Making hard choices: The Governor or governance?

Published : 12:50 am  March 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  14 Comments  |  2,286 views  |  
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The controversy on the conduct of the Governor of the Central Bank in connection with the recent bond issue continues to dominate discussions in financial and political circles. Unfortunately, the Government has allowed it to spiral, clouding its overall program in creating a culture of good governance. Equally unfortunate is that the Government has failed to comprehend the fundamental lesson that one does not dig when in a hole, but rather, should find means of getting out of it. Its response undermines its credibility and will inevitably increase cynicism amongst the large group of first time voters who exercised their franchise in January purely for the purpose of facilitating a culture of... 


There is a hard road ahead

Published : 12:45 am  March 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  429 views  |  
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  “Little monk, little monk, you are taking a hard road!” were the warning words to Martin Luther before the first Diet of Worms in 1521, presided over by Emperor Charles V. “Worms” of course is not a reference to the can of worms this Government seems to have opened by investigating the former, but a little town on the Rhine. Martin Luther was not to be deterred by the enormity of the odds against him. His resolution to stand by his convictions made him one of the most influential figures in human history. Then that was another time, another continent and another people. When the presidential candidate Maithripala Sirisena pledged himself to usher in good governance, there were... 


In defence of Arjuna Mahendran

Published : 12:00 am  March 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  10 Comments  |  1,168 views  |  
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‘No one should abandon duties because he sees defects in them. Every action, every activity, is surrounded by defects as a fire is surrounded by smoke’ – The Bhagavad Gita The Gita was meant for the saintly and not the demonic. The 100 days Government has both the saintly and the demonic. This is written in the hope that the President of the Republic would heed the advice of Krishna and resolve the riddle of the two Arjunas. The furious bond issue is not about good governance or bad governance. It is about ugly governance. Money markets need laws, rules and regulations. The integrity, competence and judgment of the Monetary Authority is what is at stake today. The likes of Harsha,... 


Recruiting heads of State institutions

Published : 12:00 am  March 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Hilmy Cader  |  1 Comment  |  441 views  |  
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  Here are some ‘hard’ questions for Ministers (be they blue, green or red) to turn on their inner searchlights! Selecting the head of an institution is a highly scientific HRM process – have ministers developed this competency? Is there a documented job description and person specification for the heads of State institutions? Is that the basis of selection? What assessment methodologies are used to ensure job-fit and organisational-fit? What kind of orientation and job briefing is done when assuming duties? What KPIs are set, who and how are they measured and communicated to the public?  Read More →


Government should stay away from running enterprises

Published : 12:00 am  March 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Dinesh Weerakkody  |  2 Comments  |  254 views  |  
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Many public enterprises continue to make big losses and get away with total impunity. For instance, the two transport enterprises, Railways and SLTB, have made operating losses year after year since 2000 amassing cumulative losses of billions of rupees. If a private company ran them, they would have been rendered bankrupt many years ago     The former administration unlike any other previous regimes made a conscious effort to extend its dominance in many economic spheres. All governments in Sri Lanka in the last 25 years have in many forms tried their hand in running commercial enterprises. Overall, it has been a terrible experience and a costly exercise for the taxpayers. The recent... 


What “game” is Govt. banking on?

Published : 12:00 am  March 20, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, Wijith DeChickera  |  Leave a Comment  |  189 views  |  
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There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight as I write. Not because there’s “ten to make and the match to win” or “ten to make and the last man in”. But because the match – the match that made all the difference to Sri Lanka’s World Cup 2015 hopes – has just been lost… badly. And all across the island tonight (Wednesday, 18 March) there’s a sense of surprise. A sense of shock. A sense that it could have played out – and been played – better. But there you have it. Cricket: a game of glorious uncertainties. At about the same time, in another arena – banking and the CBSL, not cricketing and the SCG – there is also a sense of surprise. A sense of shock. A sense... 


Building credible mechanisms for domestic accountability and transitional justice: Truth-telling initiatives

Published : 12:04 am  March 19, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  542 views  |  
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The last month has seen a spurt of activity and discussions around transitional justice in Sri Lanka. (Transitional justice refers to the sets of approaches that societies undertake to reckon with the past period of violent repression or mass atrocities and typically refers to criminal prosecutions, truth seeking measures including truth commissions, reparations, memorialisation and guarantees of non-recurrence.) Likewise, the coming months will witness efforts by the Sri Lankan Government to devise transitional justice mechanisms with input from the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur on Transitional Justice Pablo de Grieff. Further, High Commissioner Zeidis expected... 


1815 and 2015

Published : 12:05 am  March 18, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  1 Comment  |  781 views  |  
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One must always say what one sees. But especially – and this is the hard part – one must always see what one sees – Charles Péguyi Paranoids live in their own world, uncluttered by facts and unrestrained by reality. In the paranoid’s world nothing is impossible. Robert H. Welch Jr, retired-candy manufacturer-turned-politician, believed that John Foster Dulles and Dwight Eisenhower were dedicated communist agentsii. His psycho-ideological heirs accuse President Obama of being a closet-Muslim and the Affordable Health Care Act of enabling the mass-euthanising of the aged. In Sri Lanka diehard Rajapaksa-supporters see 2015 as 1815. In their paranoid eyes, what happened on 8 January was... 


It is the way we look at

Published : 12:00 am  March 18, 2015  |  Category: Columnists  |  Leave a Comment  |  292 views  |  
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The Q Drum     In the last few years, having worked closely with inventors, I gained some insights into their approach and discovered many lessons we can learn from them as business executives. They observe what happens just the way artists do. All of us spend at least a few minutes looking at our faces every day. Yet only a very few can draw our own faces. Why? Because there is a difference in the way we observe and the way artistes observe. In the past there had been travel documents describing the features of the face in a manner that can help the border security to recognise a person by following these observations. Even now face recognition technology uses certain algorithms to... 


Prof. Lalith Samarakoon: As US interest rates rise, no space for Sri Lanka to wait and see

Published : 1:07 am  March 16, 2015  |  Category: Columnists, W. A. Wijewardena  |  2 Comments  |  6,376 views  |  
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Two contrasting developments associated with USA and EU Two contrasting developments are now taking place in the global monetary arrangements. On one side, US Federal Reserve, known as the Fed, which had introduced an unconventional monetary stimulus called quantitative easing or QE from around end-2008 is planning to gradually withdraw it from June 2015. On the other side, European Central Bank or ECB, in desperation of the failure to arrest slow economic growth and rising unemployment, has introduced QE in the Euro area. These two regions account for nearly a half of the global output and are well connected to each other as well as to the rest of the world through trade, finance and exchange... 


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