Reality behind potential output: A response

Published : 12:00 am  March 27, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  1,305 views  |  

By Practical Economist I am pleased that W.A. Wijewardena has welcomed my response to his article. Whilst thanking him for his comments, I also wish to offer a few additional thoughts so that your readers could benefit even more through this interesting debate. Wijewardena argues that the accelerated Mahaweli development program in the late 1970s and early 1980s overheated the economy, resulting in very high inflation, and that later, some damage control measures by the Central Bank stabilised the economy. On that basis, he concludes that the current rapid infrastructure development could also lead to such unfavourable developments. Here, there are two arguments that arise from his conclusion.... 


Term limits and competent directors

Published : 12:00 am  March 27, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  405 views  |  

As usual your paper remains the best business paper to read every morning. I like to refer to an interview with the Chairman of Commercial Bank in the Daily FT of 26 March. In the interview in response to a question on term limits and dearth of directors, Dinesh Weerakkody had this to say: Q: Finally, in terms of the banking act direction 11 you will be completing your nine-year term in July. How practical is this given the shortage of competent and the need for independent bank directors? A: This is good practice and in line with some of other good governance codes applicable in many developed markets. Term limits provide a painless way for people to retire gracefully and automatically. Admittedly,... 


“Britain does not want Sri Lanka to fail”

Published : 12:01 am  March 26, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  715 views  |  

Britain’s Envoy to Colombo John Rankin is a man accustomed to operating in tight situations. He was in East Germany negotiating on behalf of the British Government when the Berlin Wall came down in October 1989. A decade later he arrived as British Deputy Head of Mission in Northern Ireland soon after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998. When the Scotsman arrived in Colombo to head the UK’s Embassy here in February 2011 Sri Lanka was also at a unique crossroads of history. It had been nearly two years since the war ended and one year later, the UK would join several other countries in calling the Sri Lankan the ethnic conflict and its deteriorating human rights record.... 


UN council steps in where Sri Lanka has failed to act

Published : 12:01 am  March 26, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  617 views  |  

By Donald Camp McClatchy-Tribune News Service: There was a time, not so long ago, when Sri Lanka was known for the quality of its democracy. In 1975, when I was a Foreign Service officer at the US Embassy there, the country was in economic straits but proud of its international reputation for an independent political culture, a feisty press, and a remarkably high standard of education and social services. There were tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamils, but there was also a history of cooperation and respect amid Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious diversity. Hindu shrines thrived within the country’s most sacred Buddhist temples. Christians and Muslims played a prominent political role.... 


“I REFUSE to be a RACIST” Rotaract campaign attempts to create “A World without Hate”

Published : 12:00 am  March 22, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,034 views  |  

As a timely attempt to both mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racism and to create a global platform for the youth of the world to stand up against racism, the Rotaract Club of Colombo Millennium City launched the “Anti-Racism” online campaign. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March. On that day, in 1960, police opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration in South Africa, against Apartheid pass laws. Proclaiming the day in 1966, the United Nations General Assembly called on the international community to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. However the declaration... 


Statement condemning arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders, Ruki Fernando, Fr. Praveen Mahesan, victims and their families

Published : 12:00 am  March 22, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  1,583 views  |  

Head; Statement condemning arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders, Ruki Fernando, Fr. Praveen Mahesan, victims and their families We, the undersigned welcome the release of prominent Sri Lankan Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Ruki Fernando and Fr. Praveen Mahesan on 19 March 2014. We however strongly condemn their arbitrary arrest and detention by the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in Kilinochchi (Northern Province) on 16 March 2014. We also note, that this release was an exception to the general pattern, and was only made possible by sustained pressure and efforts by a wide range of individuals, organisations and governments advocating with the Sri Lankan Government to... 


Today is World Water Day – Drained out or new potential?: Hydropower and Sri Lanka’s energy challenge

Published : 12:00 am  March 22, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  813 views  |  

By Chatura Rodrigo and Athula Senaratne Water and energy are linked with an eternal bond. Many countries blessed with rivers and waterfalls have harnessed their inherent kinetic energy through hydro-electricity in fulfilling their energy needs. Sri Lanka is one such country. But the rising demand for electricity and the limited generation potential of existing hydro plants have reduced the relative contribution of hydro power in the country’s electricity generation. As a solution to this, Sri Lanka has taken a policy decision to move towards thermal and coal for electricity generation. However, this is leading to issues such as rising electricity prices and negative environmental externalities.... 


Water infographic poster for schoolchildren launched for World Water Day

Published : 12:00 am  March 22, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  Leave a Comment  |  624 views  |  

The Colombo- based International Water Management Institute (IWMI), launched an infographic poster for schoolchildren to mark World Water Day 2014. The poster (23.5cm x 30 cm) is a colourful illustration of some of the water related issues facing Sri Lanka. It is available free of charge to all schoolchildren who visit Keells outlets island-wide today and throughout the week. You can also download it from the IWMI website: www.iwmi.org/srilanka. Nihara Jayatilleke, aged 12 was one of the first children to receive a copy.  “I love this poster,” she said. “It tells us a lot about water facts in an interesting way that is easy to remember.” “World Water Day is an annual event celebrated... 


Reliability of GDP and per capita income numbers in Sri Lanka

Published : 12:00 am  March 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  2,280 views  |  

By Raja B.M. Korale There has been an interesting exchange between the columnist at Daily FT, W.A. Wijewardena (WAW), and the Director of Statistics of the Central Bank (DSCBSL) on the differences between the Per Capita Income (PCI) estimated from national accounts, and PCI calculated from household income and expenditure surveys. Such interactions are useful to facilitate the public to understand the crucial issues involved in the estimation of the size of the economy through national accounts and welfare levels of people ascertained from household surveys. This note was prepared not in any way to dilute the issue that is raised in the paper prepared by WAW as to whether the current GDP aggregates... 


Potential output: The reality behind the fiction

Published : 12:00 am  March 20, 2014  |  Category: Opinion  |  1 Comment  |  490 views  |  

In his customary article in the Daily FT on Monday, 17 March 2014, W.A. Wijewardena blames politicians for trying to achieve higher and higher growth. He sees such attempts as “impatience”. I am surprised to hear such an argument from someone like Mr. Wijewardena who is regarded by some as a reputed economist.  Mr. Wijewardena should know that when it comes to individual economic ambitions, any rational economic agent’s intention is to grow as fast as possible. This could be done in two ways. First, try to achieve the maximum growth within his or her capacity. Second, try to increase his/her capacity in order to continuously sustain such growth. For example, individuals continue to learn... 


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