Columnists

Ting, Ting!: Alarm bells for the economy, jingle bells for the banks!

Views - 6244 Friday, 24 February 2017 11:31

Even after discounting for political rhetoric (on all sides), economists are convinced that our economy is in a critical stage. This course is the culmination effect of how the economy has been managed over the last few decades. At the sa


What does a CEO do?

Views - 6430 Monday, 30 January 2017 00:00

With some exceptions, the business leadership culture of an organisation tends to mirror the political leadership of that country, be it good, bad or ugly. In a world where leadership is portrayed to be infallible, ‘sacred’ and full of


Who treats corporate induced stress?

Views - 6291 Monday, 2 January 2017 00:18

WHO calls it’s the ‘the health epidemic’ of the 21st Century and estimates its global cost-to-business  in excess of US$ 300 billion.  In an increasingly competitive, fast-changing and materialistic world, ‘Corp


FDIs – get the basics right first

Views - 6750 Friday, 23 December 2016 00:13

Sri Lanka’s economy is in desperate need for a strong FDI pipeline. The first step would be to have a compelling and globally competitive ‘Country Value Proposition’ (CVP) – which should simply answer the question ‘Wh


Start-ups need more logic, less magic!

Views - 6581 Thursday, 15 December 2016 00:01

As part of MTI’s idea2fund, we screened 300 start-up applications and listened to 85 presentations. Here are some key learnings:  Pick your domain based on real ‘pain points’ in the demand or supply chain –


Learnings from the ‘Trail’

Views - 8772 Friday, 28 October 2016 00:00

Judging by the public response (qualitative) and the donations received (quantitative), the ‘Trail’ need to be commended. How do you explain such an overwhelming volunteer response to the ‘Trail’? The cause is l


Employee valuation

Views - 7434 Tuesday, 11 October 2016 00:01

Businesses carry out financial valuation of their assets, be it property or brands. We also claim that “people are the most valuable assets”. But rarely do we carry out a financial valuation of the HR factor. After all, if HR is a fact


Time to reengineer management education?

Views - 8340 Thursday, 1 September 2016 00:00

There is growing evidence of graduate/postgraduate students (particularly in management streams) ‘out-sourcing’ their academic assignments. There are now small KPOs offering such services! To an employer, this raises major con


Why does the UN exist?

Views - 8502 Saturday, 20 August 2016 00:53

The strategic intent of the League of Nations (in 1920) was to prevent a Second World War, which it couldn’t do, leading to it being replaced by the UN in 1945. Unlike the first two WWs, the world may have not come to a grinding hal


Ministers should spend more time to  ‘Analyse > Strategise > Realise’

Views - 7980 Friday, 5 August 2016 00:00

When a country is at economic crossroads, the policy makers should be deeply engaged in strategising, which in turn has to be based on strong rational analysis.  For this to happen, the Minsters must develop their strategising competencies an


How can ‘Start-ups’ earn a living?

Views - 9096 Monday, 4 July 2016 00:00

 Start-ups, like any business, have two ways of earning a living. Either get the ‘customer’ to pay for the value you create and/or grab share from another business by doing it better. There is of course a third way, which is to wh


Will we learn from Brexit?

Views - 8746 Monday, 27 June 2016 00:00

Consequent to Brexit, $ 2 trillion was wiped off stock markets. Where did it ‘evaporate’ to? Did this money ever exist in the first place?  Human greed to make quick big money (with a simple click transaction) has driven us to pla


Why only ‘dress down’ on Fridays?

Views - 10155 Friday, 13 May 2016 00:00

Why do some organisations have a so-called ‘dress down Friday’?  Are the activities they perform on a Friday any different to the rest of the working days? Why do we really need to ‘dress-up’ on the other days?


Why does a country need a national airline?

Views - 8607 Tuesday, 3 May 2016 00:01

If it is a profitable business As a ‘loss leader’ to the national tourism industry – provided the tourism industry’s profits ‘compensates’ for the national airline’s losses! If intern


First round of MTI’s ‘idea2fund’ closes today

Views - 7461 Monday, 29 February 2016 00:00

The first round of applications for MTI’s idea2fund will close today.  “The initial response has been very encouraging. We will now start the evaluation and short-listing process, with the first round of presentations to MTI sch


Will India invade or inspire IT?

Views - 7051 Wednesday, 27 January 2016 00:35

Bi-lateral trade agreements must be strategically justified and then evaluated on their mutual benefits, considering all relevant socio-economic factors. The Indian ITES industry, globally competitive with world class operators, is &n


Why endure a second loss making airline?

Views - 6422 Tuesday, 19 January 2016 00:01

Is the main airline too big and/or growth restrained, that it warrants a second airline? Are there domestic airports that a second airline can better serve, in terms of costs and access new market segments? Are there internat


Build more roads or reduce traffic?

