Columnists

Why we need to attract more Foreign Direct Investment

Views - 2929 Friday, 13 February 2015 00:00

Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) have today become the major economic driver of globalisation. The most profound effect has been seen in developing countries where yearly FDI flows have increased. Today, China is at the forefront of FDI growth, follo


One-off Super Gain Tax for biz: Good or bad?

Views - 3734 Friday, 6 February 2015 00:00

    The Sri Lankan business community was obviously unhappy over the imposition of the Super Gain Tax (retrospective tax plan) on large companies through the new Government’s Interim Budget. The biz community was also unhappy w


Banking sector needs reform: Can Ranil and Ravi deliver?

Views - 2520 Friday, 30 January 2015 00:00

The FT on Wednesday highlighted the very divergent views expressed by the Finance Minister and the new Central Bank Governor. The Finance Minister certainly knows the game better than the Governor because he has been a vocal critic of the previous ad


Mangala should get Sri Lanka’s Foreign Service back to work

Views - 2682 Friday, 23 January 2015 00:00

During the last administration, of the 49 posts, 35 heads of diplomatic missions were filled with political appointees, and this practice turned the Foreign Service into a branch of the UPFA. The politicisation of the Foreign Service led to the disma


Maithri and Ranil now need to demonstrate “yahapalanaya”

Views - 2665 Friday, 16 January 2015 00:06

Many right-thinking people watched with alarm and disappointment the steady decline in the moral values in our nation with politics for material benefits overtaking our cherished values. The breakdown of our religious values, traditions and cult


National competitiveness should be key priority for next president

Views - 937 Wednesday, 7 January 2015 00:03

As a country we have slid from the 65th to the 73rd position this year in the Global Competitiveness Index (among 144 countries). What is causing this? It is clearly a couple of top line issues in our national priorities. In general, our national


2015 will be a decisive year for Sri Lanka

Views - 1313 Thursday, 1 January 2015 00:00

2015 could be a very decisive year for Sri Lanka. For the two main presidential candidates it’s either a saga of gloom or doom, but from a more realistic view for Sri Lanka, it could be a balance of the two. What happens inside Sri Lanka between no


When the best employees are left alone

Views - 1123 Friday, 12 December 2014 06:07

Many managers think that their top talent (top performers) does some wonderful and innovative things when left alone by their managers. Most employees when they join an organisation are usually very enthusiastic, committed, and ready to be advocates


To make the country a better place

Views - 1110 Friday, 5 December 2014 01:01

A professor of management at a recent seminar on leadership in the US asked why people run for president. Is it for power or to do good? He said ‘take a look at Barack Obama before he became president and now. You will notice how much he has aged.


The fundamentals for economic prosperity

Views - 1292 Friday, 28 November 2014 01:10

Many years ago as primary students we were taught that most rich countries were in the North of the globe, and most poor countries were in the South, but later on we were told that it was not geography that causes wealth or poverty. After all, Austra


Leadership capability increases confidence in future results

Views - 923 Friday, 21 November 2014 01:34

Effective leadership is one of the most elusive keys to organisational success. A number of organisations worldwide have successfully cracked the code; however, today’s flatter, faster, more flexible organisations, facing intense competition in a g


FDI, skills and GDP growth of Sri Lanka

Views - 1932 Friday, 14 November 2014 02:15

A senior business leader recently observed that despite Sri Lanka’s high growth story (GDP growth of 6%-7.5% over three years) the FDI inflow into the country has been very low and the reasons for this, he said, should be identified and addressed.


Budget 2015: Pushing up employer EPF contribution to 14%: Good or bad?

Views - 6280 Friday, 7 November 2014 00:01

President Mahinda Rajapaksa presenting Budget 2015 said the Government had decided to increase the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contribution from the employer from 12% to 14%. Some Government officials were quick to point out that in Singapore t


Budget 2015: Education allocations must target youth unemployment and labour productivity

Views - 1528 Friday, 31 October 2014 01:44

The 2015 Budget speech of the President included a commitment to increase the number of students entering universities to 100,000 by 2020 and also to allocate more funds for vocational training. The current intake to Government universities is aroun


NDB-DFCC merger: Case for a strong development bank

Views - 1949 Friday, 24 October 2014 00:38

In focus: Banking sector consolidation Parliament on Tuesday despite opposition from Opposition lawmakers that there was no rationale for a merger between a commercial bank and a development bank passed a bill to pave the way for DFCC Bank, the on


NBFI sector consolidation: Learning the hard way

Views - 1324 Friday, 17 October 2014 00:00

One of the most intensely-debated issues more behind closed doors rather than publicly has been the consolidation of the NBFI sector. Sri Lanka’s financial sector regulator since last year has been pushing for the amalgamation of the financial sec


