|Super marketers to work in
Forms a committee
with CCA and others to continue dialogue
By Quintus Perera
The key supermarket players in the country, - Keells Super,
Arpico, Laughfs, King’s and Cargills Food City; sections of
their suppliers, consumer society representatives and the
officials of the Consumer Affairs authority (CAA) along with its
Chairman, Sarath Wijesinghe met at Galle Face Hotel last week to
strategize to work together in harmony.
W K H Wegapitiya, Chairman, LAUGFS Holdings Ltd representing the
Laughfs super markets said that it was very strange that the
Ministry of Trade has chosen only five items - mosquito coils,
match boxes, gas and milk food as essential while leaving out a
host of other essential items for the day to day life of the
people and said that the CAA has been established with different
intentions to replace the earlier Fair Trading Commission.
He said it has been very unfair that whenever the CEYPETCO
decides to reduce the prices of fuel the other distributors are
forced to reduce prices immediately despite those distributors
stock large quantities of fuel purchased at higher prices
earlier. He said the CAA is not affording a fair deal.
Not catering to the rich
There were accusations levelled at supermarkets that they cater
to the high income segments while some participants pointed out
that in some items the expiry dates appear to be altered by
pasting a sticker and what sort of action would be taken if
anybody is selling out dated products. An officer of the CAA
said the manufacturer is mandated to print the expiry date, date
of manufacture and the maximum price and if anybody has changed
the original date of expiry indicated by the manufacturer, it
should be brought to their notice to take appropriate action.
It was also brought to the notice of the forum that when these
supermarkets in their organized systematic manner could be able
to sell at low prices, the wayside ordinary corner shop keeper
would go out of business which has become a part of the culture
of the rural society coming down from generations.
V Rajnit Page, Managing Director, Cargills Ceylon Ltd
representing the Cargills Food City Chain said that they are
catering to the high society, top-end elite is a myth as they
have been striving throughout to sell and lowest possible
prices, 70 percent of the items sold are that produced locally
and purchased directly from the rural farmers and their margin
has been a mere one percent.
He said it was equally a myth to suggest that they make enormous
profits and setting up of supermarkets would be very easy. They
are continuing their trade under tremendous pressure as it is
not like selling items in a way side shop, but all items such as
vegetable, fish, meat and fruits are stacked under
refrigeration, lot of electricity is consumed, their staff has
been trained and all the regulations are adhered to, while the
huge outlets are air-conditioned. He said all these supermarkets
have penetrated to 11 to 12 percent of the retail market. He
said there are many other things that are vital and important
for the growth of this industry.
Quality at low price
He said the system they are adopting to serve customer with
quality items at lowest possible price is itself is unique as
such a system is not available in the neighbouring countries
like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and Nepal.
They were able to make an impact in the market to make the
prices stable and low, a tremendous achievement.
He said that all the supermarket players thought of coming
together to serve the customer better and to create a healthy
competitive atmosphere. He brushed off the thinking of some that
the supermarket owners make big money.
Page said that once a supermarket is launched with a huge
investment, that have to wait around 3 to 3 ½ years to get the
But as some people think that supermarkets could make easy quick
money by now the industry would have grown to more than 1000
He said the Taxmen find it easy as all their bills are complete
with printed prices and there is nothing hidden. He urged
everyone to help them to make the industry grow as they are
No price controls in future
Sarath Wijesinghe, Chairman, CAA said that the country is fast
moving towards free trade and in that system there are no price
controls, but the prices are stabilized through healthy
competition. He said that matters could be settled amicably
rather than confrontations. He said that this dialogue will
create a new business culture.
He said there should be mutual understanding between the society
and the businessman as they have to co-exist depending on each
He was little unhappy of the huge fines imposed on small items
sold above the price etc and said he would give careful though
and find a way out to remedy the imbalance.
At the end of the meeting a committee was formulated among the
participants in a bid to continue this dialogue.
