Veni, Vidi, Vici

Published : 12:00 am  January 22, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  4 Comments  |  251 views  |  
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zVeni, vidi, vici’ (I came, I saw, I conquered) a classical Latin phrase: Its popular usage reportedly originates from a letter Julius Caesar wrote to  the Roman Senate around 46 BC, in the city of Zela (now in Tokat Province in Turkey), after achieving victory in his short war against Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Battle of Zela. The phrase is used to refer to a swift, conclusive victory. Our hero today though, not even remotely related to Julies Caesar, earned a swift and emphatic victory at the recently concluded presidential election in Sri Lanka, palpably heralding a new era for the people. It was a historical triumph. People were relieved and happy at the turn of events and it... 

‘Hire and fire’ of State-Owned Enterprise boards

Published : 12:49 am  January 21, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Hilmy Cader  |  2 Comments  |  559 views  |  
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With every regime change, the entire board of most major State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are ‘sacked’ and replaced with an entirely new board, often with no formal transition or ‘knowledge transfer’ process. This can be detrimental to the business. However, two effective practices that can be considered are: nUnder the auspices of the Auditor-General, the Government should recruit a pool of professional non-executive directors, who can be rotated among the SOEs. They should be truly independent and cannot be politically dislodged. This can be in addition to the political appointees (if they must really resort to that!). nMake it a compulsory legal requirement for any outgoing SOE board... 

Were our leaders praying or taking insurance against lightning strikes?

Published : 12:00 am  January 21, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  350 views  |  
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Were the leaders of this State, including those political, official, business, academic, journalism and civil society leaders, who participated in the process of compiling, presenting, endorsing and sometimes misrepresenting and deceiving the public by promoting the National Budget 2015 as well as the leaders who made presidential election promises by way of published vision statements/manifestos, action programs, presentations and platform pronouncements, praying to the Aruchchana Deviyo (the god purported to control thunder strikes) for protection or taking insurance covers to protect and mitigate risk against possible lightning strikes or doing both?   Has the Budget 2015 conformed to... 

Leading the future with good governance

Published : 12:00 am  January 21, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  369 views  |  
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Leadership inspires. Leadership create futures. New leaders have been chosen, some leaders have been re-appointed. Some are still waiting to be selected. They all share one thing. One beautiful vision! During the recent presidential election, Sri Lankan people united to vote for change; to change the way things are done, to welcome a leadership that promoted good governance   They all are willing to lead the country forward. Only to pay back what they have gained as citizens of this country, not to make money out of it, or not to make a name out of it. They do not expect anything but the commitment and support from everyone who can help to implement the vision. It sounds like a dream. It... 

Why not an FTA with Brazil?

Published : 12:47 am  January 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Rohantha Athukorala  |  1 Comment  |  434 views  |  
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Overall market size on imports worth $ 226 b in Brazil Sri Lanka’s exports to Brazil $ 48 m at 0.021% share Lanka within top 10 importing countries in many product sectors FTA struggling Whilst we can be proud of the export performance, the fact of the matter is that the FTAs are not generating the desired results they were intended to bring into the country. We are struggling with the Indian FTA whilst the Pakistan FTA is somewhat more positive but yet in rough waters. Given the private sector-savvy administration coming into play post 8 January, the public sector feedback is that Sri Lanka’s overall engagement with the world will change and this will result in a positive rub-off on the... 

Being happy

Published : 12:42 am  January 20, 2015  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  297 views  |  
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An assessment challenge How do you assess whether a person is happy? Just after the euphoria of the triumph of the democratic process in our country, escaping from the brink of dictatorship and authoritarianism, would it be reasonable to say that most of the people are reasonably happy that we had a relatively peaceful election and a sensible transfer of power? Or is this simply our democratic right – to be expected as the right of a citizen living under a democratic constitution, to have the capacity to act democratically – and nothing to be deliriously happy about? Or can people be said to happy that the possibility of economic largesse of a new Government, expecting to go before the... 

Folly of two flag carriers

Published : 12:18 am  January 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  301 views  |  
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  “Superior intelligence, discipline and ingenuity would substitute for resources” – From the foreword by Henry Kiesinger, Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew Vol. I National airlines of many countries run at a loss. They are bailed out by governments. In Sri Lanka we have two State-owned airlines running colossal loses. One is currently upgrading its fleet. Both are subsidised by the national exchequer in these exciting days of change and reforms. With bated breath those who bitterly and passionately criticised the evicted regime await not draft legislation but results. The President told his Cabinet after the swearing in that their task ahead was to enlist the support of those who did not believe... 

Weekend rugby roundup

Published : 12:00 am  January 20, 2015  |  Category: Arthur Fernandez, Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  214 views  |  
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Navy drown Sharks Those who made it to Welisara to watch the Navy-Sharks game were treated to a try fiesta and one wondered if Navy was playing a junior schoolboy team. The carnage was pathetic to watch from a rugby purist’s point of view and the question will be asked if there should be a lesser number of quality teams as opposed to a plethora to make up the numbers. I would prefer to see a lower number of quality teams that provide the spectator with value for money and a better quality game. The Sharks were simply outclassed, outplayed and sunk in the shallow waters of Welisara. They put up nothing that came close to resembling a fight but simply went through the motions of playing rugby.... 

Right person to right position: Competencies or connections?

Published : 12:07 am  January 19, 2015  |  Category: Ajantha Dharmasiri, Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  492 views  |  
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The country witnessed the beginning of a massive political change. We saw the appointment of Cabinet Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers. Some ministerial secretaries and heads of some key institutions have also been appointed. It is the opportune time to reflect on the challenge of ensuring that the right person is in the right position. Today’s column will shed light on this aspect.                           Overview The choice of connections over the competencies has been a perennial issue in the local political arena. The kith and kin of those who are at the helm appeared to be the favourites, with regard to filling... 

To regain lost credibility, Central Bank should act as ‘impartial spectator’ and not as ‘policy owner’

Published : 12:05 am  January 19, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  8 Comments  |  6,416 views  |  
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The loss of credibility The conduct of Sri Lanka’s Central Bank in the recent few years has drawn a lot of criticism from the concerned public. One such criticism has been that it has functioned as a branch office of the ruling party defending insanely every policy action taken by the Government. The bank’s failure to appraise properly the policy actions of the Government has caused it to lose its credibility in the eyes of the public.                           Praise of Mattala Airport For instance, the Central Bank in its Annual Report 2011 expected the Mattala Airport to serve “several leading airlines which have expressed... 

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