Some MBAs are not worth the paper they’re printed on

Views - 7924 Friday, 3 October 2014 04:04

A few days ago we interviewed seven candidates with MBAs for a senior leadership position. Most of them we concluded could not even manage or lead their way out of a paper bag – but think they’re there, because they have an MBA. Having an MBA doe


Challenge of getting more women into leadership roles

Views - 2303 Thursday, 25 September 2014 00:52

Today despite all the hype, at the top, only 24 of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women, which is less than 5%. In Sri Lanka going by the Business Today Top Twenty Five Rankings for 12/13, it is less than 1%, which is clearly not a productive economic outc


Outcome once unthinkable would be very tragic for Great Britain

Views - 2142 Wednesday, 17 September 2014 00:37

I am in Edinburgh the capital city of Scotland, the second most populous city in Scotland and the seventh most populous in the United Kingdom, where all attention is focused on whether 7% of the UK population will take a decision of serious consequen


Do our graduates lack key skills sought by the private sector?

Views - 4382 Friday, 12 September 2014 01:43

The World Bank South Asia recently reported that the poor quality of education is holding back South Asia. No doubt Sri Lanka needs a well-educated workforce if we are to sustain long periods of growth. Therefore, the secondary schools would need to


From Elkington’s Triple Bottom Line to dumping an ice bucket

Views - 4936 Friday, 5 September 2014 01:12

The consultant who coined the famous phrase the ‘Triple Bottom Line’ in 1994, Dr. John Elkington told a group of top Sri Lankan CEOs on Monday that CEOs must own sustainability, at present they don’t, they think it is someone else’s responsib


Board composition and criteria for board appointments

Views - 6869 Friday, 29 August 2014 01:39

Today’s banking industry is constantly being buffeted by waves of M&A, regulatory and technological challenges. The increased regulatory burden and related costs impact every financial institution in both the approach to doing business and the


Governance role of bank remuneration committees

Views - 1805 Friday, 22 August 2014 00:01

Introduction After the recent crises surrounding the global financial sector, there has been a big push to expand the scope of board remuneration committees. The intention is to strengthen corporate governance in all financial institutions, especial


Banking sector regulation: Finding the right balance

Views - 2676 Friday, 15 August 2014 01:12

Background Today, banks all over the world are under mounting pressure to manage regulatory compliance and associated risk effectively. Many analysts cite the lack of regulation of the financial markets as one of the primary causes of the economic c


For the Sri Lankan banking sector, bigger is better or what?

Views - 7290 Friday, 8 August 2014 00:46

The ‘bigger is better’ syndrome is more apparent than ever before in our financial services sector. We have seen an unprecedented push for consolidation in the belief that M&A gains can be achieved through exp-ense reduction, increased market


NDB-DFCC merger should not leave stakeholders feeling stressed

Views - 5006 Friday, 1 August 2014 00:00

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 ba


Economic woes in the West getting worse or what?

Views - 1141 Friday, 18 July 2014 00:00

The International Monetary Fund appears to believe economic momentum has slackened since April. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in a speech at the annual Davos in Provence meeting in France on Sunday pointed out that while we are seeing glo


Why some countries prosper and others don’t

Views - 2661 Friday, 11 July 2014 00:34

Many years ago as primary students we were taught that most rich countries were in the North of the globe and most poor countries were in the South, but later on we were told that it was not geography that causes wealth or poverty. After all, Austral


Why companies must invest in leadership

Views - 2044 Tuesday, 27 May 2014 00:15

Effective leaders in organisations bring together both individuals and organisations to solve customer and organisational problems, but there is a difference between leaders and leadership. Leaders refer to individuals who have unique capabilities t


Someone must be trusted; let it be the judges

Views - 1843 Wednesday, 14 May 2014 00:00

The Supreme Court is the highest court of the land and its decisions are final, therefore the judges of the Supreme Court carry the hopes and aspirations of our people. The Supreme Court is also uniquely placed with regard to many matters of grave co


Today's Columnists

Poignant pondering on a patriarch

Monday, 22 April 2019

Almost five months have gone. It is with a profound sense of sadness that we experienced the demise of our veteran teacher, respected author, legal luminary, an accomplished ambassador, an eminent public servant and an amazing human being, Dr. Wickre


Enemies of democracy – Part I Demand for a strongman to rule the country

Monday, 22 April 2019

I posed the following question to a group of university students recently: ‘Do you desire to have a strongman to rule Sri Lanka today?’ The students, made up of both genders in the age group of 25 to 35, chorused the answer in the affirmative. Wh


The sad demise of Jet Airways

Monday, 22 April 2019

Jet Airways of India, once the premier full-service carrier of the sub-continent, has ceased operations. “Jet Airways and its Board of Directors have been forced to take this extreme measure, as prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and auth


No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Friday, 19 April 2019

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch


Columnists More