“100% coconut products out of reach of the customer due to prevailing taxes”
Distilleries Company boss Harry Jayawardena has warned that “real coconut arrack will soon be out of the market” if the concerned authorities do not look into the “step-motherly treatment” now being accorded to the coconut arrack industry.
Jayawardena, the Chairman and Managing Director of the Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka PLC (DCSL) has sounded this warning in the recently published annual report of the company where he has complained about prevailing exorbitant pricing structure of coconut arrack with sales volumes shrinking daily.
“One hundred percent coconut products are out of the reach of the consumer due to prevailing taxes,” he has said. “The government must seriously look into this matter to reduce prices in order to divert some of the ENA customers to coconut products.”
The DCSL report says that arrack is one of Sri Lanka’s most celebrated offerings to the world. It claims that Sri Lanka coconut arrack is undeniably one of the purest naturally derived alcoholic beverages in the world, distilled through a natural fermentation process.
“Sri Lanka has perfected the technique of making coconut arrack through the years,” the report said. “Today it has acquired the perfect balance for the discerning palate and coconut arrack reigns as the alcoholic beverage of choice in the country.”
Jayawardena has once again repeated his long-held complaint about increasing volumes of illicit products, adulterated and artificial toddy manufactured daily in large quantities.
“Today it is an industry by itself, formed into a cottage industry dominated by a section of Mudalalis,” he stated. “The proof is that the situation has multiplied byy 20 times over what it has been for years and spread over the whole island. Recent raids made by the Department of Excise and other enforcement authorities is proof that this situation exists.”
He accused some regulatory officials of conniving with with the illicit trade to avoid detection. As soon as one plant is detected it will start running under another name, he said adding that moonshine is being distilled in some luxurious houses without the knowledge of the enforcement authorities.
Jayawardena demanded action to control this situation as it has reduced legal alcohol volumes. With the STF and armed forces authorized to monitor illicit liquor, there have been more detections in the recent past compared to previous years and “there has been somewhat of a dip in the illegal activity.”
DCSL, previously a State near-monopoly, was privatized in 1991 with Harry J connected companies assuming control, helping to make Jayawardena one of the country’s best known tycoons. The company today has nearly Rs. 20.9 billion in assets and is one of the wealthiest businesses in Sri Lanka.
In the year under review, DCSL paid Rs. 53.8 billion in excise duty to the government, marginally below Rs. 54 billion the previous year and earned an after tax profit of Rs. 5.8 billion against the previous year’s Rs. 5.4 billion.
The dominant shareholder of DCSL is Melstacorp PLC, a Harry J company (92.46%). Other companies connect5ed to him in the Top 20 shareholders list are Milford Exports (3.21%), Lanka Milk Foods (0.98%), Stassen Exports (0.05%) and his son, Hasitha Jayawardena (0.05%).
The directors of the company are Messrs: Harry Jayawardena (Chairman/MD), CR Jansz, R. Seevaratnam, Niranjan Deva Adittya, Capt. (Rtd.) KJ Kahanda, Dr. Naomal Balasuriya, Hasitha Jayawardena, Ms. VJ Senaratne and Amitha Gooneratne.
HNB partners Hayleys Agri for offers on Kubota, Agrotech, Farmtrac agriculture machinery
(from left) Hayleys Agriculture Sales Manager Sunil Gamini, Hayleys Agriculture General Manager Sumith Herath, Hayleys Agriculture Director Lushan Abesekara, Hayleys Agriculture Director Amjad Rajap and Hayleys Agriculture Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena with HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB Head of Micro Finance Vinodh Fernando, HNB Head of Personal Financial Services Kanchana Karunagama, HNB Head of Leasing Niluka Amarasinghe, HNB Assistant Manager- Leasing Roshan de Silva and HNB Business Development Executive- HNB Leasing Mahesh Ratnayake.
HNB PLC, renewed its partnership with leading agricultural machinery and equipment supplier Hayleys Agriculture, to offer customers convenient leasing solutions and attractive benefits for Kubota, Agrotech and Farmtrac range of machinery.
The partnership which offers HNB customers special rates on tractors, transplanters and harvesters was inked at a ceremony held at Hayleys Head Office. HNB Deputy General Manager- Retail and SME Banking Sanjay Wijemanne and Hayleys Agriculture Managing Director Jayanthi Dharmasena graced the ceremony as guests of honor.
“Last year was especially challenging for us all. However, we have continued to work tirelessly to provide our customers with the best possible deals available in the market. As such, we hope that entrepreneurs in the agricultural industry will make use of this offer to strengthen and expand their businesses,” HNB Head of Personal Financial Services Kanchana Karunagama said.