Along with Ranjit Page and W K H Wegapitiya, Jit Gunerate of
Keells was also present.
RCU organizes EDEX exhibition and launches website for jobs
The biggest challenge for the parents and children today is the
severe competition in education from nursery to the university
education in Sri Lanka and to then to find suitable
opportunities in the job market where various organizations need
the appointments made within 24 hours.
These ideas were expressed by Upali Gunasekera, Principal, Royal
College, Colombo briefing the media at the launch of the Web
based job seekers data base – WWW.EDEX.LK , held at College
Skills Centre Auditorium last week.
The briefing also gave details of the EDEX 2007 – the national
higher education and career exhibition which is scheduled to be
held from January 19-21, 2007 at the BMICH was also revealed.
He said that the Website therefore would be very useful for the
job seekers as well as the job providers. Gunasekera lauded the
Royal College Union (RCU) for launching of the Website and the
EDEX 2007 as a commendable social responsibility activity.
Giving an overview of the EDEX 2007, Kamal Abeysinghe, Project
Chairman, RCU, said the Exhibition will also be held at Kandy
Queens Hotel from January 23-24, 2007 and their strategic
partner is the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Jobsnet ably
supports the total exercise.
EDEX first launched in 2004 with only 65 exhibitors and attended
by 15,000 visitors have grown to 200 exhibitors and 30,000
visitors last year and the focus is on education as well as
He said EDEX promises an effective and far reaching marketing
and communication plan, designed to improve the target market.
The exhibitor profile would include: local participants, foreign
participants, foreign missions, financial institutions, NGOs,
professional educational institutions, government institutions,
educational training/trainers institutions, local and private
university affiliates, education product and tool promoters,
service providers, offshore recruitment companies, direct
universities, university promoters and corporate establishments.
School leavers, high school students, those looking at studying
abroad, university applicants, graduates/undergraduates,
academic staff, state authorities, job seekers, corporate
decision makers and general public are all expected to visit the
exhibition and make use of it optimally. - (QP)
Launch of the ILO Technical Assistance
The ILO Office in Sri Lanka with Financial Support from the
Irish Congress of Trade Unions launched its Technical Assistance
Project for Trade Unions last week at Hotel Renuka, Colombo 3 at
6.30 p.m. Mr. Peter Bunting, Assistant General Secretary of the
Irish Congress of Trade Unions will be in attendance for the
occasion as a special invitee.
On this day the ILO will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with
the National Association for Trade Unions Research and Education
(NATURE) to initiate the implementation of the two year project
in Ampara District, supporting 10 trade unions. The
participating trade unions include – Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya (JSS),
Sri Lanka Nidahas Sevaka Sangamaya (SLNSS), Ceylon Federation of
Trade Unions (CFTU), Free Trade Zone and General Services Unions
(FTZ & GSU), United Federation of Labour (UFL), Ceylon Workers
Congress (CWC), Confederation of Public Service Independent
Trade Unions (COPSITU), Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union (CCTU),
Health Worker’s Alliance (HWA), Lanka Jathika Estate Worker’s
Union (LJEWU) and the National Worker’s Congress (NWC).
Trade unions have a very important role to play to ensure that
issues related to the world of work take into account the needs
of the workers concerned, specifically in the tsunami affected
areas of the country.
The support to mobilize the tsunami-affected workers is
essential in protecting their rights enshrined in the ILO
conventions and domestic labour laws.
South Asian Capital Markets Conference
The South Asian Federation of Exchanges, popularly known as
“SAFE”, a regional federation of stock exchanges of South Asia
is arranging to hold their first South Asian Capital Markets
Conference on November 16 and 17 2006, at Taj Samudra in
Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) as a member of the SAFE is
organizing and coordinating this event the CSE announced. SAFE
consists of eleven leading stock exchanges from eight regional
countries namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mauritius,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The objective of the conference is to promote interaction among
regional capital markets and to explore cross border business
opportunities and work towards closer regional integration.The
Conference will be attended by wide range of professionals from
the South Asian capital markets, including banks, stock
exchanges, securities and banking regulators, depositories,
clearing companies, corporates and other financial institutions,
the CSR said in its new release.
