Columnists

Where do we go from here?

Views - 3854 Tuesday, 20 September 2016 00:05

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon admitted that the UN failed with Sri Lanka during the final stages of the war    As the delegation from Sri Lanka leaves to the US for the 71st Session of the UN General Assemb


Is Trump a marketer?

Views - 3687 Wednesday, 14 September 2016 00:01

Donald Trump’s promise – ‘Making America Great again’ with new thinking   The US elections always intrigue me. Just imagine a marketing budget on two brands exceeding $11 billion aimed at getti


Dealing with Sri Lanka’s true issues

Views - 4116 Tuesday, 6 September 2016 00:01

The recent visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sure motivated the country. He said: “This is my first visit to Sri Lanka since 2009, when I saw great suffering and hardship. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and in need of


Going back to the basics: SMEs need a single line ministry

Views - 3953 Tuesday, 30 August 2016 00:02

Let’s accept it - we are facing challenging times politically and economically. While some can blame the past, the fact of the matter is that the private sector is crying out for policy consistency and the support of the public sector throug


Lessons from the 2016 Olympics for Sri Lanka

Views - 3851 Tuesday, 23 August 2016 00:02

However tight our schedules, there were some of us who allocated time to watch the Olympics. To be honest, I was obsessed. Not by the Olympic medals that were won but by the story behind each winner; their struggle and triumph. Their achievements


The ‘restage’ of Brand Sri Lanka Cricket

Views - 3940 Tuesday, 16 August 2016 00:01

The other day I was talking to the Treasury Secretary at the Ministry of Finance who was a board member of the Export Development Board when I was Chairman of the EDB way back in 2005.  Given his vast experience in the public sector I have


Did Brazil benchmark China on staging the Olympic Games?

Views - 3193 Tuesday, 9 August 2016 00:01

Lesson for Sri Lanka The Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) always highlights that every city that has hosted the Olympics since 1984 has broken even. However, the problem is that the OCOG budgets refer only


Is Sri Lanka hurting its global brand identity?

Views - 4009 Tuesday, 2 August 2016 00:05

Believe it or not, the estimated brand value of $ 100 billion plus is said to beat the GDP value of Sri Lanka in 2016, given the strong democratic Government that came into power on 8 January last year. What this performance means is that the co


Kilinochchi: The forgotten city of today!

Views - 3556 Tuesday, 26 July 2016 00:01

I still remember travelling in an armed car on route to Kilinochchi and then taking an Air Force chopper that hugged a railway track to avoid sniper attacks way back in 2007-2009. At that time Kilinochchi was making headline news daily, given that


Clear national strategy results in strong brands

Views - 3211 Wednesday, 20 July 2016 00:00

Whilst we have heard a lot of rhetoric about Sri Lanka becoming the ‘Tiger’ nation of South Asia in the last couple of years, we are yet to see some ground activation on this direction. The fact of the matter is that unless th


Focus on the East but strengthen the West 

Views - 2760 Tuesday, 12 July 2016 00:00

Whilst there are many thoughts shared on the UK quitting the EU and its implications, one thought shared was to focus on agreements like the Trans Asia Partnership. Let’s accept it, over 60% of export income comes from the West, whilst if we


Should Sri Lanka Tourism be ready for ISIS?

Views - 3532 Tuesday, 5 July 2016 00:01

Whilst many keep saying that the hot spot for the turnaround of Sri Lanka’s economy is IT and the tourism industries, globally we see the shocks that keep hitting this industry. Now the question asked by many is how resilient an industry can


The importance of building brand Sri Lanka

Views - 3042 Tuesday, 28 June 2016 00:02

BREXIT costs $ 2.1 trillion SL exports to UK, $ 1 billion When Britain went to vote on the referendum, little did the world realise that in the event it went the other way, there would have been shock waves globally –


Focussing on the US presidential election

Views - 2504 Wednesday, 22 June 2016 00:00

The adage ‘money talks’ holds true in the 2016 campaign too with the estimated turnover to be almost 10 billion dollars by the end of the campaign. Apparently the 2012 campaign cost eight billion dollars whilst the 2008 campaign cost t


Project Management style in times of uncertainty

Views - 2776 Tuesday, 14 June 2016 00:05

On a sample of 269 companies the report that Q1 2016 delivered 16% growth at 61 billion was a performance for which Sri Lanka’s private sector must be commended, given the key issue that the country has been up against – policy inconsi


IPL 2016 and lessons for the Sri Lanka

Views - 2789 Tuesday, 7 June 2016 00:02

Over time it has been proved that sports has been a great teacher for business due to the similarity of the behavioural dynamics. Given my exposure of working in the South Asian multinational businesses, my pick of drawing parallels between sports


Invest in Sri Lanka needs a step change in strategy

Views - 3048 Tuesday, 31 May 2016 00:02

In the backdrop of the financial crisis, when the dreaded flood hit Sri Lanka, my mind went back to the time of 2007/08 when the war was ranging at its highest with the prices of petroleum touching $ 150 and foreign reserves were at just one month


Is the Indian FTA really working?

