Jayawardena (till a
finaldetermination is made), from
intervening and obstructing the
plaintiffpetitioner Vittachchi, whilst he is
functioning as a director. Other restraining
orders made against Jayawardena were not to
deprive Vittachchi of his salary, allowances
and other emoluments and also vehicle and
other facilities provided by Stassens (the
fifth respondent), until a final
determination is made by Court. Vittachchi
in his appeal, challenged the Colombo
District Court order to vacate the earlier
enjoining order issued against Jayawardena
that had prevented the latter from removing
Vittachchi from his post as a director.
matter was listed for inquiry on July 4. In
his plea, Vittachchi had said that he was a
Stassens Exports Ltd that started as
a tea exporting firm. The company had made
rapid progress since, becoming one of the
Jayawardena had illegally removed him from
functioning as a director in November, 2006.
However, according to the Companies Act, a
director could be removed only at a
shareholders' meeting. But his removal came
without any decision taken at either a
shareholders' meeting or at a board
meeting', the petition said.
Rajapakse (PC) with lawyers Kuvera De Soyza
and Kapila Liyanagamage instructed by G.G.
Arulpragasam appeared for Vittachchi. S. A.
Parathalingam (PC) with lawyer N.R.
Sivendran appeared for Jayawardena. Ikram
Mohamed (PC) with lawyer Sumedha
Mahawanniarachchi appeared for the second
respondent Stassen Director R.K.
Obeysekere; lawyer Chandeka
for the third respondent, director
Zaki Alif; D. S. Wijesinghe (PC) for the
fourth respondent, director Dr. Noor Mohamed
Abdul Gaffar and lawyer Sanjeewa Jayawardena
for the sixth respondent, Secretaries and
dithers, tourism burns
Cabinet's decision to postpone the new
Tourism Act No. 38 0f 2005 at the request of
Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda has raised
several concerns among the tourism industry.
Tourist Hotel Association of Sri
Lanka (THASL) representatives said that
although they had high hopes in regard to
the implementation of the Tourism Act with
the appointment of the new minister, they
are now disappointed, as per the decision
taken by the Minister to postpone its
Additional Tour-ism Ministry Secretary
George Michael told The Sunday Leader that
all stakeholders were informed about the
postponement as new amendments have to be
done to the Act if it is to gain good
results It will not take more than one and a
half months to implement the revised Tourism
Act" Michael assured.
However, THASL Vice President Srilal
Miththapala told The Sunday Leader that they
were disappointed of this sudden change and
said that they wanted Moragoda to implement
this Act without any further delay as it
could boost the industry in many ways.
"THASL is of the view that any
modifications if needed to the Act could
even be made after implementation. This
piece of legislation has been discussed for
over 10 years, considered by three different
governments and finally passed unanimously
in parliament in late 2005. So what is there
to amend to the much talked Act,"
Hoteliers Association President Charmin
Wickremasinghe told The Sunday Leader that
it was a big disappointment for the industry
to hear of this postponement.
averages set records
tea sale of February 13/14 which registered
a total average of Rs.244.81 per kilo is the
highest ever weekly average recorded.
averages also indicate a gain even in US
Dollar terms, ie, US$ 2.09 per kg. in the
February 7 sale and $ 2.24 in the Feb. 14
sale as against the corresponding averages
of $ 1.87 and $ 1.89 in 2006 and $ 1.90 each
in the corresponding sales of 2005.
the averages in question elaborated above
and below compare well with the
corresponding figures from a producers point
the cost of production too has
spiralled owing to the low crops and other
increased costs etc. Needless to say from a
traders point of view such low volumes would
also create volatile market conditions which
would also have its negative impact on
Feb. 13/14 sale has also registered a gain
of Rs.50.51 per kg against the corresponding
sale average of 2006 of Rs. 194.30 per kg.
High Grown average of Rs.260.01 per kg shows
a gain of Rs.45.42 per kg against Rs.214.89
per kg, whilst Medium Growns at Rs.206.16
per kg shows a gain of Rs.36.20 per kg
against Rs.169.92. And Low Growns at
Rs.247.05 per kg shows a gain of Rs.53.29
per kg against its.193.76 per kg. price in
the corresponding sale of last year.
