FT View

Limiting imports

Views - 26 Thursday, 18 October 2018 00:27

At a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) this week, President Maithripala Sirisena had given instructions to the Finance Ministry to compile a study into imports made by Sri Lanka and propose ways to reduce imports as a temporary measure t

The art of failure

Views - 32 Wednesday, 17 October 2018 00:00

Many thousands of words have been dedicated in the past few months to Sri Lanka’s economic challenges but most of them end with the same piece of advice - Sri Lanka must encourage exports and find ways to attract investment. But this is easier said


Views - 41 Tuesday, 16 October 2018 00:00

As part of its efforts to improve transparency and accountability by implementing recommendations made by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCOI) on the controversial bond transactions, the Central Bank this week said that it has introduced a w

Delivering services

Views - 27 Monday, 15 October 2018 01:18

According to recent reports the private sector will be invited to construct buildings for state agencies under a two-pronged program approved by the Cabinet, which would increase public-private partnerships and, technically, fast-track access to stat

Navigating digital IDs

Views - 69 Saturday, 13 October 2018 00:10

This week the long-touted digital identity cards were pushed further on the backburner, with Minister Harin Fernando citing the significant gap in laws governing digital rights and databases as reason for the increased delay. While such setbacks

Infrastructure in the era of climate change

Views - 48 Friday, 12 October 2018 00:00

The latest bout of persistent rainfall in the country has now seen some 60,000 people from nearly 15,000 families affected. Moreover roughly 12,000 people from over 2,500 families are being housed at 28 temporary relocation centres in three districts

Unshackling the Bribery Commission

Views - 61 Thursday, 11 October 2018 00:00

This week it was reported that Transparency International flagged some Rs. 40 million in public funds that had allegedly been misappropriated, with the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption being enlisted to oversee the inve

Tackling tourism

Views - 87 Wednesday, 10 October 2018 00:00

Last week the world celebrated UNWTO World Tourism Day under the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism: A Tool for Development’. Recognising the importance of this year’s theme, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga said with Sri Lanka recently becoming a Vice

Budget process

Views - 46 Tuesday, 9 October 2018 00:00

Last week the Daily FT hosted a first-of-its-kind forum aimed squarely at addressing obstacles the Sri Lankan female workforce in particular face ahead of next month’s Budget. Issues taken up ranged from sexual harassment in the work place and lack

Supporting justice

Views - 34 Monday, 8 October 2018 00:00

President Maithripala Sirisena recently praised mediation boards for their impressive service and while this is laudable it highlights systemic issues with the court system that needs a desperate overhaul but just how badly can sometimes come as a sh

Forging ahead 

Views - 31 Saturday, 6 October 2018 00:10

At a recent pre-budget summit top women leaders outlined challenges to increasing women on the formal workforce and suggested policies that could be included in the upcoming budget to facilitate more inclusion. Sri Lanka’s female labour fo

Urban planning

Views - 57 Friday, 5 October 2018 00:00

Recently Sri Lanka’s Urban Development Authority (UDA) celebrated its 40th year in operation but given the declining state of liveability in Colombo and other key cities, there is little cause for praise and much need for stronger urban planning. C

Managing vulnerability 

Views - 49 Thursday, 4 October 2018 00:59

Economic challenges are dangerous for a multitude of reasons. Among them is the ability for people to absorb shocks such as natural disasters. When people are financially stable they have the ability to save for a rainy day and help other people when

Trade relief 

Views - 50 Wednesday, 3 October 2018 00:00

Ending almost a year of uncertainty, millions of people heaved a sigh of relief when a new deal was agreed to keeping global value chains spanning the US, Canada and Mexico largely intact. President Donald Trump on Monday touted a new trade deal wit

Digitisation and transparency

Views - 64 Tuesday, 2 October 2018 00:00

As the Government moves to increase transparency through a wider digitisation strategy it is important that this measure is linked to crucial economic frameworks such as the Budget process. Budget 2019 is currently being formulated by the Finance Min

Expanding entrepreneurship 

Views - 66 Monday, 1 October 2018 00:00

The Finance Ministry recently said over 22,000 Sri Lanka Enterprise loans have been disbursed and while this is an important step it also encapsulates the challenge of attracting young people to vocational training and supporting them to find alterna

Media freedom and fake news 

Views - 38 Saturday, 29 September 2018 00:10

This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Colombo Declaration on Media Freedom and Social Responsibility, a landmark achievement in terms of establishing an independent media in Sri Lanka. Introduced in 1998, it

