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

Published : 12:46 am  August 8, 2014  |  Category: Dinesh Weerakkody, Special Report  |  3 Comments  |  2,312 views  |  
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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 power, increase the resilience of the system, reduced earnings volatility and to drive economies of scale and above all to create a stable financial sector. The recent flurry of M&A discussions and deals in the NBFI stands witness to this. The main catalyst generally behind M&A activity is competition, which is generally fuelled by market forces, deregulation and technology, but the recent excitement has been driven mainly by Government policy... 

Uva: A high stakes game

Published : 12:44 am  August 7, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Dharisha Bastians, Opinion  |  6 Comments  |  1,814 views  |  
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Uva-Wellassa, the ‘land of one hundred thousand paddy fields,’ will go to the polls to elect its provincial representatives for the sixth time about six weeks from now. The border between Sri Lanka’s beautiful central hills region and its dry zone runs through the Uva Province, making the two districts it is home to as different as night and day. It was long-ordained that the Uva Provincial Council election would be an important forerunner to a much bigger electoral contest scheduled for early 2015. Staggered provincial and local government polls have been the preference of the Rajapaksa Administration since it assumed office. Until the year 2004, all nine provincial elections were held... 

Once a nuclear power…!

Published : 12:00 am  August 6, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,102 views  |  
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Recently I read two newspaper articles, one in Sinhala and the other English, both on what one may loosely call historical subjects. Both articles have adopted the same form, that of a narration of an interview. In the Sinhala article the writer reports on discussions with several persons on a political event that happened about 25 years back. This is recent history; most of the characters spoken about are still among us. On 23 July a mainstream English daily carried a full page exposition of the views of Dr. Mirando Obeysekera, apparently an authority on the mythical King Ravana. Like other such stories, the difference between fact and fiction in the Ravana saga is a matter for the reader. Different... 

Tea exports up 16.4%; quasi tea hub?

Published : 12:00 am  August 5, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, Rohantha Athukorala  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,453 views  |  
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At the 35th anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, my mind wandered to the key sectors that Sri Lanka has been operating in the last 35 and their health. Apparel which started its business way back in 1974 is today a five billion dollar business giving leadership to the world on the platform of ‘ethical sourcing destination of the world’. On the other hand the tea industry is poised to become a two billion dollar business globally giving an identity to brand Sri Lanka. Quasi tea hub? In this backdrop, the performance of the tea industry is demonstrating a commanding 16.4% growth as at the first half of 2014 which is an interesting situation with record production... 

World War I: The Great War centenary

Published : 12:00 am  August 5, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion  |  3 Comments  |  922 views  |  
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With 2014 marking the 100th anniversary since the start of World War I and the centenary being commemorated worldwide, the Daily FT reproduces a column by Charitha Ratwatte first published in the paper on 29 January 2013 World War I was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all of the great powers of the world, as at that time, which were grouped into two opposing alliances: The Allies, based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, France and Russia on the one hand and the Central Powers, originally the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy. But, as Austria and Hungary had taken the... 

The reform agenda and Opposition options

Published : 12:05 am  August 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  3 Comments  |  964 views  |  
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Here’s the scenario for one year from now: one, possibly two more members of the ruling family will almost certainly be in Cabinet, while a bloodless Night of the Long Knives would have seen off the SLFP barons suspected of allegiance to the deposed queen. I ain’t got no dog in this fight, but I would like the political situation to have far greater balance and wouldn’t like the System to be even more top-heavy than it is. Simply put, I wouldn’t like Sri Lanka to function, or rather, dysfunction, ridiculously like a medieval kingdom in the 21st century. Now if you think appearing as a kingdom or transitioning from a republic to a kingdom is a good thing provided roads get built, real... 

A ‘Child’s Guide’ to the IMF’s press release on Sri Lanka

Published : 12:00 am  August 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion, W. A. Wijewardena  |  1 Comment  |  7,200 views  |  
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An IMF mission with a mission The International Monetary Fund, better known as the IMF, has issued a press release on July 29, 2014 after its Executive Board had discussed the report presented to it by the Staff Mission that had visited Sri Lanka in May 2014 (available at: The staff mission had been fielded by the IMF under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement which is the constitution governing the Fund. This Article has stipulated that the IMF should have discussion with member countries, usually once a year, on their economic development and policies. The report submitted by the staff mission is discussed by the IMF’s Executive... 

EDB turns 35

Published : 12:00 am  August 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  405 views  |  
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A review of its contribution to the nation The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) celebrated its 35th anniversary on 1 August. As an apex national organisation in export development and promotion, the EDB deserves a high degree of praise for its remarkable contribution made towards socioeconomic development of the country. Since its inception, it was the dedicated effort of the talented and qualified staff that strengthened EDB to become the leading institution of export development in the nation for the last 35 years. The Government elected to power in 1977 introduced the Open Economic Policy mainly to establish export-oriented economy with the objective of developing the supply of... 

Stockholm syndrome and Sri Lanka

Published : 12:00 am  August 4, 2014  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,726 views  |  
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Sri Lankan media gave much publicity to a kidnapped child, Dinidu from Megalewa, recently. It is yet another emotional episode involving several key players. Reflecting on multiple dimensions of this event, I thought of perusing on the strange relationship between captors and captives. Stockholm syndrome is a case in point. Let’s see what it is and how it connects to Sri Lankan workplaces.   Overview Stockholm syndrome is also known as capture-bonding. It essentially speaks of what happens when hostages express sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors. It is named after the Norrmalmstorg robbery of Kreditbanken at Norrmalmstorg in Stockholm, Sweden. The event took place... 

Social media empowers democracy

Published : 12:00 am  August 4, 2014  |  Category: Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,013 views  |  
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In this day and age, the relevance of social media in almost all spheres of human life cannot be overlooked, as it has become an integral part of our daily lives, making us aware of social, political and economic activities happening locally and around the world. It is a mirror of the society and times we live in and it shows us the bare truth and the harsh realities of life. In a nation as diverse as Sri Lanka, the need for information in order to build a relationship between the government and its citizens is crucial because the social media can sometimes act as an informative bridge between the government and the general public. The media as a whole are part of a constitutional balance of... 

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