The Sri Lankan FTA debate: Substance and semantics: Part 1

Views - 478 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 02:43

The Government of Sri Lanka has embraced Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) as a key focus of the national trade and development strategy. The rationale of this policy choice has been intensely debated in Sri Lankan policy circles. The debate has reached a

Paranoia in the nanny state

Views - 188 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 02:40

A week is a long time in politics. In terms of the type of realpolitik practised in certain republics, it’s a grain of sand. Or, to coin a phrase, a line of crack on a glass table. Today (your yesterday, dear unsuspecting reader), marks the end of

Advanced vocational training opportunities for Sri Lanka’s youth

Views - 293 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 02:37

Relevant and pertinent questions regarding the missed opportunities of our great nation have appeared in the public domain for decades, raised by both local and international economists and other intellectuals alike. Same has also been a popular subj

Sri Lankan housewife raises her head

Views - 234 Tuesday, 29 January 2019 01:21

Whilst Sri Lanka is grappling with a 2.9% GDP growth in Q3 2018, which happens to be the lowest growth seen in the recent history of Sri Lanka, thankfully the Sri Lanka housewife is raising the head at the household end due to the low inflationary at

Good governance and economic development

Views - 6453 Monday, 28 January 2019 00:30

The presence of good governance at both the public and private sectors in a country has been viewed as a positive contributor to sustained economic growth. At the private sector level, practising good governance principles will enable the stakeholde

Enter the chartered HR professional: A new frontier for Sri Lanka

Views - 451 Monday, 28 January 2019 00:27

It is very encouraging to see the opportunities emerging for Sri Lankan HR professionals to reach a charter status. This is in fact filling a long-felt void in the profession of HR. It is in the broad context of the transformation of the Institute of

An obstreperous monk and ostensible compassion

Views - 80 Monday, 28 January 2019 00:12

The letter signed by a set of powerful Buddhist leaders including two Mahanayakes and the Diyawadana Nilame of Dalada Maligawa, and addressed to Buddha Sasana Minister Gamini Jayawickrema Perera, appealing for the release of Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara

President’s unfettered discretion on appointing President’s Counsel

Views - 466 Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

President’s Counsel is a title to recognise those who have reached eminence in the legal profession and have maintained high standards of conduct and rectitude. The title is equivalent to Queen’s Counsel (QC) or King’s Counsel (KC) in the Briti

Sri Lankan democracy undermined by Eastern Governor appointment

Views - 252 Monday, 28 January 2019 00:00

Since we proudly celebrated the 85th anniversary of Sri Lankan democracy in 2016, there has been a coup, first to replace a Prime Minister commanding a working majority in Parliament with another who could not muster a majority, followed by a move to

Let’s PhilippOpine

Views - 83 Saturday, 26 January 2019 00:20

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena made a historic visit to the Philippines, a five-day State visit supposedly to undertake negotiations with his counterpart President Rodrigo Duterte. The two leaders held bilateral talks on areas of mutual i

For Xi, ‘Toilet Revolution’ is next only to Belt and Road Initiative

Views - 127 Saturday, 26 January 2019 00:10

For the Chinese President Xi Jinping, bringing about a ‘Toilet Revolution’ in his country is next only in importance to his international flagship project, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) involving the building of multiple ports, airports and

Of Dil-scoops, Blake’s 7 and drug busts

Views - 240 Friday, 25 January 2019 00:10

In mid-2018, national cricketer and erstwhile captain Tillakaratne Dilshan sang the praises of President Maithripala Sirisena for taking a certain executive decision. That was to implement the death penalty – customarily commuted to life imprisonme

Investigating corruption of the Yahapalana Government

Views - 351 Friday, 25 January 2019 00:00

Investigating into corruption alleged to have taken place during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime was considered the most important responsibility of the Yahapalana Government during its initial years. However, following the cessation of the political a

New Year resolution: Attaining financial freedom in 2019!

Views - 762 Thursday, 24 January 2019 02:16

It is that time of the year when everyone, young and old is journaling their new-year resolutions, and reflecting on the past year. You might be disappointed if you are carrying forward a few resolutions from the past years. You could be thinking, wh

10-year challenge: Has Sri Lanka made progress in last decade to become financially-literate?

Views - 762 Thursday, 24 January 2019 02:11

The ’10-Year Challenge,’ Facebook’s latest social media phenomenon has taken the internet by a storm. People are posting a picture from 10 years ago alongside their current profile picture or some other photograph and the transformation through

Catwalk beyond 400 PPM – Consuming towards disaster!

