Low interest rates and anti-lock brakes

Published : 12:00 am  August 13, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion and Issues  |  3 Comments  |  1,928 views  |  
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In the recent past, we have entered into a low interest rate environment. Overnight-interbank interest rate and interest rates of other tenures have eased off gradually. The rates at which central bank lends to banks and accepts deposits from banks, i.e. policy rates, have also decreased and so has the statutory reserve ratio (deposit portion of the total deposit base of the bank that needs to be placed with the central bank). Consequently, banks now will not be able to justify their return on capital by investing in Treasury bills or bonds. There will be excess liquidity in the interbank market in the short run and as a result both lending and deposit rates to customers will decrease. By all... 

UDA: Performance culture driving strategy

Published : 12:01 am  August 12, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues, Rohantha Athukorala  |  5 Comments  |  725 views  |  
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                  Last week I was invited to take a session on ‘Marketing and Finance Implications in Urban Development’ for the top brass of the pivotal State organisation, the Urban Development Authority (UDA). When preparing for the program the day before, I discovered that some of the key initiatives in the city post-war have been the creative work of this institution. The Dutch Hospital, The Arcade at Independence Square, The Race Course, The Floating Market, Diyatha Uyana at Waters Edge and Independence Square, Nawala and Kotte walkways are a few. To make the program more relevant, I did a deep dive into the organisation. Let me capture... 

Be Alert!

Published : 12:01 am  August 12, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  3,185 views  |  
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The mandate of the External Resources Department Fast on the heels of the National Secretariat for NGOs issuing a circular purporting to limit the activities to their legitimate mandate, which has been discussed in this column earlier, the Director General of the Department of External Resources has placed a notice in the newspapers – under the alarmist caption ‘Be Alert…’ and subtitled ‘Notice to all Government officials, civil society organisations and general public’. This advisory on alertness comprises nine paragraphs. The first starts as follows: ‘Due diligence on the utilisation of funds received from foreign funding agencies, INGOs and any other sources to all Government... 

Latest ethnic clashes reveal fissures in Sri Lanka’s post-war society

Published : 12:00 am  August 9, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,683 views  |  

By Dinesha de Silva http://asiafoundation.org: In June 2014, almost five years after the end of the longstanding civil war in Sri Lanka, violent clashes broke out in several small towns in the south, including Aluthgama, Beruwala, and Dharga Town. The tensions were fuelled by reports that a Muslim man had allegedly attacked a Buddhist monk and several others, triggering a spate of violence, including the burning of Muslim-owned shops and attacks on Muslim homes and citizens. The incident is most likely the worst outbreak of Sinhala Buddhist-Muslim violence in recent times. More than 70% of Sri Lanka’s 20 million people are Buddhists, with Muslims making up about 8% of the population, followed... 

No double standards in application of environmental justice: President Mahinda Rajapaksa

Published : 12:00 am  August 9, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  532 views  |  

Says Sri Lanka is ready to support judicial capacity building in SAARC region on environmental justice and rule of law Environmental justice, which includes environmental rule of law, is of fundamental importance to all countries and there must never be double standards in the application and interpretation of laws by courts and international organisations, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing the 3rd South Asian Chief Justices Roundtable on Environmental Justice, jointly hosted by Sri Lanka and the Asian Development Bank, held at the Central Bank Auditorium last morning (8 August). “It is a matter of grave concern and much regret that we are witnessing today far too many instances... 

India, China, Lanka: The uneasy triangle

Published : 12:00 am  August 9, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,188 views  |  

By Col. R. Hariharan news.oneindia.in: China’s President Xi Jinping has accepted a long-standing invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka sometime this year. The first-ever visit by a Chinese President to Sri Lanka will no doubt be hailed alas a crowning achievement for President Rajapaksa’s foreign policy which had been under siege for some time now. The Chinese President’s Sri Lanka visit will be an emphatic statement of the growing strategic relationship between the two countries since the two countries signed a ‘Strategic Cooperative Partnership (SCP)’ agreement during President Rajapaksa’s visit to China in May 2013. The SCP covers a whole range issues including... 

That which shall not be named

Published : 1:50 am  August 8, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues, Other Sectors  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,240 views  |  

By Ameena Hussein groundviews.org: On 19 July 2014, my cook hands me a Police form to fill. It is one of those usual forms that we were inundated with during the war. The form asks for almost the same information as the election registration forms, with the one exception of asking for details of everybody in the house, not just those eligible to vote from there. Being inculcated in the behaviour of obeying authority, I duly filled in the form. Head of household being me, then my husband, then my parents, then my cook. I didn’t fill in the name and details of the maid; for one reason, she doesn’t have an ID, and secondly, she looked as if she would be leaving us quite soon. But there was something... 

It’s time to change the system, says Athuraliye Rathana Thero

Published : 1:11 am  August 8, 2014  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Opinion and Issues  |  9 Comments  |  3,148 views  |  
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Warns we have collapsed politically, economically and socially and must act now Jathika Hela Urumaya Parliamentarian Athuraliye Rathana Thero who is currently active in the political scene following his meetings with Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sarath Fonseka stresses that President Rajapaksa should stop the ongoing merrymaking and extravaganza. “Where is the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’? Where are those pledges the President has made?” queries Rathana Thero, adding that if President Rajapaksa continues fails to respond positively and forgo the vast powers enjoyed by him, “we will not be hesitant to support someone better than Rajapaksa”. Following are excerpts: Q: You recently met some top political... 

The open economy of ’78 and thereafter

Published : 12:50 am  August 7, 2014  |  Category: Opinion and Issues  |  2 Comments  |  588 views  |  

By K. Godage The past My thoughts go back to 1978 and the opening of the economy after over 20 years of socialist economic policies, which had brought down our GDP to 2% in 1977 and virtually pauperised the country. I was Head of our Mission in the Philippines when I was summoned back and appointed as the Secretary General of the first Board of Investment, the Greater Colombo Economic Commission or the GCEC as we became known, which was directly under the President himself, the Chairman of which was none other than Sri Lanka’s most successful entrepreneur at the time, Upali Wijewardena, the Deputies were Raju Coomaraswamy who was also the Economic Advisor to the President whom he trusted implicitly... 

Uva: A high stakes game

Published : 12:44 am  August 7, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion and Issues  |  6 Comments  |  2,012 views  |  
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Uva-Wellassa, the ‘land of one hundred thousand paddy fields,’ will go to the polls to elect its provincial representatives for the sixth time about six weeks from now. The border between Sri Lanka’s beautiful central hills region and its dry zone runs through the Uva Province, making the two districts it is home to as different as night and day. It was long-ordained that the Uva Provincial Council election would be an important forerunner to a much bigger electoral contest scheduled for early 2015. Staggered provincial and local government polls have been the preference of the Rajapaksa Administration since it assumed office. Until the year 2004, all nine provincial elections were held... 

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