Columnists,Rohantha Athukorala,Opinion and Issues

Sri Lanka at crossroads?

Views - 449 Wednesday, 10 April 2019 00:00

The Sri Lankan economy is worth around $ 93 billion with the per capital income at $ 4,310 and the country achieving most of the Millennium Development Goals. However, the country is going through some tough times with questions on governance stemmin


AI and political marketing

Views - 1375 Wednesday, 27 March 2019 00:00

Artificial Intelligence has become a hot topic in the recent past in Sri Lanka, with an eminent business personality explaining how his companies like Singer and HAYLEYS are using this technology to better serve the customers. Let me do a deep dive i


Ceylon Tea or Sri Lanka Tourism the stronger category brand?

Views - 407 Thursday, 21 March 2019 00:00

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


Budget 2019 off target?

Views - 482 Wednesday, 13 March 2019 00:00

The share of voice (SOV) of the Budget 2019 was very strong with almost every newspaper every media station, paper or radio highlighting the opinions and challenges. But I did not see anyone report the research presentation that was made on 6 March (


Will SL Budget 2019 capture key trends globally?

Views - 736 Tuesday, 5 March 2019 00:10

As per the latest estimates of the World Bank, the South Asian region is ranked the fastest growing with a whopping 6.9% GDP growth in 2018, whilst the estimated growth in 2019 is to be 7.1% which indicates the appetite that private sector has and no


Will tourism lose another chance?

Views - 1010 Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:16

Last week we saw the appointment of another respected business professional to drive Sri Lanka Tourism – the sixth Chairman to drive the entity Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) within a space of just four years. If I may capture since 20


Sri Lankan housewife raises her head

Views - 255 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 01:21

Whilst Sri Lanka is grappling with a 2.9% GDP growth in Q3 2018, which happens to be the lowest growth seen in the recent history of Sri Lanka, thankfully the Sri Lanka housewife is raising the head at the household end due to the low inflationary at


SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Views - 521 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou


Sri Lanka must focus on quality of exports rather than value

Views - 342 Wednesday, 16 January 2019 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka needs to be commended on the exports value of $ 17 billion that was achieved last year (the numbers include merchandise and export of services), a point to note us that Sri Lanka is ranked the lowest in our part of the world for new


Sri Lanka: Target exports from $ 37 to $ 50 billion

Views - 876 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

It was great to see the communique that Sri Lanka has reached $ 17 billion in exports in 2018, registering a growth of 15% in the backdrop of the Colombo Stock Exchange reporting the worst trading recorded in the last 10 years last Friday. The 2018 e


Marketing a political candidate in 2019: Is it right?

Views - 394 Tuesday, 1 January 2019 00:00

If we track back at last year, the highest share of voice topic was undoubtedly ‘politics’. Many are speculating now that 2019 will be the year of elections, starting from the Provincial Council elections to General elections and subsequently the


Lesson from India to Sri Lanka as India powers to $ 2 trillion

Views - 1114 Thursday, 20 December 2018 00:00

In the backdrop of the exchange rate fluctuations due to the strengthening of the dollar, the Indian Government pushed for ‘governance’ by asking the British Government to extradite the Indian liquor baron Vijay Malaya who has taken refuge in the


Sri Lanka beaten by Algeria and Ukraine now

Views - 1321 Thursday, 29 November 2018 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka has been grappling on the ’Governance’ criteria in the last one month, we see how the world is passing us by – not only Singapore, Malaysia or Bangladesh but now countries like Ukraine and Algeria as per the latest data release


The reality of Sri Lanka – household end!

Views - 855 Wednesday, 14 November 2018 00:00

Whilst Sri Lanka is debating what is right and wrong on the governance of the country, the Sri Lankan household is falling part due to escalating costs, as per the latest data released by respected research agency Nielsen. For the seventh quarter in


Lankan housewives lift their heads but BCI at low 87

Views - 352 Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:21

Whilst the country is moving to unravel the constitutional challenge at hand, the good news emerging is that consumption that has been in decline quarterly has seen a turnaround in the last quarter (Q3-2018), as per the latest Nielsen Report. But the


Clear national strategy results in strong brands

Views - 302 Wednesday, 10 October 2018 00:00

Last week the Daily FT-Colombo MBA Alumni Association staged the first-ever pre-Budget Forum dedicated to women entrepreneurs and professionals. If one were to conceptualise the presented proposals, they hinged on two points. The first was the overa


Teacher Ma, an example to today’s world

Views - 433 Wednesday, 3 October 2018 00:00

Recently, I was on route to Sri Lanka from India and was killing time at the Kochin airport when I got my hands on the autobiography of the owner of the world’s top brand, Alibaba. The founder’s actual name was Ma apparently and he had started b


Modi celebrates birthday whilst making India strong – Lesson for SL

Views - 309 Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00

The Indian Prime Minister celebrated his birthday earlier this week in the backdrop of India growing at a blistering performance of 7.1%. The January-March quarter saw the highest GDP growth in the last seven quarters with India becoming the sixth la


The private sector speaks, Mr. Prime Minister!

