Nearly US$ 79 million earned from Duty Free Shops at KIA

The Bonds Division of the Customs Department had a revenue collection of Rs. 7.3 billion in 2009. A sum of US$ 56,978,451 was earned from the duty free shops at the arrivals lounge of the Katunayake International Airport (KIA) and US$ 22,570,509 from the departure lounge with total revenue earned being US$ 78,548,960. The Bonds Investigation Unit (BIU) recovered a total of Rs. 54,534,000 last year.

The Investor Facilitation Centre (INFAC) earned revenue of Rs. 10,664,211,070 from Board of Investment (BOI) enterprises with duty recovered from cancellation of agreements being Rs. 12,766,307.

The Customs at the KIA had a revenue collection of Rs. 452,853,349 last year, while Rs. 84,316,750 was collected mostly from currency cases (Rs. 30,315,241) and gold jewellery cases which was Rs. 28,795,405.

Also during the year (2009), the Customs Narcotics Control Unit (NCU) made two noteworthy detections resulting in the seizure of 2kg 798 grams of heroin concealed in potatoes and continued to maintain its surveillance on all flights arriving from source countries and suspected airports. The NCU conducted joint operations with the Police Narcotics Bureau at KIA, Air Cargo, LCL Warehouses and Container yards.

Since 1984, the NCU has seized 385.723 kg of heroin with the largest seizure of 62.607 kg being in 1990. Among the other narcotics that have been seized since 1984 was hashish (88.904 kg), opium (95.98 kg), cannabis 2.45 kg), cocaine (9.018 kg) and hashish oil (0.0028) in 1994.

The Excise (Special Provisions) division collected Rs. 47,996.88 million during last year (2009) mainly from cigarettes (Rs. 37,670.16 million) and petroleum (Rs. 7,854.18) and also recovering Rs. 600,000 from 20 Court cases.


Thai Hotel Chains eye Sri Lanka’s tourist industry

The rapidly growing Sri Lankan tourist industry has become a focal point for foreign hoteliers to invest in Sri Lanka. Thailand’s two main hotel chains are the new prospective investors to invest in the Sri Lankan hotel industry.

These Thai hotel chains include Minor International, popularly known as MINT and Centara Hotels and Resorts.

MINT is to invest Thai Bhat 10 billion to open 42 hotels and food outlets in domestic and internationals including Sri Lanka, while Centara Hotels and Resorts, plan to form a joint venture with one of the biggest European tour and airline operators in a strategic move to expand the group’s mid-range hotels in Asia.

Other countries that include in MINT chain, Anantara Sanya Resort and Spa’s expansions plan are China, India and U.A.E.

The Centara Hotels and Resort’s expansion plan, other than Sri Lanka, include establishments of hotels and resorts in Maldives, Egypt, India, the Philippines Vietnam., Bahrain, Malaysia and Indonesia. (niz)


Sri Lanka Port Handles Record Four Million Containers

Colombo port volumes hit a new record of four million containers Tuesday supported by strong growth in both transshipment and import-export cargo, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said in a statement.

The number of twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of containers handled by the port is up 20 percent so far this year from a year ago.
It is also up 11 percent compared with the total of 3.68 million TEUs done in 2008, the highest-ever performance by the port before recession hit global trade.

SLPA managing director Nihal Keppetipola said efficiency improvements and removal of security restrictions with the end of a war had helped increase cargo volumes and reinforce Colombo’s status as south Asia’s hub port.

The number of import-export containers handed by Colombo is up 25 percent this year compared with last year while transshipment cargo has increased by 18 percent, the SLPA said.

The state-run Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) handling its highest-ever monthly volume of 201,217 TEUs in August this year.

Keppetipola said a new computerised terminal operating system at the JCT costing 800 million rupees helped integrate all terminal operation and plan and optimize rapid movement of containers between the gate and the quay.

This reduced dwell times for containers and turnaround times for vessels, Keppetipola said.

A satellite-based communication system was also added to monitor container stacking

“Last year we reopened the northern entrance, which had been closed for ten years due to security reasons, to facilitate smoother maritime transportation and to increase productivity in the port,: he said.

“This move put an end to the navigation restrictions that have caused congestion at the port causing delays in cargo handling and turn-around times of vessels.”

Sri Lanka’s 30-year ethnic war ended in May 2009, resulting in the withdrawal of war risk insurance surcharges and accelerating economic growth.
The JCT has handled 2.1 million TEUs this year with the remaining 1.9 million TEUs handled by the privately-owned South Asia Gateway Terminals in which Sri Lankan conglomerate John Keells Holdings has a 42 percent stake.


SLT Group Profit Rs 3.73 b upto September

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) during the first nine months of 2010 has recorded a profit before tax (PBT) of Rs 3.73 billion and a Group profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 2.40 billion with YoY growth rates of 105 percent and 108 percent respectively.

A profit before tax of Rs 1.58 billion has been recorded for the third Quarter which is an exceptional growth compared to PBT of Rs 5 million recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year.

Recorded Group PAT for the third quarter is Rs 1.03 billion, a Year on Year (YoY) growth of 643 percent from a loss of Rs 189 million.

After normalization for non recurring expenses and Telecommunication Development Charge (TDC) refunds, the Group recorded a PBT of Rs 4.49 billion for the nine months which is an increase of 95 percent YoY.

The Group reported revenue of Rs 37.34 billion for the nine months and Rs 12.77 billion for the third quarter, recording a growth of 4 percent YoY for both periods.