(Forbes & Walker)
raises policy rates by 0.5%
performance in the production of
Agriculture, Industry and Services sectors
has impacted beneficially on the continued
growth momentum in the economy, the Central
Bank (CB) in a statement said.
Recovery in tea and the fisheries
industry together with the increased
production in rubber and coconut have
contributed to the overall growth in the
Agriculture sector and this is expected to
continue in 2007. The Industrial sector is
also expected to record a higher production,
resulting from increased demand arising from
major infrastructure development projects
taking place, while the Services sector is
expected to benefit particularly from the
developments in ports and telecoms.
as measured by the point to point change in
the Colombo Consumers' Price Index (CCPI),
has been on a rising trend since April 2006
reaching 19.3% in December 2006 and
increasing further to 20. 5% in January
2007. Such a trend has been as a result of
both the demand and supply side factors. The
annual average inflation has also increased
from 13.7% in December 2006 to 14.8% in
view of these developments and having
identified the necessity of further
tightening monetary policy in order to meet
inflationary pressures and to realise
monetary targets, the Monetary Board has
decided to increase the CB's policy interest
rates, viz. the Repurchase and Reverse
Repurchase rates by 50 basis points each.
Accordingly, the Repurchase rate and the
Reverse Repurchase rate will be at 10.50%
and 12% respectively with effect from
February 23, 2007.
addition, the CB will continue to conduct
aggressive open market operations to
maintain market liquidity at an appropriate
level to meet pre-determined reserve money
Further, in order to ensure that
monetary and inflation targets are met, the
CB has established a monitoring mechanism
for key variables in the fiscal, external
and monetary sectors.
This too will facilitate the
identification of any deviations from the
desired path enabling the relevant
authorities to take necessary corrective
measures at an early stage.
addition to the measures taken by the CB so
far, in early February 2007, the CB brought
its concerns relating to rising inflation to
the notice of the National Economic Council
(NEC) chaired by the President.
from the decisions taken at the NEC meeting,
Secretary to the President has issued
instructions to the relevant ministries to
take action as recommended by the CB to
address the causes of rising inflation.
the Finance, Trade, Petroleum Resources, and
Power and Energy Ministries are now due to
implement certain policy initiatives to
contain price levels, and the combined
effect of the measures to be taken by these
Ministries and others are expected to bring
down inflation to the targeted level by end
2007, while not retarding the economic
release of the next regular statement on
monetary policy is scheduled for
March 16, 2007.
hedging price ranges for diesel
Chartered Bank (SCB) structured and
transacted the country's first oil hedge
with the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC),
said a statement.
hedged their exposure to "gas oil"
for a quantity of 150,000 barrels per month
for a period of three months beginning from
structure gives CPC protection against
rising prices within a predetermined range
at zero cost, but with the ability to
benefit from future floating price movements
down to and from including the minimum floor
strike price rate.
a recent press conference to announce the
hedging, CPC Chairman Asantha De Mel said,
"This is an important step in efforts
to maintain the price of petroleum products
and minimise impact of escalating prices on
the economy. It will also help us to be sure
of our financial commitments in worse and
best case scenarios. While this is our first
oil hedge, we are looking to hedge other
products including crude oil in the
further added that if the currency doesn't
change too drastically and the price of
diesel does not sky rocket, the CPC will not
need to raise oil prices. He also added that
the CPC will be saving approximately $
300,000 a month with the hedging.
speaking at the press conference was SCB Sri
Lanka CEO Clive Haswell who said that SCB
was delighted to structure the first
commodity option in Sri Lanka.
a leading international bank with a long
heritage and presence in Sri Lanka we are
firmly committed to working with regulators
and industry leaders to make Sri Lanka on
par with the other big regional financial
markets and in playing a pivotal role in
contributing to the development of the
economy." He also said that SCB was
encouraging other companies to start hedging
and that the losses of SCB due to the
hedging will be made up by working closely
with their global network.
Sri Lanka's Global Markets head Rukshan Dias
said that if the average cost of a barrel of
gas oil is above USD 72 then SCB will pay
USD 2 per barrel to CPC. If it's below USD
72 but higher than USD 70, then SCB will pay
the difference between the average price and
USD 70 to CPC. But if it's below USD 70 but
higher than USD 67.50, there will be no cash
flows and if it's below USD 67.50 then CPC
will pay the difference between the average
price and USD 67.50 to SCB.