Views - 6456 Tuesday, 5 January 2016 00:00

Except for a ‘joy ride’, traffic on the road is a derived demand. Therefore we should we first challenge why are people on the road ?, before we decide to build more roads With the advancements in affordable technology and


The ‘enemies’ of strategy

Views - 6099 Monday, 28 December 2015 00:00

 Love:  Falling in ‘love’ with your strategies, when in fact they should be clinically challenged on a regular basis. Strategies must be market-responsive, hence even be prepared to ‘kill’ your own strategies


Talking Rubbish!

Views - 5477 Wednesday, 23 December 2015 00:00

If we continue to ‘consume’ the way we do, we will soon run out of space to dump our garbage. Colombo is looking to transport its garbage to Puttalam, but that is only a temporary ‘cure’ to an escalating global cha


MTI highlights economic reality of Sri Lankans working abroad

Views - 6093 Thursday, 3 December 2015 00:00

There have been calls to ban Sri Lankan maids from going abroad. Emotionally, this is understandable, but logically and realistically consider the following as well: • We have 1.7 million Sri Lankans working abroad, remitting over $ 6.5 B a


Budgeting revisited

Views - 5360 Monday, 30 November 2015 00:00

 As a discipline, budgeting should focus on income and expenditure, be it for a country or a business. Direction, policies and strategies (in that order) should precede budgeting.   Shouldn›t all parties in Parliament


Economic dreams await reality!

Views - 4864 Monday, 9 November 2015 00:00

Our politicians have always had big economic dreams, manifested in grand slogans that have made crispy sound bites. The best way to judge if these dreams have become a reality is to measure the socioeconomic prosperity of the base population &ndas


If…

Views - 5375 Wednesday, 4 November 2015 00:00

If my parents could have afforded private or foreign higher education? If my education gave me a reasonable chance of getting a job that gave me a decent livelihood?  If I had a fair chance of securing a job, either in p


Why all the fuss about the Budget?

Views - 5364 Wednesday, 28 October 2015 00:00

The Government and the private sector (in anticipation and lobbying) spends disproportionate amount of ‘energy’ on the National Budget. What is more important and an essential pre-requisite is a National Strategic Plan. This


Preventive justice

Views - 4316 Saturday, 10 October 2015 00:00

 Every time we hear of a gruesome crime, we seem to believe that a death penalty will be the deterrent.  Human behaviour is driven by one’s self-justified perception. These perceptions in turn are strongly influenced b


Putting ministers in their place!

Views - 4475 Monday, 7 September 2015 00:00

If the job of a minister is to be equated in corporate terms, it would be like a non-shareholding/non-executive chairman of a group of companies. To be a minister, neither is management competency nor subject specialisation a pre-requ


Sanga’s next job?

Views - 5292 Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:00

My take on Sanga being offered the job of Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the UK: For what Sanga has contributed to Sri Lanka and cricket, he deserves the highest recognition. Foreign Service is as specialised a job as cricket


Whoever gets elected to govern

Views - 4343 Tuesday, 18 August 2015 02:10

‘Walk the talk’: Focus on delivering what you promised ‘Cut to the chase’:  Start the value-delivery process now!  Celebrations can come after you have delivered! ‘Show me the money&rsq


Elections reflections

Views - 3939 Monday, 17 August 2015 00:00

If I vote for a candidate from Party A, if he/she decides to switch to Party B after winning – is that not a fundamental violation of my choice? Sri Lankans working abroad are, by far, the country’s highest export earner &


Today's Columnists

Playing with history

Friday, 22 March 2019

First of all, I was delighted to note a counter criticism ‘A reply to Victor Ivan’s ‘What went wrong with Sri Lanka?’ published in the Financial Times on 11 March in response to my article which appeared in the same newspaper on 22 February.


Sathyodaya for salvation

Friday, 22 March 2019

Professor Ven. Walpola Rahula (1907-1997), a Buddhist rationalist and free-thinker of international repute, was a unique intellectual, teacher and writer who never minced his words when speaking truth to power, a rare quality fast disappearing in a w


Ceylon Tea or Sri Lanka Tourism the stronger category brand?

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Central Bank officially reported last week that Sri Lanka exports have grown to $ 11.9 billion, recording a growth of 4.7%, which means that the country has not performed up to expectation in 2018. The export volume index has grown by 0.5% in 201


Lip service to AML requirements: Are Sri Lankan designated institutions skating on thin ice?

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The recent announcement by the European Union (EU) blacklisting 20 odd jurisdictions for their failure to adhere to anti money laundering requirements (AML) comes as no surprise as all these jurisdictions have been forewarned by the EU, Financial Act


Columnists More