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Aliraja to buy state-owned shares in Telecom & Lanka Hospitals!



It was reported that Lycamobile owner Subaskaran Aliraja, who has become the ultimate owner of three radio and television channels in Sri Lanka, has offered to buy state-owned shares in Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and Lanka Hospital PLC.

The Cabinet approved to sell the shares owned by the state in these two companies.

In a notification to the Colombo Stock Exchange, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC and Lanka Hospital PLC said that the sale of these shares will take place as recommended by the State Enterprise Reform Unit established under the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policy.

The Treasury holds 49.50% of the issued share capital of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC.

Meanwhile, 51.34% of the share capital of Lanka Hospital PLC is held by the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation on behalf of the State.

How Aliraja owned TV & Radio channels!

Aliraja is currently the owner of EAP Broadcasting Networks which operates two television channels including Swarnavahini and 3 radio channels. 

He also owns Sky Media Networks that operates two TV channels including Sitha TV and 3 Radio channels as well as Max Broadcasting Networks which operates one TV channel and radio channel each.

Although arrangements have been made to show this as a local investment, it is said that this is completely a foreign investment.

However, economists are of the opinion that Aliraja, who has made huge investments in the Indian film industry, taking over these media networks and telecom and communication networks will have a powerful impact on Sri Lanka’s national security and economy.

Swarnavahini deal

The media earlier reported how he invested money in Swarnavahini still remains a secret, and how he had credited the funds from an account which is not under his name to make the investment.

The State Intelligence Service informed the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the Ministry of Mass Media that several directors of the foreign company, which bought shares of the EAP Group of Companies including the ‘Swarnavahini’ media network which was facing a financial crisis, had maintained close connections with the LTTE.

The Ministry of Defence has informed the TRC and the Ministry of Mass Media on November 15, 2019 through letter number MOD / TEC / 01 / MGMR Network / 2019 (04).

A portion of the assets of EAP Group of Companies had been purchased for Ben Holdings Pvt Ltd.

How Subaskaran violated Companies Act

Today, this company has been able to indirectly obtain 60% ownership of Swarnavahini by violating the laws and regulations of Sri Lanka.

This is because Ben Holdings Private Company has bought 40% of shares while an individual by the name Alex Lowell has bought the remaining 20% of shares.

Meanwhile, 40% of the shares owned by Swarnamahal, EAP Films and other companies belonging to the EAP Business Group are owned by a Singaporean company, Blue Summit Capital.

It was revealed that three members of Ben Holdings Pvt. Ltd had direct links with the LTTE when the company was attempting to buy MGMR Networks owned by MGM Networks Pvt. Ltd.

Before buying a TV channel, the directors of the company that was making the purchase must obtain a clearance certificate from the Defence Ministry. Accordingly, this information was revealed when they were trying to get the relevant clearance certificate.

The directors were not required to obtain clearance certificates from the Defence Ministry when buying Swarnavahini since the license of the TV station was old.

It was revealed that  Subaskaran Aliraja, who was born in Mullaitivu, Sri Lanka and later moved to France and became a millionaire, has funded all parties including Ben Holdings Pvt. Ltd, Blue Summit Capital and Alex Lowell. 

He is said to be a strong financial supporter of the British Conservative Party and former Prime Minister John Major.


SriLankan doubles Colombo – Mumbai daily flights




SriLankan Airlines has introduced double daily flights between Colombo and Mumbai, multiplying the convenience for passengers travelling to and from India’s financial and entertainment capital, the Sri Lanka’s national carrier announced.

In a statement, SriLankan Airlines said the new double daily service to Mumbai will not only give a 50 per cent boost to SriLankan’s capacity on its Mumbai route, but will also strengthen the airline’s already vast network in India.

Flights UL 142 and UL 144 will depart daily from Mumbai to Colombo at 3:10hrs and 20:45hrs and flights UL 141 and UL 143 from Colombo to Mumbai will depart at 23:45hrs and 17:10hrs, respectively, according to SriLankan Airlines.

Thus, passengers travelling out of Mumbai on SriLankan Airlines will now have the advantage of more flight options to Colombo and convenient connections via Colombo to popular destinations in the Far East, Europe and Australia including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Melbourne and Sydney.