Views - 1315 Tuesday, 4 September 2018 00:00

In the recent past there have been many views about Sri Lanka’s performance. From the Railway strike to students of higher education and recently the fishermen community are some of the indications that there are deeper issues in the system that ne


Economic woes the motivator for FTAs

Views - 373 Tuesday, 28 August 2018 00:00

We have seen in the recent past the heat on the FTA with Singapore that was signed around nine months back. Whilst there can be merits to this argument, we have to keep in mind that when a country is struggling at 3% GDP growth and a debt stock that


Sri Lankan consumer sinking ?

Views - 1141 Wednesday, 15 August 2018 00:10

Globally we see that when an economy gets challenged at the corporate end, it has a ripple effect on the consumer, leading to protests, strikes and agitation. The latter is often termed by politicians as having linkage to


President Kolinda turning around brand Croatia

Views - 693 Monday, 6 August 2018 00:00

Even though France won one of the most popular sporting events globally, the FIFA World Cup 2018, the media highlight was Croatian President Kolinda Kitarovic and how the country was led to its first-ever World Cup final by a refugee, Luka Modric.


Top Cola brand crashing globally; lesson for Sri Lanka

Views - 3640 Friday, 20 July 2018 00:00

We have heard the age old adage, if a brand is not in line to the trends of a customer, they will cease to exist over time.


Has Sri Lanka been beaten by Myanmar?

Views - 2918 Thursday, 12 July 2018 00:00

We have heard that the great Lee Kwan Yu wanted Singapore to be like Sri Lanka way back in the sixties. Today, Singapore is a $ 349 billion economy whilst we are at just a quarter of that value at around $ 85 billion.  Then we consider ourselves to


Gaddafi leadership style and ‘disruptive model’ for business

Views - 1159 Thursday, 5 July 2018 00:00

In this era of ‘disruption’, sometimes it’s important to pick people who work against the grain and develop an output that is not seen in the world. Whilst many of us were against this leadership style of Gaddafi, given the global economic fall


Sri Lanka Cricket not helping battered brand Sri Lanka

Views - 692 Thursday, 28 June 2018 00:00

As you may be aware, brand Sri Lanka is under attack with growth dropping to a single digit since 2016 which has been tainted by ‘Governance’ and the drive down of the economic activity that has reached 3.1% in GDP as of Q12018. Governance If we


Strong trade agreements need 30-50 consultations

Views - 358 Wednesday, 20 June 2018 00:00

Coming from a multinational working background, I strongly support free trade given that open competition tends to sharpen


IPL: Start-up to $ 5.3 b in 10 years – Lessons for Sri Lanka

Views - 614 Wednesday, 13 June 2018 00:00

The world of marketing has intrigued me not because I have spent most my life in this profession and managed powerful global brands like Dettol, but I have got the opportunity to lead categories like Ceylon Tea when I served the Sri Lanka Tea Board f


After 9 years: War lessons for GOSL in 2018

Views - 312 Friday, 1 June 2018 00:00

We saw the agitation by certain quarters once again on 18 May wanting to commemorate war heroes from one side


Sri Lankan consumer in trouble?

Views - 1060 Tuesday, 15 May 2018 00:00

When Sri Lanka voted in a new government in January 2015, none of us in the private sector thought that we will be faced with today’s tough reality after three years. Whilst many of us are yet positive and optimistic, we must also be practical and


Today's Columnists

Poignant pondering on a patriarch

Monday, 22 April 2019

Almost five months have gone. It is with a profound sense of sadness that we experienced the demise of our veteran teacher, respected author, legal luminary, an accomplished ambassador, an eminent public servant and an amazing human being, Dr. Wickre


Enemies of democracy – Part I Demand for a strongman to rule the country

Monday, 22 April 2019

I posed the following question to a group of university students recently: ‘Do you desire to have a strongman to rule Sri Lanka today?’ The students, made up of both genders in the age group of 25 to 35, chorused the answer in the affirmative. Wh


The sad demise of Jet Airways

Monday, 22 April 2019

Jet Airways of India, once the premier full-service carrier of the sub-continent, has ceased operations. “Jet Airways and its Board of Directors have been forced to take this extreme measure, as prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and auth


No more stones to break Sri Lankan bones

Friday, 19 April 2019

Trial by fire is not a new ordeal to Christian community. It predates Notre Dame and Nazism by millennia. In fact, a decade or so before Nero torched believers to light Roman avenues, Jewish religious leaders put Jesus-followers to the test as the Ch


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