Bank of Sri Lanka Assistant Governor Dr. H.N.
Thenuwara said that the Central Bank is
pleased to support the development of the
local financial markets for which the
introduction of innovative products is
critical. He also said that the Central Bank
is confident that oil hedging will
significantly help reduce the cost of oil
imports, thereby curbing inflation and
helping in stabilizing the rupee.
their double daily services to Mumbai,
SriLankan Airlines is inviting Sri Lankans
to fly to Mumbai and have the chance to win
their money back by booking flights through
the internet, said a statement.
are giving a special fare for a return trip
from Colombo to Mumbai. On top of this,
there will be a daily winner during the
course of the promotion and lucky passengers
will get their money back!" said
SriLankan's E-Commerce Manager Kapila
can book with ease through the website in
six easy steps and pay for their tickets by
credit card through a secure payment
they need to do is print out the ticket
which would be e-mailed to them and bring it
to the airport in order to check-in for the
on the website can be made for a flight up
to four hours before departure in the
comfort of one's home or office.
ideal power protection system
Electric (OE) has introduced to Sri Lanka
the Orange power track from Eubiq System, an
electrical power outlet system that is
practical, versatile, safe and simply
complete range of The Eubiq System, a
product from Singapore with three years
warranty, joins a fleet of versatile and
reliable Orange products, backed by the
company's professional approach towards
employing cutting edge technology in its
manufacturing facilities, its commitment
towards quality and continuous product
innovations, making it synonymous with
innovative Eubiq track allows flexibility of
amperage and also has the flexibility of
carrying data through the same track,
turning power cord and data cable chaos into
new product has been in the market for the
past few months and OE plans on making the
product available in outlets depending on
the response of its customers.
Marketing Head Romaine Ferdinands and
Product Manager Hasini Amarasinghe say that
the product is an innovation in technology
that has been designed for modern homes,
offices, laboratories and hospitals and
should allure customers once they become
aware of the benefits of this Orange power
track system from Eubiq.
to Ferdinands, the Eubiq System is a
versatile system which allows you to add,
remove and reposition power outlets anytime,
anywhere, by just a simple twist.
architecturally versatile track(s) is
designed for use on a wide range of
applications - residential use in kitchens,
living rooms and study rooms. It also has
commercial use for system furniture, server
rooms, display counters, test labs, as well
said, "The beauty of this system is
that it frees you from the hassle and
limitations of the conventional plug points.
The Eubiq System can be anywhere you want it
to be and it's also safe. If you've got kids
around the house, it's practically
impossible for them to get hurt by
electrocution even if they try sticking
their fingers into it because all live parts
the product looks complicated, installation
is simple, use is even easier and safety is
The extensive range of tracks is
designed for use in recessed and surface
mounted applications. The unique modular
concept in track design makes it possible
for custom length. The minimum length of a
Eubiq track is one foot, extending up to 3.6
with alternative lengths of two feet,
1metre, 1.2 metres, 1.5 metres, etc..,
however tracks can be extended to any length
if required, through a simple mechanism.
explained that there are surface mounted
tracks which are ideal as a solution for
existing homes, offices, workshops, etc.,
and allows you to draw power from anywhere
without breaking walls. Recessed mount
tracks as a solution for integrating into
furniture, panels, etc., with different
colour laminates to match the background
colour and customized tracks on request.
from the tracks, there are specially
designed plugs, code sets, lamps and sockets
that go with the system.
Eubiq sockets are ultra modern and
work exactly like a track with the safety
feature. Eubiq adapters are also on offer
and available for all major plug types and
standards, they are durable and tested to
comply with international safety
and quality standards such as IEC and
special Eubiq hospital bed head track
incorporates all special features for
electrical services and medical gases with
two continuous multi access power lines for
220V and 110V. A flexible design solution
that allows customize number of gas
terminals and electrical components like the
nurse call, switches and telephone outlets
complete with room light, down light and
accessories rail for hanging equipments.
addition to the track, individual power
outlets are also available for use in areas
such as corridors, store rooms and pillars.
in Colombo, OE, a fully owned Sri Lankan
company is primarily engaged in
manufacturing quality switches and sockets
and electrical accessories. OE, an ISO
certified manufacturer, is also the industry
leader, having established itself over the
past three decades and enjoys well over 80%
of the market share in the category.
flagship brand of the company, Orange,
enjoys market leadership and is distributed
through a vast network of dealers and
distributors and covers the entirety of the
island. With strengths in manufacturing,
distribution and engineering product
development, OE is already established in
the region with offices and distributors in
over 12 countries spanning across South East
Asia, Europe and the Middle East and is well
on its way to realizing its vision of making
OE a global
deposit base passes Rs.
