The world’s ‘new’ IFI

Published : 12:53 am  August 26, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  3,412 views  |  
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A brand new International Financial Institution (IFI) has emerged hot on the heels of and from among the debris, flotsam and jetsam of the 2014 Football World Cup in Brazil. The World Cup was won by Germany, reinforcing the reality of German domination of, among other things, the ‘Beautiful Game’ and in other areas, personified by Angela Merkel’s political and economic domination of the ‘real’ power politic in Europe. The leaders of the BRICS nations – Brazil, India, Russia, China and South Africa – who think of themselves as the new emerging powers, have met in the city of Fortaleza, Brazil, at the sixth BRICS annual summit, and agreed on forming the ‘New Development Bank’... 

Ebola, globalisation and Sri Lanka in 2039

Published : 2:19 am  August 19, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  2 Comments  |  3,293 views  |  
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 The Ceylon Chamber’s 175th anniversary celebration At the recent 175th anniversary celebrations of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, its Chairman Suresh Shah provided a ‘fast forward’ , describing how the business community wished Sri Lanka would be in the year 2039, when the Chamber will celebrate its 100th year of existence. In summary the picture the Chairman presented was of a country having a strong globalised and regional presence in the worlds markets. He said: “Sri Lankan brands are on the shelves around the world and components made by our companies are in high demand. Many Sri Lankan firms have a strong regional presence and whilst some have a global footprint.” In essence... 

Be Alert!

Published : 12:01 am  August 12, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  3,101 views  |  
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The mandate of the External Resources Department Fast on the heels of the National Secretariat for NGOs issuing a circular purporting to limit the activities to their legitimate mandate, which has been discussed in this column earlier, the Director General of the Department of External Resources has placed a notice in the newspapers – under the alarmist caption ‘Be Alert…’ and subtitled ‘Notice to all Government officials, civil society organisations and general public’. This advisory on alertness comprises nine paragraphs. The first starts as follows: ‘Due diligence on the utilisation of funds received from foreign funding agencies, INGOs and any other sources to all Government... 

World War I: The Great War centenary

Published : 12:00 am  August 5, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion  |  3 Comments  |  1,626 views  |  
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With 2014 marking the 100th anniversary since the start of World War I and the centenary being commemorated worldwide, the Daily FT reproduces a column by Charitha Ratwatte first published in the paper on 29 January 2013 World War I was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. It involved all of the great powers of the world, as at that time, which were grouped into two opposing alliances: The Allies, based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, France and Russia on the one hand and the Central Powers, originally the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, Hungary and Italy. But, as Austria and Hungary had taken the... 

NGOs and their mandate

Published : 12:01 am  July 29, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  3,971 views  |  
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Space for civil society Lanka’s National Secretariat for Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) issued a statement on 1 July, reportedly stating that: ‘It has been revealed that certain NGOs conduct press conferences, workshops, trainings (sic) for journalists and dissemination of press releases, which is beyond their mandate. We reiterate that all NGO should prevent from such unauthorised activities with immediate effect.’ The newspapers state that this circular has only been issued to NGOs registered with the National Secretariat for NGOs. Two questions arise here. What is an NGO? How is its mandate determined and by whom? The commonly-accepted definition of a NGO is that it is an organisation... 

PM Modi’s paisa

Published : 12:01 am  July 22, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  4,375 views  |  
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India’s 2014/15 Budget Regionally, India’s economy is so big, that what happens in India affects all of us in South Asia. On 10 July, Arun Jaitely, the Minister of Finance in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new Government, presented a new Budget. Expectations were high. The Mumbai stock market on Dalal Street was up by a fifth. A hitherto shaky rupee had steadied and consumers, who had the money, seemed to be on a spending splurge. Jaitely in his pre-Budget comments insisted that fiscal prudence will prevail over ‘mindless spending and populism’. Although analysts felt that the target of shrinking the Budget deficit to 4.1%, which Jaitely inherited from the former Minister of Finance... 

Sunset for State enterprises

Published : 12:05 am  July 15, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  953 views  |  
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The riddle of everlasting life It is a sad phenomenon of our times that enterprises fuelled by taxpayers’ money have a tendency to act contrary to nature and go on forever and ever. It is the nature of all things in this world that change is the only constant. Nothing, no entity whatever, can survive, if it cannot adapt to the changing environment in which it operates. The dinosaur is the prime example. We in Asia know well what happens to political and regal dynasties which set themselves up for eternal rule. The dustbin of history is where they end up, with the occasional plaintive squeak, of a revival, once in a while, just to reinforce the point, that nothing is eternal! The survival... 

Illegal deposit takers: Time for a crackdown?

Published : 12:45 am  July 8, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Opinion  |  5 Comments  |  1,163 views  |  
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Recent newspaper reports carried a story on one more financial pyramid scheme, allegedly called ‘Pandora Advertising’ in Tangalle, allegedly modelled on another in Tissamaharama, ‘Luminous Advertising,’ both in the Hambantota District. A pyramid scheme is one by which an unauthorised deposit taker offers high interest rates to gullible depositors, paying off early depositors, with funds deposited by later depositors and at some point decamps with the money. Charles Ponzi, an Italian American is said to have invented the scheme in New York in 1920. But author Charles Dickens, both in his 1844 novel Martin Chuzzelwit and 1857 novel Little Dorrit, wrote about such schemes. The CBSL it is... 

The World Corruption Cup

Published : 12:00 am  July 1, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,219 views  |  
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The ‘chewy’ beautiful game – Brazil 2014 The world’s attention is focused on the Football World Cup tournament being played out in Brazil. Once in every four years, the media’s attention worldwide is ritually drawn to this international tournament which decides the world champions for the sport. This time however, Uruguay’s Luis ‘Chewy’ Suarez’s bite into Italian Giorgio Chiellini shoulder has distracted the public! Chewy has done this twice before and also used his hands to save a goal in the 2010 World Cup against Ghana and was sin binned! ‘Chewy’ has been suspended from football participation for four months and a nine-match international ban was imposed by FIFA. The... 

Life and debt

Published : 12:01 am  June 24, 2014  |  Category: Charitha Ratwatte, Columnists, Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  2,437 views  |  
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A debt crisis in the north east? Recently in Colombo there was an event at which a research study entitled ‘Life and Debt’ was presented. The study was by the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA), initiated and supported by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC). The purpose of the study was to understand whether the Owner-Driven Housing Assistance (ODHA) scheme, being implemented with donor support in post-conflict north and east of Sri Lanka, increased indebtedness of beneficiary households and the implications of such debt on the level of vulnerability of the households to economic shocks. The study was on a sample of 347 households in the Districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi and... 

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