No laughing matter 

Views - 66 Friday, 28 September 2018 00:00

US President Donald Trump’s speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Tuesday reinforced the view that his protectionist outlook would cause more upheaval in global trade and challenge developing countries, especially those like S

Rethinking the rupee crisis 

Views - 198 Thursday, 27 September 2018 00:00

The call by the Government to reduce imports as an effort to counter the impact of Sri Lanka’s fast depreciating rupee was met with disdain by many members of the public. This is largely because an import contraction is seen as an unfair demand by

A new Maldives

Views - 75 Wednesday, 26 September 2018 00:00

Democracy watchers the world over rejoiced this week when the Maldives’ Elections Commission declared a resounding election victory for the opposition candidate, defeating President Yameen who was often seen as an authoritarian leader. During his

Giving a start

Views - 39 Tuesday, 25 September 2018 00:00

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s decision to reduce payments needed to start a company is a step in the right direction. As a Government focused on improving trade and entrepreneurship, demanding new companies pay fees was a deterrent. Expert

Climate realities

Views - 55 Saturday, 22 September 2018 00:10

As pockets of drought return Sri Lanka has to realise that broad economic challenges caused by weather is the new normal, whether they be reducing tea production volumes or paddy harvests.

Macroeconomics and vehicles

Views - 163 Friday, 21 September 2018 00:00

The Central Bank this week directed Licenced Commercial Banks (LCBs) to impose a 100% margin deposit requirement against Letters of Credit (LCs) for the importation of motor vehicles with immediate effect. This step is aimed at reducing stubbornly hi

Stop the rod

Views - 34 Thursday, 20 September 2018 00:00

There is a renewed effort to ban corporal punishment from Sri Lankan schools that deserve to be supported. Earlier this year the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its findings on children’s rights in Sri Lanka, which

Human development

Views - 59 Wednesday, 19 September 2018 00:00

Sri Lanka is ranked 76 in the latest Human Development Index (HDI) out of 189 countries, posting the highest spot in South Asia and indicating the country’s best opportunity for development. The HDI-2018, which was compiled by the UNDP and release

Education reform

Views - 58 Tuesday, 18 September 2018 00:00

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during a recent speech focused on the importance of education reform. However, this is massively challenging as the unwieldy sector covers public and private stakeholders as well as millions of students and parents

Pipeline problems

Views - 60 Monday, 17 September 2018 00:00

The leak in the Muthurajawela pipeline that resulted in the waste of an estimated 10 to 15 metric tonnes of oil and resulted in environmental damage of an area that is legally protected is a massive failure by an important State enterprise, and signi

Finding a better way

Views - 46 Saturday, 15 September 2018 00:10

Over the last few years, the world has been moving to zero-waste shops, supermarkets have been rejecting plastic and a mini-international war has been declared on plastic straws. But, in Sri Lanka, the changes feel more cosmetic than genuinely effect

Chair swapping

Views - 57 Friday, 14 September 2018 00:00

Western Province Governor Hemakumara Nanayakkara this week ordered the cancellation of 144 luxury chairs after massive public outcry but the incident showcased positive aspects of public engagement that is central to good governance. When news of t

Human rights and social welfare

Views - 56 Thursday, 13 September 2018 00:00

United Nations Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, wrapping up a visit to Sri Lanka this week, called for the Government and other organisations funding development to assess the human rights impact of their pr

Today's Columnists

Finishing the job of ending poverty in South Asia

Thursday, 18 October 2018

“I have a four-year-old son back in my village. I want to make a better life for him,” says Sharmin Akhtar, a 19-year-old employee in one of Dhaka’s many flourishing garment factories. Like thousands of other poor women, Sharmin came down to B

Depreciating rupee: Avoiding a money-go-round

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Sri Lanka’s excessive reliance on foreign capital to finance investment under favourable external financial conditions is now leading to disruptions, as those conditions change in a decisive interest rate tightening phase in the United States. As U

Responsible water stewardship in Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Unlike many of our regional neighbours, Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundant water table. However, many companies do not feel the full value of this precious resource due to the limited regulation and monitoring of fresh water extraction for busines

Economy in disarray, banks flourishing; can this be true?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

It is earlier reported that the growth in bank credit accelerated in August despite the tight credit and money conditions and rising non-performing loans in the banking sector. It is further reported that the year-on-year (YoY) growth in credit accel

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