NDB-DFCC merger should not leave stakeholders feeling stressed

Published : 12:00 am  August 1, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dinesh Weerakkody, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  717 views  |  
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Seven months ago, DFCC Bank (DFCC), the only remaining development bank, and National Development Bank (NDB), a commercial bank, announced that they, in pursuance of the policies announced by the Government encouraging the consolidation of certain banking businesses, would commence preliminary discussions with a view to achieving such consolidation. In a press ann-ouncement around the same time, the Boards of DFCC and NDB said that there was no definite decisions on any aspect of such consolidation and that final decisions would be dependent, amongst others, on arrangements being agreed keeping paramount the interests of customers, employees (which in the case of DFCC include those of DFCC Vardhana... 

Civil society: The greatest bugbear, the greatest hope?

Published : 12:01 am  July 31, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  1,666 views  |  
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 Mahinda Rajapakse knows the power and impact of civil society because he worked with us – Dr. Nimalka Fernando, lawyer and activist     The young Parliamentarian from Hambantota was trying to board a plane bound for Geneva on 11 September 1990, when he was intercepted by an Assistant Superintendent of Police by the name of Kudahetti. The senior Policeman wanted to search the MP’s baggage for fabricated documents likely to be “prejudicial to the interests of national security or promote feelings of hatred or contempt” towards the ruling Government of the day. The Parliamentarian refused to submit to the search and called up his boss instead. After a brief telephone conversation... 

My glass of used water please!

Published : 12:00 am  July 31, 2014  |  Category: Ajith de Alwis, Columnists, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  733 views  |  
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Water, water, everywhere, not a drop to drink – a sailor may lament when drifting across the sea minus his craft. Today technology is advanced and commonly available, thus freeing ships of the need to dock at a harbour to take in water. Countries need not divert rivers to meet needs but process sea water, especially in coastal areas. Desalination is a technology serving many a nation and we too use the technology in coastal holiday resorts as well as in major thermal power plants, Lakvijaya at Norochcholai being an example. Reverse osmosis units are also being used in areas where the CKDU (chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology) prevails though this is questionable from the point of view... 

Public Procurement Law: Can new laws be enacted to establish level playing field for bidders?

Published : 12:00 am  July 30, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  462 views  |  
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Legislative framework required for transparency in public procurement Good governance demands transparency in all areas of government. Once transparency and accountability mechanisms are in place, it could certainly augment governments’ standing in the eyes of the donors, international financial institutions such as IMF, IFC, ADB, World Bank and of course the international community. The Government has come under the microscope of international community which can be gauged from the recent untoward incidents in Beruwala and Aluthgama where UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon too had commented. The Government of Sri Lanka’s public procurement process is governed by two guidebooks issued by the... 

The international advisory panel, Indo-Lanka ties and UN inquiry

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  625 views  |  
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Half a loaf being better than none, the presidential expansion of the remit of the Disappearances Commission and the appointment an advisory panel of three persons distinguished in international law are to be welcomed. Of course, the final test will be that of credibility. If the re-engineering results in a robust domestic inquiry which in turn leads either to prosecutions in the most outrageous cases – as indicated by the LLRC – or a TRC type outcome, the case of which the pernicious UN International Inquiry rests, namely the absence or of a credible domestic mechanism and the unwillingness or inability of the Sri Lankan State to initiate one, will be undermined. We shall have a better chance... 

NGOs and their mandate

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  490 views  |  
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Space for civil society Lanka’s National Secretariat for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) issued a statement on 1 July, reportedly stating that: ‘It has been revealed that certain NGOs conduct press conferences, workshops, trainings (sic) for journalists and dissemination of press releases, which is beyond their mandate. We reiterate that all NGO should prevent from such unauthorised activities with immediate effect.’ The newspapers state that this circular has only been issued to NGOs registered with the National Secretariat for NGOs. Two questions arise here. What is an NGO? How is its mandate determined and by whom? The commonly-accepted definition of a NGO is that it is an organisation... 

Indian FTA and next steps

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Opinion, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  408 views  |  
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In the recent past there have been many discussions on the proposed FTA with China. If one analyses the trade between India and Sri Lanka post the Indo-Lanka FTA even now after 12 years, the reality is that almost 75% of the imports from India happen outside the FTA. Sri Lankan exports into India have been hovering around the $ 500 million mark for years, whilst the majority of the investments into Sri Lanka have happened without direct links to the FTA. If we were to do a detailed export analysis on the Indo-Lanka exports out of Sri Lanka, we see that product mix performance does not reflect the comparative advantage for Sri Lanka but the exports are mostly due to the differential external tariff... 

Ten Cs for crafting people strategies

Published : 12:00 am  July 28, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  472 views  |  
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As we often proclaim, people are the most important asset to any organisation. In brief, people drive business. How to get the best out of people has global, regional and local relevance. Today’s column will explore the crafting of people strategies in highlighting ten Cs. Overview Being strategic is of utmost importance in this context. It essentially shows how “smart” you are in “playing the game”. The roots are from the Greek word ‘stratēgikós’, which means the art of the general. Obviously, it has a military connotation. How a general order the troops to attack, or to withdraw or to surround the enemy, with the aim of winning the war in mind. A battlefront and a business front... 

World’s Fragile States: Sri Lanka should not ignore being classified as an alert state

Published : 12:00 am  July 28, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  2 Comments  |  6,193 views  |  
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Sri Lanka a failed state according to Fragile State Index On the basis of the country’s score in 12 broad indicators, Sri Lanka is being continuously ranked, from 2006 – the year in which the country was included in the Index – as a fragile state, earlier a failed state, by USA based Fund for Peace or FFP. The ranking in the index is done like the ranking of the students in a class from best to worst. Thus, in respect of each indicator, the best country is ranked at number 1 and the weakest at number 10. Accordingly, countries that get a score of 12 or close to it are ranked as strong. In the opposite, those that get scores of 120 or close to that number are ranked as fragile. Sri Lanka’s... 

Needed: A national ideology to replace Sinhala Buddhist hegemony

Published : 6:52 am  July 26, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  617 views  |  
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Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga recently spoke at a meeting of the Wives of War Victims about the present plight of our country. She said while the UN and developed countries are talking about building an inclusive society, we are seeking to build an exclusive society only for the majority. We have sought to exclude the minorities – first the Tamils, now the Muslims and eventually the Christians. Economists talk of inclusive growth so that the benefits of economic development accrue to all the people including the poor and the low income classes. But what about inclusive politics? It is not enough to make minority political parties a part of a coalition Government if the Government vests... 

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