Feb 282014
Harsha demands for EPF’s audited accounts again
United National Party Parliamentarian and economist, Dr.Harsha de Silva yesterday once again raised the issue of non-submission of audited accounts of Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) —the largest superannuation fund controlled by the Central Bank—to the Parliament for the year 2011.

“This is a serious lapse in governance and transparency particularly given the numerous allegations of fraud connected to the EPF and the stock market mafia,” de Silva said in a statement.

The UNP first raised this issue in early 2012 and followed up during the year and then throughout 2013 both inside and out of Parliament.

“On my continued insistence as a member of the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) the EPF was summoned to Parliament in early February 2013 for the first time in six years to examine its accounts up to 2010.

However, the committee was abruptly adjourned before the substantial issues of fraud were taken up,” he noted.

MP de Silva expressed his disappointment over the non-returning of EPF to complete the COPA investigation for over one year notwithstanding numerous reminders submitted to the COPA office chaired by a Cabinet minister.

“In true democracies parliamentary committees are not chaired by cabinet ministers but by the opposition; and even in Sri Lanka that was the practice under the previous UNP government.

On behalf of the millions of employees of the private sector the UNP demands that the EPF urgently submit its accounts for 2011 as well as for 2012 and take necessary steps to have the 2013 accounts submitted on time,” he noted.

The parliamentarian also demanded to re-summon the abruptly adjourned investigation without further delay.

May 012013
UNP threaten to topple Govt.
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[DailyMirror, Wednesday, 1 May 2013 12:35 No Comment]

The United National Party (UNP) today announced that it had begun a battle to topple this government.

“We have given repeated warnings to the government over and over again and urged for relief for the people but we will not do it again and therefore will topple the government as soon as possible,” Leader of Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe said at a May Day meeting at the UNP Head quarters, Siri Kotha today.

He therefore appealed to the several sectors including the clergy and the civil society to take to the streets.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said the EPF funds have reached zero level as a result of utilising it for unwanted purposes and by investing it in ventures which are far from being economically viable.

He said the government had only succeeded in giving relief to the companies which are newly listed in the Colombo stock exchange. He was referring to decision made by the government to exempt these companies from corporate taxes at the last year’s budget.(YP and LSP)

Pix by Kithsiri De Mel

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Apr 262013
Lighthouse Hotel revenue falls 5% to Rs. 203 mn
Revenue of Lighthouse Hotel PLC (LHL) fell 5 percent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs. 203.1 million during the quarter ended March 31, 2013 resulting in a 57.1 million net profit as against Rs. 80.3 million during the corresponding period of the previous year, interim financials released to the stock exchange showed.

A further 16 percent YoY increase in cost of sales to Rs. 39.4 million during the period under review also contributed significantly to the decline in gross profits of the hotel.

Marketing as well as administrative expenses of LHL increased from Rs. 7 million during the previous year’s final quarter to Rs. 9.1 million and to Rs. 95.5 million during the period under review from Rs. 91 million during the corresponding period of 2012 respectively.

Furthermore, during the period in question, finance income fell 56 percent YoY to Rs. 1.3 million.

Earnings per Share (EPS) for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 stood at Rs. 1.24 as against Rs. 1.75 during the previous year.

Meanwhile for the year ended March 31, 2013 LHL posted a net profit of Rs. 112.1 million, a marginal YoY increase of 1 percent.

The growth in bottom line was largely aided by a substantial growth in revenue to Rs. 614.7 million during the year under review from Rs. 539.1 million in 2012. EPS during the year under review stood at Rs. 2.44 in comparison to Rs. 2.42 during the previous year.

As at March 31, 2013 Jetwing Hotel Management Services (Pvt) Ltd. were the largest shareholder of the hotel with a stake of 36 percent while the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was the third largest. EPF held a stake of 11 percent in the hotel as at March 31, 2013.

According to Jetwing Hotels Group Chairman Hiran Cooray, the group is currently negotiating a Rs. 1.2 billion private placement.

The proceeds of the private placement is to be utilized to partially fund the construction of four hotel projects, namely Jetwing Yala, Jetwing Colombo, Jetwing Dambulla and Jetwing Reef Uppuveli on the East Coast.

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