M.R., M.S., and Mr./Ms. Machiavelli?

Published : 12:00 am  March 27, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Wijith DeChickera  |  Leave a Comment  |  562 views  |  
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  There are at least three ways to view the sudden swell in the numbers of government ministers earlier this week. The first is a charitable one – that “these things happen” and it’s all to be expected (and even accepted) as par for the course in island politics. The second is a cynical one – suggesting that “there’s more to this than meets the eye”, hinting at hidden agendas and vested interests, necessitating some pragmatic horse-trading and wheeler-dealing. The third is a critically subversive one – “who knows what” – knowing but not really understanding; and winking with a nod at the potentially paradigm-shifting game-changing going on behind the scenes, in front... 

Creating 1 m new jobs

Published : 12:00 am  March 27, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Dinesh Weerakkody  |  1 Comment  |  444 views  |  
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For a start, we need to focus our education and training investment primarily to deliver the skills to leverage FDI and regional manpower opportunities     The new Government of President Sirisena in its 100-day program talks of creating a strategy to overcome the unemployment problem that affects our young people by putting in place a million jobs program for local and foreign employment and for self-employment. One option would certainly be to export more labour oversees. Today, Sri Lanka’s total remittance from abroad is in excess of $ 6 billion. Many of our young unskilled people want to go oversees to mainly improve their earning capacity. Therefore, if we are serious about... 

UNP is united and stronger than ever: Marikkar

Published : 12:00 am  March 27, 2015  |  Category: Chamitha Kuruppu, Columnists  |  4 Comments  |  601 views  |  
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Young Western Provincial Councillor and UNP organiser for Kolonnawa upbeat of party’s prospects in upcoming general election but insists fulfilling of pledges made to people is key Western Provincial Councillor and UNP Organiser for the Kolonnawa electorate S.M. Marikkar who polled highest votes at the last Provincial Council poll is upbeat of party’s prospects in the upcoming General Election. However he warned that expeditious fulfilment of the pledges made to people in the run up to 8 January Presidential election is key. In a no holds barred interview with the Daily FT, Marikkar makes a critical assessment of the status of national politics so far. Following are excerpts of an interview... 

I really am unique! Look after me with care!

Published : 12:57 am  March 26, 2015  |  Category: Ajith de Alwis, Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  664 views  |  
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It is indeed nice of United Nations to mark a day – 22 March – to honour me for the role that I play in supporting life and indeed I feel thrilled when many nations, international agencies and institutes spend quite a time celebrating and appreciating me and requesting others to really take care of me. I feel touched when kids across the world show their appreciations through essays, posters and dramas. I however feel saddened after a few days this show of gratitude is lost and many a wasteful habit resurfaces. I cannot understand why the human mind is so fickle and why so many good words do not end in good deeds. Yet I pledge to myself that I will continue to serve in the best way I can. However,... 

Corruption corrodes the whole economy

Published : 12:40 am  March 25, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  3 Comments  |  556 views  |  
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Will the President’s commission be the death of corruption? When corruption is rampant, the fear of demands for bribes will reduce local investment and severely impact foreign investment. To foster investment and growth, corruption must be eliminated       President Maithripala Sirisena has sent a very strong signal that he will act against corruption The President has heard There was a plethora of stories of corruption during the election campaign. The public were titillated by the prospect of big names being dragged through the courts to jail. When there were no convictions in sight, all eyes turned towards the President. His wings had not been clipped as yet, and... 

The bond issue controversy – An analysis

Published : 12:00 am  March 25, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  9 Comments  |  2,037 views  |  
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This Treasury bond episode highlights the need for strengthening the capacity of the Central Bank. It also demonstrates the need for a thorough review of laws and regulations governing the financial sector with the goal of creating a new regulatory framework that suits the 21st century     By Sam Samarasinghe and Dushyantha Mendis The issue of Government bonds on 27 February has raised a huge controversy, involving questions as to the competence of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL), and also allegations of insider dealing. The Government has been slow to respond to the public outrage the controversy has evoked. This article tries to explain... 

Resolving the muddied muddle of Bonds

Published : 12:00 am  March 25, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  458 views  |  
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People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices – Adam Smith, ‘Wealth of Nations’       Things have not changed much since Adam Smith wrote the ‘Wealth of Nations’. We have a scandal tainted past. We cannot erase it. But we can put it right. Therefore we should insist that Ranil Wickremesinghe take responsibility for the scandal that has undermined the credibility of the reform agenda of President Maithripala Sirisena. Corruption in central banks is nothing new. It has happened in our Central Bank and in other central banks. Experts and... 

Procurement Commission in the 19th Amendment: Will it slow Government to a crawl?

Published : 12:04 am  March 24, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  2 Comments  |  567 views  |  
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Many believe that procurement of goods and services by Government is pervaded by corruption. One proposed remedy is to regulate it through a Constitutional body known as the National Procurement Commission (NPC). Though a relatively uninteresting topic in the context of the high-profile changes included in the 19th Amendment, it could have significant impact on the working of Government and deserves attention.                       The proposed remedy The NPC is to have five members, of whom three should have experience in procurement, accountancy, law or public administration. The appointment and removal procedures involve the Constitutional... 

A primer on Treasury Bonds

Published : 12:01 am  March 24, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Lalith Samarakoon  |  2 Comments  |  1,445 views  |  
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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka held a 30-year Treasury bond auction on 27 February 2015. It offered to sell bonds with a face value of Rs. 1 billion carrying an annual interest rate of 12.5%. It received bids for about Rs. 20 billion and accepted about Rs. 10 billion. The auction accepted yields up to 12.50%. The average yield accepted at the auction was 11.73%. The above auction has become a subject of extensive public debate. The purpose of this article is to discuss the basics of government securities to help the public understand the economic meaning of the various concepts, terms and numbers associated with a bond auction. The information about this particular auction will be used for illustrative... 

From bomb disaster to bond disaster: How to restore the lost reputation of the Central Bank

Published : 12:10 am  March 23, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  7 Comments  |  5,761 views  |  
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The Central Bank was left severely damaged after being struck by the deadly terrorist bombing of 1996     Central Bank being hit by two disasters In a recent conversation, a top central bank officer mentioned to this writer, partly in jest and partly with seriousness, that the Central Bank had to face two disasters in the recent past. One was the ‘bomb explosion’ in front of the Central Bank building in early 1996. The other was the ‘bond explosion’ within the Central Bank building in early 2015. The bomb explosion had brought the bank’s operations to a complete halt, posing a serious threat to its reputation. The bond explosion had damaged the bank in the reverse order:... 

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