The Conference would have speakers and panel discussion sessions
on various topics including the Capital market cooperation in
South Asia, Role of mutual funds and role of Foreign
institutional investors in promoting regional investments,
Emerging trends and opportunities for brokerage industry in
South Asia, Growth of derivates markets in South Asia, Corporate
governance norms in South Asia and Emerging trends in securities
Ceylon chamber to hold post budget seminar
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will be hosting its annual
post-Budget seminar “Budget 2007” on November 20, 2006.
It will be held from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. at the Ground Floor
Auditorium of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, No. 50, Navam
Mawatha, Colombo 02.
The intention of this seminar is to educate and alert the
private sector and interested individuals about the implications
and consequences of the National Budget 2007 on business and the
Highlighting the Economic Implications of the Budget will be Dr.
Anura Ekanayake, Deputy Vice Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of
Commerce, and Mr. H. B. A. Seneviratne, Commissioner ?
Tax Policy and Rulings at the Department of Inland Revenue will
draw attention to the Tax Proposals of the Budget.
The agenda also includes a Panel Discussion by Ms. Premila
Perera, Patner ?
This seminar will prove to be an ideal opportunity for the
private sector to interact with well-informed policy makers,
economists and tax experts on matters pertaining to the National
Budget. Registration will be on a first-come-first-serve basis.
For registration or further clarifications, please contact the
Economic Intelligence Unit, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on
2380152 / 2452184.
“Ceylinco FastCash” – An
international money transfer system
With deep penetration into the financial services sector,
Ceylinco has been focusing the development of products to
expatriate markets. Ceylinco Insurance has already developed
insurance products that are being distributed in the Middle East
through strategic partnerships with Dubai National Insurance &
Reinsurance Company in Dubai, Dhofar Insurance Company in Oman,
Qatar General Insurance & Reinsurance Company in Qatar & Al
Ahlia Insurance Company in Bahrain. In the Money transfer
business, Seylan Bank has strategic partnerships with Asia
Express Exchange in Oman & Hadi Express Exchange in Dubai.
After a careful study of the money transfer business, the
Chairman led a think tank to develop an international money
transfer product that will facilitate speedy & reliable money
transfer mainly for the expatriate workers with a host of value
added services attached to the product.
In the true spirit of innovation, Ceylinco is now ready to
unveil a revolutionary international money transfer product –
“Ceylinco FastCash” to the global market.
Ceylinco FastCash is a fast and reliable money transfer system
that would be launched in the Middle East from Ceylinco Express
Remittance (Pte) Ltd, a company incorporated in Singapore within
The remittance system has been developed by one of the largest
IT companies in Singapore with whom Ceylinco has a strategic
business alliance. NCS Pte. Ltd is a subsidiary of SingTel Ltd
(Singapore Telecom) & is majority owned by the Singapore
Government investment arm, Temasek Holdings Ltd. The system was
developed & tested by a dedicated team from NCS with domain
knowledge provided by Ceylinco with its vast experience in the
money transfer services.
The remittance system is a web enabled, thin-client system using
standard office pc’s. NCS has used state of the art technology
to develop this system. The network connectivity is provided via
the internet. The infrastructure is hosted in Singapore with
adequate protection for downtime & redundancy to provide 99.99%
reliability. The system is built on a secure platform with
128-Bit SSL protocol and the data is transmitted in an encrypted
The system has also built in manual controls for greater
security & monitoring of transactions. A dual user login control
has been implemented for supervisory & teller level login to
prevent unauthorised remote login via internet. The system has
also built in features to monitor transactions for anti money
laundering (AML) purposes.
