The tea and tourism tango!

Published : 12:38 am  March 6, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Hilmy Cader  |  5 Comments  |  537 views  |  
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The Tea Board has decided to spend more funds (collected from exporters) to run a joint promotional campaign with Sri Lanka Tourism. It sounds good, but: Do tea and tourism share the same challenges in terms of profitable demand generation (which should be the immediate if not ultimate objective of any A&P spend)? Do they share a common focused target market – in terms of geographies, end user and channel influence? How much effort is needed to create a brand link between ‘Ceylon Tea’ and ‘Sri Lanka Tourism’? What is the ROI of this vs. each focusing on their specific challenges? Think it over a cup of tea!  Read More →

Regulator should not get involved in appointing directors to banks

Published : 12:00 am  March 6, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Dinesh Weerakkody  |  3 Comments  |  503 views  |  
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By Dinesh Weerakkody Today globally the banking industry is constantly being buffeted by waves of financial, regulatory, technological and operational challenges. The increased regulatory burden and related costs impact every financial institution in both the approach to doing business and the expense of doing business. The industry is in transition, with many challenges ahead. As a result, there has never been a greater need for well-functioning, informed and courageous boards of directors of banks and bank holding companies. There has also never been a more important time for board members to keep in mind that their responsibilities can be boiled down into one simple goal: the creation of... 

The pitfalls that confront CEOs

Published : 12:00 am  March 6, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Nalin Jayasuriya  |  1 Comment  |  320 views  |  
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The expectations placed on the shoulders of the modern Chief Executive Officer (CEO) have never been greater. Company boards, shareholders and customers all look to the CEO to perform exceptional accomplishments. Whether it’s turning around a sick company, revitalising the share price, undertaking a merger or acquisition or redefining the business strategy, the CEO is under immense and continuous pressure to perform. CEOs are required to perform these achievements while dealing with all of the routine tasks involved in the day-to-day running of a business. They are increasingly the target of shareholder involvement, as well as the force of accusations that they are overpaid and underperforming. Business... 

MS and RW should take a leaf from Mahela and Sanga

Published : 12:00 am  March 6, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  623 views  |  
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  With cricket’s World Cup in full swing Down Under and Sri Lanka’s winning streak emerging after a tentative start, it would be a great opportunity for our present political leadership to reflect and take a leaf from our cricketers, especially from the two unmistakable veterans, Mahela and Sanga. In them is a good example for the nation, the political leadership and members of corporate Sri Lanka. Over the years our cricketers have assiduously worked to stamp and brand their winning mantra. These unique, modular, individual constituents have been laboriously developed and perfected after many failures, trials and errors. There is no substitute for hard work. Our cricketers have proven... 

Prime Minister and neo-liberalism

Published : 12:00 am  March 4, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  5 Comments  |  784 views  |  
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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is often accused by my leftist friends, who will be annoyed with me for writing this, of being a “neo-liberal stooge of the West”. Speaking, however, to a group of businessmen last week, with the President by his side, this is what he had said, as reported by Nisthar Cassim, in the Daily FT of 27 February 2015 ( He had said: “We were committed to winning and ensuring good governance, a competitive economy and equitable prosperity for the people.” He has further said: “We will reward entrepreneurship and applaud good initiatives. That is the future we... 

Can the dolphins drive the sharks away?

Published : 12:00 am  March 4, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  351 views  |  
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When the sharks dominated the pool gobbling up all the juicy fish, the dolphins were hiding behind the rocks. One day the dolphin matriarch led the charge, with thousands of dolphins, and the sharks were driven away. The dolphins are now in a tizzy wondering how to prevent the sharks coming back. Millions want to see a society free of the sharks who practice theft, corruption, bribery and nepotism. Will their prayers be answered?. To say we must eliminate corruption is easy; to do it is difficult. Great enthusiasm alone will not guarantee success. Collecting scraps of information, putting them into files, and sending them to the office of the Bribery Commission will not solve the problem. The... 

Mangala in Geneva: Backstabbing the armed forces?

Published : 12:00 am  March 4, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  6 Comments  |  752 views  |  
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“…The Government has invited Mr. Pablo de Greiff, the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence to visit Sri Lanka for consultations. He has proposed to visit us at the end of this month. We also look forward to receiving the Working Group on Involuntary and Enforced Disappearances…”– Mangala Samaraweera (text of the statement delivered at the High Level segment of the UNHRC, 2 March, Geneva)     Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the unelected (and therefore, less than legitimate) Government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, has just done the equivalent of Jihadi John on the Sri Lankan armed forces. Jihadi... 

The trouble with and the troubles of the Orator

Published : 12:00 am  March 4, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  776 views  |  
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“…and an orator said, ;Speak to us of freedom’. And he answered: ‘At the city gate and by your fireside I have seen you prostrate yourself and worship your own freedom, Even as slaves humble themselves before a tyrant and praise him though he slays them’ – ‘The Prophet,’ Kahlil Gibran      Many an opinion has been expressed about the troubles of Shashi Weerawansa, the spouse of Wimal Weerawansa, the former Minister. Although the immediate focus today is on the doings of Shashi Weerawansa, where the general public is concerned it is clear that the dramatic quality of the events surrounding the middle-aged Mrs. Weerawansa comes from the unavoidable association of the... 

Gammanpila on Maithri Govt., Tamil separatism and Rajapaksa’s return

Published : 1:56 am  March 3, 2015  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists  |  14 Comments  |  1,607 views  |  
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Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader and former Provincial Councillor Udaya Gammanpila claims the present Government had ‘mega lies about mega deals’ and accuses the coalition of cheating people to fraudulently secure their vote. “That is the biggest fraud that took place in this country. Therefore people are now impatiently waiting for the Parliamentary election to punish those cheaters for deceitfully stealing their vote,” asserted Gammanpila, in an interview with the Daily FT. Speaking on alleged files and information on former Government members in the possession of the ruling party, he said: “They said they possess files and information. They addressed the people with a lot of confidence.... 

Questionable governance when loss-incurred CB has made a profit transfer to Government

Published : 12:01 am  March 2, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  2 Comments  |  6,163 views  |  
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Massive losses incurred by Central Bank in 2013 A very vital piece of information relating to the Central Bank which has been missed by many has been the incurrence of a massive loss amounting to Rs. 24 billion in its ordinary operations during 2013. This loss has further been increased to Rs. 39 billion when its comprehensive operations are also taken into account. These figures, arrived at by preparing the accounts of the Bank in terms of International Financial Reporting Standards or IFRSs, are slightly at variance with the requirements for calculating profits as laid down in the Monetary Law Act enacted as far back as 1949. Yet, for assessing the solvency and the performance of the Bank,... 

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