Virtusa sponsors first virtual IEEE Sri Lanka robotics workshop
The Arduino compatible ZUMO 32U4 robot interfaced using ROS during the workshop
Virtusa Corporation (NASDAQ GS: VRTU), a global provider of digital strategy, digital engineering, and IT services and solutions that help clients change and disrupt markets through innovation engineering, sponsored the first in a series of ‘Workshop’ branded events organized by IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Sri Lanka Section Chapter in partnership with IEEE Sri Lanka Section.
Anchored to an alliance that goes back a number of years, Virtusa and the IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Section Chapter moved away from the traditional ‘Meetup’ to host a full day virtual workshop, offering a unique opportunity for participants to engage with robotics and automation experts on a virtual platform. An introduction to Robot Operating System (ROS) – the workshop explored the fundamentals of ROS including robot theory, perception, navigation and manipulation, followed by hands-on sessions on ROS basics, as well as moving and manipulating robots online.
“Moving away from the physical auditorium set-up to a virtual platform, we were extremely thrilled with the participation we saw during the full-day workshop,” commented Dr. Peshala Jayasekara, Senior Lecturer – Department of Electronic and Telecommunication Engineering, University of Moratuwa, lead presenter at the workshop. “Over 120 students, undergraduates, postgraduates, academia and industry stakeholders enthusiastically engaged and invested their day to successfully complete the workshop with an IEEE Technical Sponsorship, one of the highest recognitions in the world.”
The significance of robotics and automation largely depends on the broader collaboration between researchers and end-users of various domains – market potential that Virtusa continues to explore. Servicing multiple industries with intelligent engineering automation among a growing solutions portfolio, Virtusa promotes robotics research and application to generate greater impact by developing solutions to end-user driven challenges.
“Robotics, particularly intelligent automation is rapidly changing the new norm of the IT industry,” Misnad Haque, Director – Technology at Virtusa elaborated. “From automated IT quality assurance to autonomous spaceflight, the opportunities to develop and nurture these bots are limitless. Events like this bring together like-minded humans – and perhaps robots too in the future –facilitating innovation through knowledge-sharing as well as experiential platforms that organizations like Virtusa can provide.”
“Our aim is to host an IEEE Sri Lanka Robotics Workshop each year among other events, so that we can work together with expert resource personnel who are on par with global robotics trends and insights,” stated Prof. Chandima Pathirana, chairman of IEEE RAS Sri Lanka Chapter. “With Virtusa’s continued sponsorship and support, we are proud to say that this session delivered on the promised level of exposure and knowledge on robotics, and we look forward to inspiring the growing group of robotics enthusiasts in Sri Lanka.”
Hyundai hands over ‘The Suites’ and ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life to John Keells Properties
Cinnamon Life Engineering Manager Yasindu Wijayawickrama, JKP COO Inoke Perera, HKN Senior Project Manager J.C. Wook, JKP Head of Sales Nadeem Shums, JKP CFO Ravi Wijewantha, JKP CMO Roshanie Jayasundera-Moraes, JKH Leisure Group President Suresh Rajendra, JKH chairman Krishan Balendra, HKN Project Director T.H Kim, JKH Property Group Sector Head Nayana Mawilmada, JKH Property Group Head of Asset Management Theekshana Jayarathna, HKN Senior Project Manager J.H Kim, HKN Resident Director Seo Seong-Soo
Cinnamon Life, John Keells Properties’ iconic mixed-development project, is ever closer to redefining Colombo’s skyline with the completion of its plush residential tower ‘The Suites’ at Cinnamon Life and the state-of-the-art office tower, ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life.
With its construction now complete, the 196-unit apartment building and the 30 storey office tower were ceremonially handed over to John Keells Holdings (JKH) chairman Krishan Balendra by T.H. Kim – Project Director of the contractor HKN (a joint venture between Hyundai, Keangnam and Nawaloka).
Speaking at the event, Balendra said the completion of ‘The Suites’ and ‘The Offices’ at Cinnamon Life heralds a new beginning for the city of Colombo.
Noting that the apartment buildings and the offices are a key feature in its mammoth integrated development project, the JKH chairman said, once completed, Cinnamon Life will rival anything that the South Asian region has to offer.
“John Keells Holdings first conceptualized Cinnamon Life in 2010. Operating Cinnamon Grand and Cinnamon Lakeside, two large five star hotels, we knew that Colombo didn’t have the facilities to host large regional events. Cinnamon Life with its 800 roomed hotel, multiple banqueting and conferencing spaces and retail space is now positioned to host some of the biggest events in the region, particularly in South Asia,” he said.
“It’s the largest private investment in Sri Lanka to date, and with its completion in the next year, we expect that Cinnamon Life will position Colombo as the leisure, entertainment and retail epicentre of the South Asian region,” he added.
Balendra further added “These are challenging times, not just for us but for the world as a whole. With the right attitude, however, no challenge is insurmountable and as we, together with HKN, have ably demonstrated with the completion of these two towers.”
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