The system will be activated through a network of authorised
agents who are licensed by the respective monetary authorities
to send & receive funds. Seylan Bank will function as the
settlement/custodian bank for the system. All the agents & the
customers will be provided with technical training & back office
support services from Singapore & the regional office in Dubai.
Ceylinco FastCash is not a mere money transfer system. It has
been developed with a host of value added services. The key
feature is the loyalty card given to all the customers. The
loyalty card known as the “WishCard” will have a unique number
that will be the customer identification number in the system.
Once a customer is registered, the data base will carry the
The remitting agent will be able to turnaround customers much
faster with this system due to the minimum information that
needs to be keyed in.
A unique feature of the product is the instant advice of the
transfer to the beneficiary via SMS. The message will indicate
the advice of remittance & the transaction number known as “CeyPin”.
The facility also provides for the sender to be informed once
the beneficiary receives the funds and where the system will
generate a SMS once the disbursement is effected.
The product will be initially targeting Sri Lankan expatriate
workers. These customers will be provided with value added
services such as insurance cover, special housing loan schemes,
cash delivery to home of the beneficiary, quarterly prize draws
and a Helpline in Colombo in case of any emergency. Ceylinco
propose to offer similar services with strategic partners to
other market segments once the distribution network is in place
in those countries.
Ceylinco Express Remittance (Pte) Ltd. has already made plans to
launch Ceylinco FastCash in other international markets in the
“Jayoda” Lottery relaunched
The Development Lotteries Board (DBL) relaunched last week
Jayoda Lottery in response to popular public demand.
“The Jayoda jackpot will be drawn from six lucky numbers using
six different cages containing numbers that range from 0-9 with
an additional super number ranging from 1-26 and it will be
drawn from a separate machine to determine the winner of the
snowballing super jackpot that starts with an initial amount of
Rs 10 million,” a DBL release states.
It further states that , in addition to cash prizes on offer ,
every non-winner will be included in a special draw to be held
soon after the main draw.
This draw will have prizes that make up of Motorcycles worth
over Rs 65,000 and with the winners being drawn from eight
different districts, through the barcode of the non-winning
“DBL has always been in the forefront of innovation in Sri
Lanka’s Lottery Industry as it was the first to introduce
instant winnings with the scratch and win feature and with
Saturday Fortune tickets being one of the highest contributors
towards the President’s Fund,” a DBL official says. DBL was
established in 1983 and over the years has assisted in the
economic development of the country by contributing all of its
profits to the President’s Fund and of which 50 per cent is
directed to the Mahapola Scholarship Fund. With the relaunch of
the Jayoda DBL aims to surpass Rs 1 billion from all its lottery
brands and further contribute to the President’s Fund which
supports numerous projects to enhance the living conditions of
the rural communities .
CINEC – Best Corporate Citizen 2006
At a recently concluded ceremony at the Cinnamon Grand, the
Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College (CINEC)
received the prestigious ‘Best Corporate Citizen Award - 2006’
in the SME sector. This prestigious award was presented by the
Ceylon Chamber of Commerce for the third consecutive year.
The main objectives of the awards were to raise awareness on the
importance of CSR to the business community and to promote and
encourage CSR practices amongst the corporate sector. The awards
are a measure of the rankings of the services a corporate entity
provides to its stakeholders, customers, shareholders,
employees, environment and community.
Each contender had to submit detailed information to satisfy the
Committee of Assessors in all five stakeholder groups/criteria
covering environment, community relations, employee relations
and terms and conditions, customer and supplier relations and
economic performance CINEC is a Maritime Education & Training
Institution complying with standards specified by IMO
(International Maritime Organization) of the United Nations.
It is ISO 9001:2000 certified for Quality Management Standards,
ISO 14001:2004 for Environmental Management Standards, OHSAS
18001:1999 for Occupational Health and Safety Management
standards and Det Norske Veritas Maritime Academy Standards.
It has also received the prestigious National Quality Award
twice: first in 1999 for the Best Service Organization and again
in 2004 for the Best Educational Organization for service