Saturday 19th April 2014

SL-China FTA by end 2014?

Published : 12:00 am  February 26, 2014  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  538 views  |  
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The people of Sri Lanka have become highly enthused to hear the discussions on possibilities to sign a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. This was revealed at the discussions Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen had with Chinese Ministry of Commerce Deputy International Trade Representative Yu Jianhua last October. If it becomes reality, it will be the most significant milestone of the Sri Lanka-China trade relationship since the Sri Lanka-China Rubber Rice Pact signed in 1952. With mass development of global trade especially after the 1970s, the world trend in trade moved towards liberalisation of trade or simply trading without tariff and non tariff barriers. While multilateral... 

Why the Government fails internationally

Published : 12:00 am  February 26, 2014  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  667 views  |  
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This is among the many important challenges to the “democratically elected” Government of the “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka” (GOSL). There may be various answers but let me offer five reasons why the present Government in the present frame of mind cannot win the support of the international community at the present moment. 1. Professionalism in foreign relationships vs. diplomatic ambush Politicisation of the foreign (diplomatic) service started many decades ago. However, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is principally responsible for total politicisation of both the Foreign Service as well as the public service beyond restoration. He appointed his relations and party supporters... 

Navy are undefeated league champs

Published : 12:06 am  February 25, 2014  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez, COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  332 views  |  
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The stage was set on Saturday evening for a high class game of rugby. Navy had already annexed the crown but wanted to end on a high as undefeated league champs whilst Havies wanted to avenge the first round defeat and maybe end up as runners up. Havies had the home advantage and a chance to show off their skills in front of their home crowd. The grounds were packed to capacity and the fact that the President and the First Lady were in attendance added a big boost to the local sport. It’s not often that proud parents are provided the opportunity to witness three of their sons in a winning team and they were in no mood to let the historic occasion slip by. Once again we had the sourced the services... 

Ceylon Tea to follow the Kodak saga?

Published : 12:00 am  February 25, 2014  |  Category: COLUMNS, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,225 views  |  
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$ 1.5 b revenue achievement in 2013 at a growth of 11% only academic If one were to track the psyche of a consumer of today, a key attribute that influences the purchase decision is value for money. For instance, if we take the automobile industry of Sri Lanka, at one time the preferred vehicle was French origin brands like Peugeot and then people turned to Japanese vehicles like the Toyota and Nissan. With the entry of Korean vehicles into Sri Lanka, brands like Kia that have become very popular, maybe tomorrow the roads will belong to Indian brands like Mahendra. This points to the key driver that must exist in today’s organisation – value chain development with innovation as the catalyst.... 

Agency banking networks

Published : 12:00 am  February 25, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, COLUMNS  |  1 Comment  |  1,006 views  |  
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Sri Lanka’s Praja Naya Niyamaka (PNN) Scheme Total Financial Inclusion (TFL) is the dream of all those who are concerned about exclusion of the poor, marginalised and displaced, from the formal financial sector. The poor, even when they manage to pull themselves out of poverty, often fall back into poverty when faced with a financial shock, with which they are unable to cope. They have to raise emergency funds to meet expenses connected to death, sickness, crop loss, livestock theft, etc. This is where micro insurance schemes can play a vital role. In the absence of micro insurance, the local money lender or pawn broker is the recourse if the victim is not a member of a group of micro savers... 

Average income of a Sri Lankan: When numbers gathered from top and bottom do not tally!

Published : 12:01 am  February 24, 2014  |  Category: COLUMNS, W. A. Wijewardena  |  2 Comments  |  1,530 views  |  
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Household Income and Expenditure Survey of 2012/13 The Preliminary Report of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey, abbreviated as HIES, for 2012/13 has just been released by Department of Census and Statistics or DCS (available at: Without doubt, the survey report carries a wealth of information on the socio-economic conditions of the Sri Lankans at this juncture of their history. It supplies feed-material for researchers, analysts, policymakers, commentators and even marketers. Since HIES is conducted periodically – once in every three years now – its numbers can be compared with those in the previous HIESs to assess... 

Driving organisational change

Published : 12:00 am  February 24, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  511 views  |  
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Whether we like it or not, change has become a necessity in an increasingly-competitive world. As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones who are most responsive to change.” Whether you distinct or extinct will depend on how you respond to change. It can be a case of being a victor or a victim. Today’s column is a deliberation on driving change major change. Background “Change invites you to move beyond a comfort zone. It applies to individuals, interactive teams and also to institutions. Both in the private and public sectors, change has become simply a necessity. Perhaps, we are already late. Yet, as they say, it... 

Greater profitability via CEO communication that engages employees: Obama points the way

Published : 12:00 am  February 21, 2014  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  4 Comments  |  677 views  |  
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An engaged workforce has major bottom-line impact: according to Gallup’s 2013 “State of the American Workplace” survey, businesses with an engaged workforce made 150% higher Earnings Per Share (EPS) than their competition in 2011/12. How do you make your employees more engaged in your business? Victor Lipman of Forbes magazine says more and clearer top management communication to all organisational levels is the way. “The art of communication is the language of leadership,” wrote James Humes. US President Barack Obama is living proof: his speaking might is the single skill that catapulted him from an unknown US Senator in 2004 to the US presidency a mere 4 years later. In his address... 

Five hubs and public service

Published : 12:00 am  February 21, 2014  |  Category: COLUMNS, Dinesh Weerakkody  |  Leave a Comment  |  304 views  |  
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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 into a strategically-important economic centre by developing five strategic hubs; a knowledge hub, a commercial hub, a naval and maritime hub, an aviation hub, and an energy hub, taking the advantage of Sri Lanka’s strategic location and resources. Now to facilitate this we would need a highly motivated and competent public service. This will be a key element to our future success. The public service would be expected to simplify and streamline some... 

Navy aim to end on a high

Published : 12:00 am  February 21, 2014  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez, COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  177 views  |  
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Navy have dominated the local club rugby in emphatic style this year. Their unbeaten record and consistent performance speaks volumes of their quality and cohesiveness as a team. They have been without their inspirational skipper but that loss has been used by them to show that they are not reliant on an individual. Their style of play has been fascinating in that they have looked to score at every opportunity and have taken the attack to the opposition. Against tougher teams like Kandy and Havies they have come up with quality game plans and have won with relative ease. Navy has one more game this week against the Havies and I cannot see any upset in this game despite the fact that Navy will... 

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