Views - 3547 Tuesday, 17 May 2016 00:02

There is much debate on if the current FTAs are really working and what we need to do before moving to ETCA. The fact of the matter is that even after 15 years of work by Sri Lankan exporters on the 1.2 billion Indian population, the export value


Why MPs keep hurting brand Sri Lanka?

Views - 2852 Tuesday, 10 May 2016 00:02

When the country voted for change on 8 January 2015, the expectation was that Sri Lanka would see radical changes to the developmental agenda of the country and we would see a new culture of working that would seriously improve the overall value o


Stock market picks up but let’s focus on agriculture and business confidence

Views - 2869 Wednesday, 4 May 2016 00:00

    In the recent weeks we saw how the stock market has begun to pick up given the $ 1.5 billion IMF announcement towards Sri Lanka. Whilst the news is positive, a point to note is that this money can be also withdrawn wi


USA becomes top nation brand – lessons for Sri Lanka 

Views - 2969 Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:01

EU lifting ban on SL fish will generate 16 b Nation brand building intrigues me given that Sri Lanka is building bridges once again and the recent award of EU exports of fish from Sri Lanka is testimony that Sri Lanka’s efforts


What’s happened to Sri Lanka?

Views - 3397 Tuesday, 19 April 2016 00:10

Yesterday’s Daily FT reported that Sri Lanka is negotiating for a IMF facility of $ 1-2 billion whilst over the weekend the papers reported that respected Central Banker W.A. Wijewardena had mentioned that a minimum 4.5 billion was required


73% of the economy needs greater visibility

Views - 2647 Tuesday, 12 April 2016 00:05

SMEs, which accounts for over 73% of the economy, are intriguing given that all we see in the papers are large companies and multinationals. This means that over one-third of the economic activity gets unaccounted.    The


Maldives lessons for Sri Lanka Tourism: 4 plans in 35 years

Views - 3673 Tuesday, 5 April 2016 00:01

Whilst many of us are proud of the performance of the tourism sector of Sri Lanka with arrivals crossing two million visitors and foreign exchange earning touching three billion dollars for the country, sometimes it’s interesting to understa


Private sector must focus on Vavuniya

Views - 2547 Tuesday, 29 March 2016 00:00

The other day we celebrated ‘Consumer Day’ in Vavuniya. I realised that many private sector companies were amazed at the sales of their products from the model outlet we had set up.  I explained that as per the last Department o


Barak Obama guards $ 19.7-trillion Brand USA; offers lessons for Sri Lanka

Views - 2602 Wednesday, 23 March 2016 00:00

  In an unprecedented move last week, the world saw US President Barak Obama comment on the ongoing competitive US elections at a St. Patrick’s Day launch event. He accused billionaire businessman Donald Trump of damag


Sri Lanka must focus on Baby Boomers just like Millennials

Views - 2861 Tuesday, 15 March 2016 00:01

Today is World Consumer Rights Day Sri Lankan consumers are challenged due to the changing policy decisions and pressure on the consumer purse   The challenge As Sri Lanka celebrates ‘Consumer Rights Day’


Successful trade agreements take 3-5 years to launch

Views - 2350 Wednesday, 9 March 2016 00:00

The buzz word in today’s media is the proposed agreement between Sri Lanka and India called ETCA. Just like any other innovation that policymakers try to launch in Sri Lanka, we see a share of media which is not that positive, to be honest.&


SL must go back to basics: STP approach to marketing

Views - 3497 Tuesday, 1 March 2016 00:02

Case in point: Thailand Tourism  The new ethos of business is that by monitoring best practice in the market we can sharpen our strategy, much more than going to any business school globally, the logic being that the dynam


SL must give leadership to SAARC post ETCA

Views - 2472 Wednesday, 24 February 2016 00:00

 The academia and private sector must support the Prime Minister’s bold decision to sign the Indo-Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA). Sri Lanka must connect deeper with the world.    


Today's Columnists

MMDA, ACJU, politicians and women

Saturday, 16 February 2019

It is 10 years since Justice Saleem Marsoof (JSM) and his committee was appointed to review and make recommendations to reform the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), passed originally in 1951 and amended in 1954, 1955, 1965 and 1969 before becom


President Trump looked for the failed idea of a wall

Saturday, 16 February 2019

The talks over the “Wall of Trump” between the US-Mexico Border Security broke down with Congressional leaders over the weekend. After the renewed call for a wall at his second State of the Union, President Donald Trump attended a political rally


‘The Man Who Would Be King’: Remembering Anura Bandaranaike on his 70th birth anniversary

Friday, 15 February 2019

‘The Man Who Would Be King’ is the title of a long tale written by Rudyard Kipling in 1888. This very popular story was made into a successful film starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer by the well-known director John Husto


Of pseudo-democrats, discipline and the coming death of liberty?

Friday, 15 February 2019

I despair of our politicos and would-be politicians. Not that they are not all honourable men. From the honourable prime minister to the former defence secretary discharging his duty honourably after premature retirement! But that honour often dresse


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