2 bn. mark
Finance Ltd. (SFL), has registered a public
deposit base of Rs. 2,100 mn.. as at January
31, 2007, said a statement.
is another milestone in the history of
Sinhaputhra. The company's deposit base
comprises time and savings deposits, said
SFL Joint Managing Director Ravana
is registered with the Central Bank's
Monetary Board and is authorized to
mobilise deposits from the general public.
said that Sinhaputhra is one of 28 CB
registered finance companies that are
in operation and it is within the
10 finance companies.
further said that the company's
total assets as at end January 31,
2007 stood at Rs. 3,500 mn.
principal lines of business are mobilization
of time and savings deposits, finance
leasing, business loans, personal loans and
capital market operations.
It also functions as a sub
agent for insurance and Western Union
money transfers, according to
company has its registered office at Hill
Street, Kandy and it also operates from D.S.
Senanayaka Vidiya, Kandy.
company's Colombo office is located at
"Liberty Plaza." This office
continues to assist
in the deposit mobilization process
Saliya De Alwis said that the
company's deposit base has increased from Rs.
April 1, 2006, to reach Rs. 2,100 mn.,
36.5% growth for the ten month period
further said that the company has mobilized
these deposits mainly from the Kandy
District with Colombo making a reasonable
company will be focusing on strengthening
its deposits further during 2006/2007 and
the deposit base is expected to reach Rs.
2,500 mn.. by March 31, 2007, said. De Alwis.
have identified unique strategies for the
mobilisation of deposits and will focus our
attention on the rural deposits to a
company was authorised by the CB to accept
savings deposits from the public.
The company which started on
savings accounts recently, now has
more than 6,000 savings account holders from
Kandy and Colombo.
Alwis said that the management will be
taking steps to increase the savings
deposit base significantly during
2007 with the intention of mobilizing
financial resources for investment.
He was confident that the company
could achieve the planned results with the
promotional programmes that are now in
today is playing a
dominant role in the finance company
sector and is strengthening its operations
company has also spread its finance leasing
operations to all provinces other than the
North and the East.
and personal loans are being offered to
customers mainly from the Central Province
has a 28 year history and celebrated its
twenty eighth anniversary on February 14,
Board comprises Kithsiri Wanigasekara,
(Chairman and Managing Director), Ravana
Wijeyeratne (Joint Managing Director), A.P.U.
Keppetipola (Director / Legal Consultant),
K.H.K. Wijayadasa, A.M.G. Weerakoon, Ms.
Chintha Balalle, Dr. Cuda Wijeyeratne and
Sarath Chandra Imbuldeniya.
CB in joint promo
Bank (CB) has signed up with Sri Lanka
Telecom Mobitel (SLTM) to offer Mobitel
customers a facility to instantly reload
their phone balances simply by sending an
SMS, said a statement.
CB's Com-e-Load (CeL) facility, Mobitel
pre-paid and post-paid customers alike can
now instantly top up their Pre-paid accounts
or settle their monthly post-paid bills by
logging on to CeL via the 'financial' menu
on their phones and following a few simple
customers can reload their Mobitel pre-paid
account by any value between Rs. 100 to Rs.
999 while for post-paid customers, the bill
settlement amount is unlimited.
re-loaded amount will be instantly debited
from their accounts at CB. CeL is also
available to CB's Dot Com and Dot Com Spin
added convenience provided by this facility
is that it can be accessed viaa user
friendly Over The Air (OTA) menu which is
built into the customer's mobile SIM, which
eliminates the hassle of remembering short
Deputy General Manager - Operations Sanath
Bandaranayake said that the Bank was
committed to consistently offer new
innovations and convenience enhancements to
its customers. "Following the
resounding success of CeL with other mobile
operators, we have now launched this
facility with Mobitel to benefit an even
greater number of our customers," he
speaking at the event, SLTM Chief Executive
Officer Suren J. Amarasekera mentioned:
"Mobitelhas been making significant
progress in raising its services to higher
levels of customer convenience and I believe
that this new alliance would help bring
greater benefits to customers everyday
reload their accounts or settle bills,
customers have to scroll to the 'financial'
menu on their Mobitel phones under which CB
M-reload will be listed.
