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New billionaires and the rest

Views - 47 Tuesday, 22 January 2019 00:00

As the richest and most powerful people in the world gather at Davos, Switzerland, one topic has come to dominate the meeting – inequality. Ahead of the yearly forum, a report on the world’s income levels have shown that the growing wealth gap is

Transport solutions

Views - 80 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:00

Traffic has become a bane for the many hundreds of thousands of people who travel to Colombo each day. The Government, after committing to a $ 1.8 billion Japanese loan to build a light railway system, is now reported to be in talks with six Chinese

Education for life

Views - 77 Saturday, 19 January 2019 00:10

Education reform has been discussed by parliamentarians over the last couple of weeks with suggestions to include law into the curriculum, while experts have called for economic modules to promote entrepreneurship and financial literacy. As per Stan

Universal rights

Views - 37 Friday, 18 January 2019 00:00

The quality of a country’s human rights are evaluated by the way it treats its prisoners. Prisoners, despite being a marginalised community, nonetheless should be treated humanely. However, the Justice Ministry this week appointed a three member co

Carbon taxes

Views - 81 Thursday, 17 January 2019 00:07

The Government has been roundly criticised for its decision to impose carbon taxes on vehicles. The new tax, which was announced last week, will be levied based on the year and engine capacity of the vehicle, but according to its detractors this woul

Fiscal discipline 

Views - 67 Wednesday, 16 January 2019 00:00

When an election year arrives it is usually accompanied by high expectations, especially regarding public sector salaries. Already there are reports on the possibility of salaries being increased, albeit by small amounts, but the Government has to pr

Provincial polls and belling the cat

Views - 44 Tuesday, 15 January 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is in the unenviable situation where the majority want elections but the legal system for holding the needed polls is still in flux. Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya described this dilemma as “belling the cat” and called

Pitfalls of policies for polls

Views - 40 Monday, 14 January 2019 00:00

Elections are a game changer. When governments are heading for polls, the trend is to champion people-friendly policies to gather votes, but this can impact public funds negatively when policies are not clearly articulated and targeted. One such poi

Tracking new consumption trends

Views - 55 Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:00

Measuring economic activity is a crucial part of evaluating an economy. Sri Lanka needs to have reliable data to base policy decisions on and to prioritise areas that can get the best returns through policy intervention to fast track growth but there

Growth prospects

Views - 62 Friday, 11 January 2019 00:00

This year will be a crucial one for Sri Lanka, given its high debt repayment commitments and elections. However, the expectation for a growth recovery after a disappointing 3% growth in 2018 will also pose challenges, given the projected slowing of t

New growth path

Views - 70 Thursday, 10 January 2019 00:37

Research and Development is at the centre of economies attempting to get out of the middle income trap and evolve into high growth economies. R&D is also crucial for a small country like Sri Lanka, with an aging population, to diversify its exports a

Untangling Budgets

Views - 45 Wednesday, 9 January 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is once again in the process of passing a Budget, which will have heightened significance given that elections are likely this year as well as historically high debt repayments. The Appropriation Bill, which received Cabinet approval this w

Protect freedom

Views - 80 Tuesday, 8 January 2019 00:00

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Lasantha Wickrematunge’s assassination. It is a day to remember the impressive journalist that Lasantha was, but also provides a sobering moment to understand just how far Sri Lanka is still from achieving justic

SOE management

Views - 108 Monday, 7 January 2019 00:36

Management of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) has always been tricky in Sri Lanka with respective political parties preferring to appoint their loyalists to the posts with little or no oversight. The details emerging from the Presidential Commission o

Boosting exports

Views - 66 Saturday, 5 January 2019 00:10

Sri Lanka ended 2018 with Government statistics showing merchandise and service exports to have hit an all-time high of $ 17 billion, up 15% from a year earlier, and setting the stage for policymakers to set the target at $ 20 billion in 2019. But th