Meanwhile, the Head of Worldwide Sales and Distribution of SriLankan Airlines Dimuthu Tennakoon stated: “The Indian market has been incredibly important to SriLankan Airlines since the get-go, and with India fast becoming one of the world’s largest outbound travel markets, we are only happy to expand our operations in one of India’s most celebrated cities and make travel between Mumbai and Colombo extra seamless. Our frequency increase comes on the heels of Sri Lanka announcing free visa for Indian visitors and we hope that these positive developments will encourage more travellers from Mumbai to stop by Sri Lanka.”

India is the only country with nine cities featured in SriLankan Airlines’ network. This includes Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Trivandrum, Chennai, Trichy and Madurai in addition to Mumbai, to which altogether SriLankan operates close to 100 flights every week.

Given the geographic and cultural proximity of the two countries, most Indians are likely to find a welcoming familiarity in Sri Lanka not found elsewhere, and SriLankan Airlines is the best bet for Indians who want to experience the best of both worlds onboard, it added.

For more information in this regard and bookings you can visit the official website of SriLankan Airlines through

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Removal of VAT exemptions, doesn’t affect UBER & PickME fares – CoPF




The Committee on Public Finance (CoPF) has taken into consideration the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill which aims to remove VAT exemptions on certain items and includes provisions to discontinue the Simplified VAT (SVAT) system.

An official representing the Ministry of Finance stated that agricultural machinery and other equipment including chemical fertilizer which was listed as exempted previously will be VAT liable under the said Bill.  Adding to the said, officials stated that agricultural seeds, agricultural plants, shrimp feed inclusive of prawn feed and animal feed excluding poultry feed will however be exempted from VAT.

Thus, the Committee questioned the rationale behind including VAT for agricultural items which will impact the domestic agricultural and food industry. The aforesaid was taken up for discussion at the Committee on Public Finance held recently (28) in Parliament, Chaired by Dr. Harsha de Silva when the Committee met to consider the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, The Finance Bill to amend the Finance Act, No. 35 of 2018 and the Finance Act, No. 12 of 2012 and the Imports and Exports Control Act pertaining to the Gazette No. 2353/16.

Furthermore, dairy products such as liquid milk and eggs will also be liable for the VAT. However, the Ministry of Finance stated that wheat, wheat flour or powdered milk, pharmaceutical products, drugs will be exempted. The Committee questioning the officials inquired why food products made out of grains cultivated in Sri Lanka, identified as high protein and high energy agro foods falling in the category of “Posha” is subjected to VAT in a context where Child malnourishment is considered to be on the rise.

The Committee questioned the officials as to why ambulances and medical equipment are being subjected to VAT. After thoroughly examining the Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, the Committee has granted approval, contingent upon the Ministry of Finance incorporating the amendments proposed by the Committee on Public Finance, provided they are in accord. Nevertheless, the Committee has urged the officials present to reevaluate VAT exemptions for medical equipment, ambulances, fertilizer, and food products derived from grains classified as high-protein agro foods and agricultural items.

No impact for UBER and PickME
The Committee of Public Finance further revealed that the elimination of VAT exemptions will not impact the fares of UBER and PickME. Dr. Harsha de Silva, the Committee Chair, emphasized that as UBER and PickME have included VAT since their inception, contrary to other beliefs, thus the proposed VAT changes will only result in a 3% rise without significantly affecting the ultimate fare that customers are required to pay.

The Committee on Public Finance also took into consideration the Finance Bill to amend the Finance Act, No. 35 of 2018 and the Finance Act, No. 12 of 2012 which propose provisions to release motor vehicles imported into Sri Lanka which were not cleared from customs due to import restrictions or non-payment of taxes. However, given the matters arising from importing and opening LCs post the suspension of motor vehicle imports by Gazette Extraordinary No. 2176/19 dated May 22, 2020, under the Import and Export Control Act, the Committee Chair instructed the Ministry of Finance to submit a report on the provisions to release 119 imported vehicles yet to be cleared from customs. The Committee thus decided to reconsider the said from thereon.

Moreover, following the consideration of the Imports and Exports Control Act pertaining to the Gazette No. 2353/16, the Committee approved the said.

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Pact signed for first cable car project in SL




Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment states that an agreement was signed with Amber Adventure for a project that would be Sri Lanka’s first cable car experience.

The U$ 4.5 million investment, will be in collaboration with Ambuluwawa Bio Diversity Center while and technical and product expertise will be from China Machine-Building International Corporation.

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