Friday 18th April 2014

Political capital and the potential rise of Al Capones

Published : 12:01 am  December 31, 2013  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  237 views  |  
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The concerned citizens of Sri Lanka have watched in silence the steady escalation of reports of economic crimes, TV footage of the work of organised and contract killers and their despicable criminal acts, investigative media reports about political nexus of the perpetrators and the absence of rule of law. Yet none had the guts to question the alarming trend in organised violence and crimes. The first shot at crime busting would be to create public confidence in the Police Department. There must be some semblance of discipline in the Police service in the first place. When the Police Department is rid of corrupt officers, the voluntary ‘whistle blowers’ from the citizenry would emerge. When... 

2014: A year of change for women in business?

Published : 12:01 am  December 31, 2013  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  Leave a Comment  |  543 views  |  
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On 10 December 2013, as the year was drawing to a close, something unprecedented happened at Henry Ford’s venerable General Motors (GM). Mary Barra took the wheel, as CEO, to become the most powerful woman in the US car industry. Barra is one of a fast growing cadre of top female managers at GM; a quarter of its factory management are female. The cutting-edge technology electric vehicle program is driven by a woman. Barra has been described as ‘a coach, and that’s the sort of management style this company needs’ says David Cole of the Centre for Automotive Research. She takes over from Dan Akerson, a former military man, who leaves on a high note. His new Chevrolet Impala has been cited... 

14 fortitudes for 2014

Published : 1:04 am  December 30, 2013  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, COLUMNS  |  2 Comments  |  458 views  |  
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A brand new year is ahead of us. As usual, people tend to have New Year resolutions. My suggestion is to go beyond resolutions, to have specific reinforcements. For that, I would like to suggest 14 fortitudes leading to focused action, especially with the Sri Lankan managers in mind. As usual, I have this tendency to brand them. Let me call them ‘14 Es of Excellence’. Excellence through 14 Es Excellence is all about being exceptionally good. When applied to enterprises, it involves exceptional achievements in a consistent manner. For that to happen, employees have to excel as well. In doing so, they would demonstrate productive practices. I would like to identify 14 such action verbs. 1.... 

Alleged massaging of growth numbers: Should a credibility restoration exercise be launched for Sri Lanka’s statistics agency?

Published : 1:00 am  December 30, 2013  |  Category: COLUMNS, W. A. Wijewardena  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,325 views  |  
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Allegation of massaging GDP numbers A recent newspaper report has alleged that the top-most official in the country’s official Statistics Bureau, the Department of Census and Statistics or DCS, has instructed the officer handling the GDP numbers to increase the growth rate in Quarter I of 2013 from 5.5% to 6% when there were no ground conditions warranting the issue of such instructions (available at: The top-most official concerned has denied any wrong-doing but declined to give details of his side of the story expecting the problem to die away ‘just like the bubbles forming instantly in an opened bottle of... 

The role of the private sector in ruralisation of the Sri Lankan economy

Published : 12:00 am  December 27, 2013  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  3 Comments  |  556 views  |  
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Country with a unique history needs to lay a good foundation for a unique future Sri Lanka is such a unique country not only from the Asian context but even from a global context. Geographically it is a uniquely located hub where countries in the west with the east are connected. Historically too it is unique with a 2500 year history and culturally one of the most colourful with multiple ethnic groups contributing to live in harmony with nature and one another with great religious consciousness. This uniqueness of the country is further amplified by the diversity that exists within the nine provinces of the island nation. With a population of over 20 million people and literacy levels well... 

Budget 2014: No charges banned or prohibited in shipping

Published : 12:02 am  December 24, 2013  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  730 views  |  
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Attempts continue to disrupt Sri Lanka from adopting free market mechanism As the budget is passed, major shipping lines have readjusted billing already in line with the national policy SLFFA views reflected in the budget policy Government policy on an FMC model hailed by international groups Attempts are continuing to indirectly threaten the Government of Sri Lanka to stop it establishing of a transparent mechanism for shipping and logistics that will be driven by market forces. Stating that Sri Lanka is banning various charges by intervention is completely an erroneous and a mischievous statement. The fact remains that no one has banned any charges or surcharges, provided they are within... 

Jan. to June advertising spend Rs. 34 b in 2013

Published : 12:01 am  December 24, 2013  |  Category: Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,013 views  |  
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We hear often that Sri Lanka’s economy is growing at 7% plus but many institutions are talking of difficult trading conditions. The other day I was invited by a Rotary Club to address their monthly meeting and I was wondering about addressing this issue given that this particular Rotary Club had the biggest names from the corporate world present. To analyse this issue, I got my hands on a public document of the advertising spend of the 15 players in Sri Lanka for the first half of 2013. A point to note is that this is only the above-the-line media on rack rates and if the below-the-line media is added, it can even double the spend given that point of sale material and sponsorships values do... 

MOOCs and the developing world

Published : 12:01 am  December 24, 2013  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte  |  1 Comment  |  671 views  |  
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The potential for a revolution in university education Analysts have pointed out that in the way that some countries bypassed land telephone lines in their bid to enhance telecommunication facilities and went on straight to mobile connectivity, the opportunity offered by Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at the tertiary level would give an opportunity for countries to bypass brick and mortar universities and go straight onto online courses at the tertiary level. It was in 2011 that Stanford University in California, USA, launched its first MOOC. Since then these internet-enabled tertiary education programs have really taken off, engaging millions of users. The large MOOOC providers such as... 

Empowering Sri Lanka’s future through project management

Published : 1:23 am  December 23, 2013  |  Category: COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  717 views  |  
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According to a President’s Office media release, the Government presented the 2014 Appropriation Bill with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 2.54 trillion, to be spent on massive development projects focused on highways, power, tourism, rural industries, health, and education sectors. Special focus was on the programs in the agriculture sector. With such a large investment and foreign borrowings, it is crucial to ensure that every cent we invest on projects deliver the expected returns. Not only the Government and public sector organisations, but also the private companies need to focus on how to acquire the expected benefits of the projects they plan for the New Year, through best practices... 

Radiant reflections on renewal

Published : 12:35 am  December 23, 2013  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, COLUMNS  |  Leave a Comment  |  625 views  |  
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We are about to witness another festive season. A brand new year is just a few days away from us. Holidays give us time to refresh, reflect and renew. I personally look forward to a much-needed break after a few “mega months” with regard to duties and deliverables. At last, it gave me the opportunity to live up to what I believe as “family first”. Today’s column on Human Results is just a relaxed reflection on the way to enjoy Christmas how to meaningfully engage in value creation at all fronts. Caring through carols I observed how many corporate committed in organising Christmas carols during recent weeks. It has become not a mere annual ritual but a deeper organisational phenomenon... 

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