Views - 151 Thursday, 24 January 2019 00:46

Catwalks sizzle! What’s on the catwalk – the skin, the silk, lycra parading endlessly broadcast to the world whatever new and popular in clothing and accessories and it also communicates desirable dimensions too in a not-too-subtle manner. Knowi

Rolling back big government – The next big challenge

Views - 101 Thursday, 24 January 2019 00:40

Preliminary estimates in the 2019 Budget to be presented on 5 March this year include an income of 2.5 trillion and a debt service requirements of a whopping 2.2 trillion, leaving only a net income of 0.3 trillion. As for expenditure, the Government

Lasantha, journalists and diplomats

Views - 224 Wednesday, 23 January 2019 00:00

We find scarce little to celebrate in a sullied land, marking our days remembering the tragedies that tell our blood-soaked history. In the troubled decades preceding, many, from the highest in the land to average citizens, have met with violent ends

Teaching the younger generation to observe professional ethics is the need of the hour

Views - 219 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

When Sri Lanka got independence in 1948, it was one of the most promising nations both in Asia and in the Commonwealth countries. It had luckily emerged unscathed after the Second World War unlike our neighbours. Sri Lanka furthermore did not have to

Questionable (or absurd) official report on poverty indicators

Views - 194 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

The latest Report issued by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs on ‘Poverty Indicators’ is both questionable and outrageous.1This Ministry is under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Most of the sta

SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Views - 465 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou

Automation and machine learning: Helping organisations extract deeper value from data

Views - 343 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

The world is in the midst of a data explosion. Humans are generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day1, according to Forbes, and more data was created in the past two years than in all of human history. No wonder data now r

All the presidents’ mien

Views - 335 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:10

I’m conflicted about the presidency we have. Do we need it like a fish needs a bicycle, or a baboon needs a parliament? Has the opportune time come for stakeholders as diverse as civil society led by a free media movement, conscientious objectors t

Banks should subsume technology before technology subsumes them

Views - 6746 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:08

Returning to IBSL is like ‘coming home’ It is a privilege for me to return to the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka, popularly known as IBSL, after the lapse of some 10 years. I had a long association with IBSL from its very beginning – from ar

AI in 2019: Start small, win big

Views - 73 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

A new generation of point AI solutions will prove themselves in 2019. They’ll build new trust, urgency and understanding of what ‘AI’ actually is, and just how much it can deliver. Voice-driven solutions will lead the charge. And we’ll see pi

Sri Lanka needs better focus on logistics and distribution beyond 2020

Views - 455 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

The time has come for Sri Lanka to make all efforts to transform its advantage of speed and connectivity into a major logistics hub in the Indian Ocean which can have many positive spinoff effects in terms of becoming a more vibrant manufacturing, tr

Making democracy a national heritage

Views - 130 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

We are in the year of elections. It is the season of political name calling. Everybody is busy conferring some name on some body. Neo liberal, liberal, dictator, fascist, neo fascist, NGO agent, imperialist lackey are some of these devices that come

Ravi K’s discourse on W.A. Wijewardena’s involvement in Treasury bond issue

Views - 3122 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

In his article published previously in the Daily FT, Ravi Karunanayake (the MOF during the period of the infamous CBSL bond scam) appears to have attemptedto pull wool over the eyes andto make a mountain out of a molehill. This exercise gives an impr

Unless addressed, wages issue will keep troubling Bangladesh’s garment industry

Views - 223 Saturday, 19 January 2019 00:10

The recent week-long mass protests by garment workers in Bangladesh came to an end after an upward revision of wages for six classes of workers. But even after the upward revision, the Bangladeshi garment worker gets less than what workers in compara

Is the Navy lying? Is our press serving us well?

Views - 529 Friday, 18 January 2019 00:00

Newspapers of 16 January report Indian poachers turning on our Navy. An earlier incident of 23 December where poachers really used violence was hardly reported. All this mis- and non-reporting raise questions of the veracity of our Navy and the irres

Today's Columnists

Playing with history

Friday, 22 March 2019

First of all, I was delighted to note a counter criticism ‘A reply to Victor Ivan’s ‘What went wrong with Sri Lanka?’ published in the Financial Times on 11 March in response to my article which appeared in the same newspaper on 22 February.

Sathyodaya for salvation

Friday, 22 March 2019

Professor Ven. Walpola Rahula (1907-1997), a Buddhist rationalist and free-thinker of international repute, was a unique intellectual, teacher and writer who never minced his words when speaking truth to power, a rare quality fast disappearing in a w

Ceylon Tea or Sri Lanka Tourism the stronger category brand?

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The Central Bank officially reported last week that Sri Lanka exports have grown to $ 11.9 billion, recording a growth of 4.7%, which means that the country has not performed up to expectation in 2018. The export volume index has grown by 0.5% in 201

Lip service to AML requirements: Are Sri Lankan designated institutions skating on thin ice?

Thursday, 21 March 2019

The recent announcement by the European Union (EU) blacklisting 20 odd jurisdictions for their failure to adhere to anti money laundering requirements (AML) comes as no surprise as all these jurisdictions have been forewarned by the EU, Financial Act

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