Enter the dragon

Published : 12:00 am  September 18, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  628 views  |  

As the Government bulldozes ahead with plans to establish a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, there are increasing concerns over what effect it will have on local manufacturing industries that will be pitted against the world’s largest factory. Discussions on negative lists are a key point that remains to be resolved, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana admitted to the media, adding that the Government was attempting to promote Sri Lanka’s vibrant apparel industry, which is targeting revenue of US$ 4.1 billion in 2013, for preferential tariffs. The Minister is also upbeat on negotiations focusing on getting a range of items with 100% tax exemptions but declined to... 


Pointless blacklisting?

Published : 12:21 am  September 17, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  730 views  |  

DOES blacklisting of drug companies really make a difference? Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Health has decided to ban the purchase of pharma drugs from four Indian pharmaceutical companies due to quality issues. Companies from Bangladesh will now be approached to ensure that there is no shortage of drugs but whether these are sustainable practices remains to be seen. Another issue is the tens of millions of tax money that has already been put into the bulging pockets of these companies. At best the cash will only be returned after long and arduous lawsuits and if experience is anything to go by, they will remain away from the grasp of the Health Ministry. The Cosmetics, Devices & Drugs Regulatory... 


Polls rule

Published : 12:00 am  September 16, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  270 views  |  

THE final week leading up to elections is always a crucial one. With the countdown official begun, all attention will turn to the north and the opening of a new political chapter – but one fraught with tension and foreboding. Come next Saturday, thousands of voters will make their choice for the next provincial council in three regions. While those in the south have garnered little interest, the same cannot be said of the north. While relatives fight party colleagues for votes in an intense battle to come up trumps for personal riches, the issues in the north are far deeper and have graver consequences. Over 400 violations have been reported to the Elections Commission in this round, showing... 


CHOGM challenges

Published : 12:00 am  September 14, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  590 views  |  

BRITAIN has sided with Sri Lanka in attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) come November and given bragging points to the Government. For many months the arguments went back and forth, but the public confirming of attendance will no doubt cement Sri Lanka’s legitimacy in being elected as host and perhaps even provide a bulwark against a possible third resolution on it in March. But the Government still faces challenges in managing its international image as promoting human rights and reconciliation. This will mostly be in evidence at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which has long been an arena where the Government has pitted itself against the international... 


Provide for prisoners

Published : 3:40 am  September 13, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  1 Comment  |  815 views  |  

OVER 2,000 prisoners were released in Sri Lanka on Thursday to mark World Prisoner’s Day, which one can argue is the easiest way to meet a society’s obligations towards unwanted elements. The severe overcrowding and lack of a comprehensive rehabilitation system continue to be ignored as the rights of prisoners become part of the shadow on overall human rights. Most of those released were serving sentences for minor crimes and prisoners above the age of 70 years had been granted a President’s pardon. This alone shows how crippled the justice system is since it needs presidential pardons every now and then to clean out the prisons, as it were, to make space for new arrivals. Overcrowding... 


Help provinces

Published : 12:00 am  September 12, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  626 views  |  

THE connection between entrepreneurship and development can hardly be overstated. When this link is severed or fails to be vibrant, the result is that economic growth stagnates, even when infrastructure improvement should spur economic revivals. This can be clearly seen in Sri Lanka. Entrepreneurs act as catalytic agents in the process of industrialisation and economic growth. Most economists agree that the rate of economic progress of a nation depends upon its rate of innovation which in turn depends upon the distribution of entrepreneurial talent in the population. Technological progress alone cannot lead to economic development unless technological breakthroughs are put to economic use by... 


Take action!

Published : 12:17 am  September 11, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  487 views  |  

In a shocking report, a UN survey on ‘violence against women,’ a little more than 14.5% or more than one in 10 men in Sri Lanka had admitted to having committed at least one rape. While the authenticity of the report and its coverage can be questioned, the high numbers reported in it resonate with the tragic numbers that have been reported domestically, making abuse a key issue for policymakers. Rape was particularly common within relationships. However, one in 10 men admitted raping a woman who was not their partner. Ten thousand men from six countries took part in the survey international reports said pointing out that this is the first multi-country study to examine how widespread violence... 


A dismal comparison

Published : 12:00 am  September 10, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,128 views  |  

Elections are a time for retrospection. Candidates will vie to show the work they have done while for the people it is more a time to soul search into larger issues such as the fairness and credibility of the democratic process in their respective countries and who deserves to get posts based on their adherence to the law. Over the weekend there were two elections in Australia and the Maldives. While the former will have strong implications for thousands of boat people from Sri Lanka, the latter is a good opportunity to evaluate how Sri Lanka’s much-bragged-about democratic values are being implemented or have even lasted. Australia’s PM-elect Tony Abbott has said his top priorities are to... 


Fresh spotlight in Geneva

Published : 12:00 am  September 9, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  645 views  |  

For the third time this year, Sri Lanka’s human rights record will shift into global focus when the UN’s Human Rights Council takes up post-war progress on investigating alleged rights abuses and delivering a political solution to the country’s ethnic question during its 24th Session that begins today. The Sessions begin just one week after UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay concluded her fact finding mission to Sri Lanka, mandated by the 47 member Council which passed its second resolution in March this year, urging the Government in Colombo to address outstanding issues of accountability with the UN and the ruling administration trading charges on alleged civilian casualties in the phase... 


Caught out on corruption

Published : 12:00 am  September 7, 2013  |  Category: FT View  |  Leave a Comment  |  625 views  |  

SRI LANKA Cricket is synonymous with corruption. Lending even more emphasis to this statement, Sri Lanka Cricket Vice President K. Mathiavanan resigned from his post in a shock move after he was compelled to withdraw from a contest with SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranathunga for the presidency of leading cricket club Colts. The SLC Vice President had told reporters that a “mafia” controls the sport and that they have now moved beyond administrators to now even pressuring players. These statements come with great credibility and sound funeral bells for a cleaning up a beloved game. Ranathunga therefore was appointed President of the Colts Cricket Club (CCC) uncontested, after Mathiavanan who has... 


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