Columnists

National competitiveness should be key priority for next president

Views - 933 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 - 1309 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 - 1119 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 - 1107 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 - 1285 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 - 919 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 - 1922 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 - 6252 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 - 1520 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 - 1939 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 - 1317 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 - 7916 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 - 2297 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 - 2137 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 - 4377 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 - 4930 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 - 6864 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 - 1797 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 - 2669 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 - 7263 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 - 5000 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 - 1137 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 - 2648 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 - 2037 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 - 1835 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


How to get the best out of a training budget

Views - 1394 Wednesday, 16 April 2014 02:26

Recently, at a senior executive forum a CEO asked me to share my experiences of how companies measure the return on investment of their training and development spend. To begin, training is basically the formal activity that generally occurs in a cla


Six leadership lessons from Pope Francis

Views - 5065 Tuesday, 18 March 2014 00:37

Leadership is very hard to define, mainly because it means different things to different people. We know it requires knowledge, competence, courage and empathy. We expect leaders to be just, to share our values and provide direction. For me, it is wh


Sri Lanka can become the Knowledge Hub for South Asia

Views - 1582 Friday, 7 March 2014 00:52

Firstly a knowledge hub in my view is a location where you can source skills and capabilities for the creation of products, knowledge and services and for the creation of intellectual wealth. Some countries have targeted industries so that the count


Five hubs and public service

Views - 2119 Friday, 21 February 2014 00:00

The ‘Mahinda Chinthana – Vision for the Future’ policy statement envisages making Sri Lanka the regional hub in five sectors. To ensure Sri Lanka is well poised to be the centre in the region, the Government is looking to transform Sri Lanka


Why pay for performance still works

Views - 4090 Friday, 7 February 2014 00:00

Does pay for performance really work? Pay for performance is particularly tempting and increasingly popular at a time of economic slowdown and when revenues slump. A recent Hewitt Survey found that eight out of 10 companies have some kind of variabl


Today's Columnists

Unless addressed, wages issue will keep troubling Bangladesh’s garment industry

Saturday, 19 January 2019

The recent week-long mass protests by garment workers in Bangladesh came to an end after an upward revision of wages for six classes of workers. But even after the upward revision, the Bangladeshi garment worker gets less than what workers in compara


Is GDP the ideal metric of the future?

Friday, 18 January 2019

In an age of stark contradictions, we live in a world where the exclusive 1% enjoy access to an abundance of wealth and resources but also a world where a billion people scarcely have enough to eat and have limited access to health and education. Whi


Evaluation of economic performance: 4 years into Yahapalana Government

Friday, 18 January 2019

The Yahapalana Government completed four years on 8 January this year. The four-year journey was a rough ride with a clear rift between the President and the UNP; the ruling party. The Government continues to face severe criticism from both inside an


Elimination of bribery and corruption

Friday, 18 January 2019

Bribery and corruption can be regarded as a malicious cancer that has penetrated into almost every strata of Sri Lankan state. It can be considered a major factor affecting Sri Lanka’s poverty, backwardness and indebtedness. Abuse of power by thos


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