From The Leader Newspaper:
Bug is productivity...
and not wages is the biggest constraint in developing the plantation industry,
a manager said.
Govindasamy, Managing Director Watawala Plantations PLC, speaking at a seminar
in Colombo on Wednesday said that while the Indian tea plucker on average
plucks 30-35 kilos of green leaf daily, his counterpart in Sri Lanka was
plucking half of that, some 13-14 kg. of leaf daily.
was despite an incentive scheme in operation, of an additional payment of Rs.
10 a kg. on offer, for every kg. plucked, after the benchmark of 16 kg. had
India the benchmark is much higher at some 25 kg.," said Govindasamy. And
the incentive payment is much lower, at some Indian Rs. 1.25 for every
additional kg. plucked after meeting that milestone, he said.
blamed this state of affairs to the politicization of the industry.
can one expect when a Cabinet Minister is also the leader of a trade
union?" he asked at this seminar organised by the MBA Alumni of Colombo
are guaranteed 300 days wages even if they don't work eight hours daily, and
collective agreements are not linked to productivity," said Govindasamy.
also warned that with oil revenues falling, the country's major tea exports
markets, namely the CIS states and the Middle East stand the risk of being
affected. Govindasamy however said that their Zesta brand was the market leader
in the island with a 33% stake, though the same did not hold true as regards to
their global operations. Sri Lankans consume 20 million kg. of tea annually, he
next venture will be selling Watawala kiri to the local market. "We have a
total of 100 animals, including milch cows for this purpose," said
Protectionism way forward
biscuit manufacturer advocated protectionism after getting his fingers burnt
when venturing out into India.
P. Wickramasingha, Chairman Ceylon Biscuits Ltd. (CBL) recalling his experience
in the Indian market at a seminar in Colombo on Wednesday said that recently
the Indian government did away with excise levies in relation to locally
manufactured biscuits being retailed at Indian Rs. 100 or less, thereby
effectively making exports from companies such as theirs' which are subject to all
levies, being made uncompetitive.
"earlier" Indian fiasco was the purchase of a biscuit company in
India deemed illegal by the Indian Supreme Court (ISC), because the liquidator
involved in this case was a provincial liquidator and not an official liquidator.
blunders, Munchee suffers," said Wickramasingha.
the incident, he said that CBL bought this company on a court auction. It
outbidded Brittania, ITC and a Saudi company in this tender. Munchees then ran
this company for four years.
the former owner appealed to the ISC and won this case on the aforesaid
technicality, Wickramasingha said. "We were forcefully evicted from
India," he said.
it had happened to a Singaporean or European company their chambers would have
had taken up the issue and would have had given adverse publicity to foreign
direct investment," Wickramasingha alleged.
had called for fresh tenders, with the local Central Bank saying that they
cannot allow for the release of foreign exchange for the new tender.
also alleged that all countries, including the U.S.A. practise
protectionism. This seminar was organised by the MBA Alumni of Colombo
will open a new department store in Singapore later this month, while at the same
time conducting negotiations to have its products up for sale in 60 outlets
each, located in India and the UK respectively.
will also open a franchise outlet in Maldives.
principal shareholder Ms. Otara Gunewardene told a seminar in Colombo on
Wednesday that despite the recession, she has been able to clinch those
however said that the Singapore venture had been a long term plan, dating back
to a year ago, with two floors in a building having being booked in this
despite the recession people are still shopping, and Odel's advantage is that
it offers quality clothing at a cheaper price," said Gunewardene. She
however said that her target market is the upper and upper middle classes.
admitted that sales in the local market were affected due to inflation.
"We are looking to restructure our pricing in the local market," she
said. "But it's because we are stable in the local market that we are
venturing overseas," said Gunewardene.
seminar was organised by the MBA Alumni of Colombo University.