selecting M Reload, all they need to do is
to key in the reload or amount they need to
settle and confirm the transaction. They
will then receive a message on their phones
confirming that their phone balances have
been reloaded by the amounts entered.
owned by Sri Lanka Telecom, In January 2004
launched its full-fledged GSM network that
is EDGE/GPRS enabled and designed to operate
on dual bands. Investments committed to date
in its 3G and GSM service offering is a
total over US$200 million and is set to
increase its present coverage of over 600
base stations to 1500 base stations by the
operates a computer linked branch network of
150 branches and 269 ATMs which is among the
highest in Sri Lanka and has been rated the
'Best Bank in Sri Lanka' for eight
consecutive years by the US 'Global Finance'
magazine and been named the 'Bank of the
Year' in Sri Lanka for five years by the UK
based 'The Banker' magazine. It also
operates five branches and two booths in
leasing pkg. for Canter trucks
Motors Ltd (UML) recently joined hands with
Hatton National Bank (HNB), one of the most
successful commercial banks with over 156
spread islandwide in promoting
Mitsubishi Canter Trucks through a specially
designed leasing package, said a statement.
The special promotion willl end in
has taken leaps and bounds over the years to
become the leader in the leasing industry.
Among the banks, HNB have been
pioneers in the leasing industry, being the
first private commercial bank in introduce
leasing in 1991 and has grown steadily over
tied up with UMLL, one of the pioneer
vehicle importers, HNB will offer the
customers great deals in Mitsubishi Canter
for the past several years has done several
promotions and were in a position to enhance
the leasing business. We are happy to join
hands with UMLL for this very special Canter
Trucks leasing promotion," said HNB
Leasing has also been in the forefront when
it comes to having great promotions all year
long enabling customers to grab deals and
offers that no other local leasing company
provides at the moment.
No. 1 globally
an age that encourages change, speed in
action and service and convenience, a new
set of practices and values have begun to
emerge, as the old ones gradually fade away.
But one that does not fade is to encourage
Sri Lanka to have a strong savings culture,
said a statement.
is well-placed here because it is a bank
with a 114 year history in Sri Lanka and
this is coupled with its strong
international presence, rapidly expanding
global network and reputation for offering
safe and secure banking facilities
good savings ethos is important for several
reasons - savings can be used for profitable
and secure investment opportunities, for
short-term, high-risk investment and for
emergency spending. Not only does HSBC offer
its customers competitive interest rates,
but also maintains focus on providing a wide
range of value-added services and unmatched
global opportunities, in an effort to offer
increasingly convenient and rewarding
options for customers to manage their
value-added services include free life
insurance cover, a global concierge service,
worldwide travel and emergency services.
HSBC has designed a range of additional
services, including the convenience-oriented
Internet Banking facilities and Bill Payment
via Internet Banking, Day and Night Banking
Centres, EasyPay machines and balance
confirmation via SMS.
list of features means that customers have a
wide range of options available from the
list of packaged services and can pick the
ones they need in order to suit their own
addition, there is the element of added
security offered by HSBC because of its
strong focus on the safety of its systems
and procedures. HSBC is the only bank in Sri
Lanka to have introduced the security token
which generates single-use passwords at the
click of a button - making internet banking
an increasingly safer option.
the importance of these initiatives, HSBC
won Global Finance's awards in 2006 for
"Best Consumer Internet Bank in Sri
Lanka" and regionally for "Best
Website Design" and "Best
Information Security Initiatives."
of the services offered by HSBC in Sri
Lanka, are available in the bank's 9,500
offices in 81 countries and territories
worldwide. HSBC is truly 'the world's local
bank,' with a comparably strong presence in
North and South America, Europe and
Asia-Pacific. The bank had assets of
USD1,738 billion as at June 30, 2006, and
has overtaken Citigroup as the world's
largest banking and financial services
expansive global network makes banking even
more convenient for the frequent traveller
or international businessperson.