Rebranding education options

Views - 69 Friday, 4 January 2019 00:00

The recent discourse on the Advanced Level exams overlooks a critical point: what happens to the thousands of students that fail the exam, some all three subjects? It is important that these young people are given options, and given the chance to ser

Education without barriers

Views - 90 Thursday, 3 January 2019 00:48

The Advanced Level examination results are a pivotal moment for students. In what is arguably the most competitive exam they will face in their lives, over 300,000 students usually sit for the exam, of which about one third receive the minimum result

A new start

Views - 64 Wednesday, 2 January 2019 00:00

Every New Year dawns with much hope and optimism. For Sri Lanka an extra dose of hope is needed given the significant political, economic and social challenges placed before it in 2019. As a country that is heading for high debt repayments this year,

Hopes for 2019

Views - 69 Tuesday, 1 January 2019 00:00

The New Year dawns with many challenges for Sri Lanka. In 2019, Sri Lanka will have to face dual challenges of elections and large debt repayments. In many ways, these two realities counterbalance each other and create a narrowing space for crucial e

Investment focus

Views - 95 Monday, 31 December 2018 00:00

Even though 2019 is an election year, the focus should remain on improving the economy and reforms should continue to increase growth beyond just handouts. Given Sri Lanka’s large debt, limited reserves and dire need to improve exports and attract

Childcare spending

Views - 61 Saturday, 29 December 2018 00:10

Growth, whether it is for a country or for a person, takes place when things are done differently and better. Sri Lanka’s economy could be given a boost by assisting women to have access to better childcare, which would also encourage more equitabl

Inclusive policies

Views - 59 Friday, 28 December 2018 00:00

As Sri Lanka moves towards 2019, economic and political goals are starting to converge, partly because of elections in the New Year. Economic imperatives rise to the surface when elections come around, largely because the measure of political compete

Climate proofing infrastructure

Views - 51 Thursday, 27 December 2018 00:16

The season is mixed with sadness as thousands of people struggle with floods in several parts of Sri Lanka. Yet climate disaster is the new normal for Sri Lankans, and it’s time this gets factored into national policymaking. These are the harsh re

Christmas musings

Views - 41 Tuesday, 25 December 2018 00:00

This year has been an eventful one, and Sri Lankans will be looking forward to the chance to spend time with their loved ones on Christmas Day. The festive season is a time to evaluate the events of the year, as well as consider what may take place n

Growth solutions

Views - 73 Monday, 24 December 2018 00:00

Recent modest growth figures have raised questions on what can be done to push up growth in Sri Lanka. Possibly, this can be done by understanding which sectors would best promote growth and tailoring policies to support those segments. Even though p

Accountability and development

Views - 45 Saturday, 22 December 2018 00:10

For a small country, Sri Lanka’s focus on politics at times borders on the obsessive. So deep does the adherence to politics run, it can be argued that politics has taken precedence over the economy at policymaking level since Independence. Politic

Time to work

Views - 77 Friday, 21 December 2018 00:00

After days of haggling, the Cabinet was appointed with few surprises. However, it is likely that these appointments will be expanded over the next few days, as the United National Party (UNP) looks to forming a coalition Government led by the United

Ailing growth

Views - 86 Thursday, 20 December 2018 00:00

Despite the normalising political situation, Sri Lanka’s economy continues to be challenging, with the latest growth numbers showing the country’s economic growth in the third quarter had slumped to a historic low of 2.9% in comparison to 3.2%. T

Rise beyond rhetoric

Views - 106 Wednesday, 19 December 2018 00:00

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s plans to build a new coalition titled the National Democratic Front (NDF) to win a two-thirds majority at a future general election to abolish the executive presidency can be viewed as a positive move given the

Migrant workers

Views - 107 Tuesday, 18 December 2018 00:00

International Migrants Day highlights the need for Sri Lanka to establish a comprehensive policy and effective institutional setup governing migrant workers of varying skill levels to effectively develop the Sri Lankan economy. It is important to un

Today's Columnists

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

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

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

SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

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

Questionable (or absurd) official report on poverty indicators

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

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

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

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

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

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