FT View

Hollow explanations?

Views - 99 Tuesday, 13 November 2018 00:28

President Maithripala Sirisena’s third address to the nation in just two weeks attempted to explain his decision to dissolve Parliament. During the relatively short address, he pointed out that one key reason for dissolution was the high price tags

Respecting rules

Views - 81 Monday, 12 November 2018 00:00

The dissolution of Parliament last Friday has pushed Sri Lanka into an even deeper political crisis and endangered the rule of law more than ever before. The will of the people is central to a democracy but so is upholding the law, which is laid out

Maturity and morality

Views - 102 Saturday, 10 November 2018 00:10

Veteran political scientist Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda delivering the memorial oration to mark the third death anniversary of Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero on Thursday called for the reformation of a broad front against the Constitutional deadlock, insisting

Elections are not the solution

Views - 129 Friday, 9 November 2018 00:00

Elections are an integral part of a democratic system but they are not the answer to everything. Speculation is rife that parliament could be dissolved by President Maithripala Sirisena as part of an effort to seek a referendum from the people about

Elections and trade

Views - 43 Thursday, 8 November 2018 00:00

Mid-term elections in the US have played out much as polls suggested they would with the Democrats getting a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since 2011. But this change is unlikely to change US President Donald Trump’s o

Keeping count

Views - 47 Wednesday, 7 November 2018 00:47

As the tenth day dawned on Sri Lanka’s Constitutional crisis many speculations continue on the current status of parliament. By President Maithripala Sirsena’s count he has 113 MPs but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe continues to insist that

Speaking out

Views - 48 Tuesday, 6 November 2018 00:10

In the face of a dragging constitutional crisis, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has spoken out against the proroguing of Parliament and said that he would recognise the administration that existed before 26 October unless Parliament is reconvened and the Co

Growth disparities

Views - 49 Monday, 5 November 2018 00:00

The share contributed to national GDP by Sri Lanka’s provinces provide interesting reading. The latest data released by the Central Bank shows a continuation of the trend of the Western Province declining its percentage with only 37.2% in 2017. Cen

Rising above politics

Views - 56 Saturday, 3 November 2018 00:10

Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s oldest democracies. Despite undergoing a near three-decade conflict, lacklustre growth and challenges in governance, Sri Lanka has always had peaceful transitions of power. The will of the people was respected, perhaps no

Finding the middle ground

Views - 56 Friday, 2 November 2018 00:00

Sri Lanka’s economic policies have always swung between open market and closed market systems. Historically, Sri Lanka has been a trading nation, but later decades saw socialist economic policies move to the forefront and these tendrils are still d

Democracy wanted

Views - 77 Thursday, 1 November 2018 00:33

Democracy is often thought of as an abstract idea, but the incidents over the last few days have shown that it is also a living breathing concept that is embraced as the very foundation of Sri Lanka. Democracy is enacted through the Constitution, but

Hear the people

Views - 359 Wednesday, 31 October 2018 00:00

Protests in Sri Lanka are usually overwhelmingly aligned with the interests of political parties. People are normally bussed in by political parties, given cash and alcohol to prop up an agenda that is favourable to one set of politicians. Genuine, o

Allow for democratic process

Views - 65 Tuesday, 30 October 2018 00:55

Democracy is denoted by a balance of power. In Sri Lanka, there are three main branches of power; the Executive, Parliament, and Judiciary. These branches of Government are expected to balance each other so that power is not concentrated in one insti

Uphold the law

Views - 67 Monday, 29 October 2018 01:21

Sri Lanka is in the middle of a political storm which, if prolonged, could impact an already pressurised economy and threaten to deepen uncertainty. On Friday, Sri Lankans were stunned when President Maithripala Sirisena removed Ranil Wickremesinghe

Skills, not exams

Views - 73 Saturday, 27 October 2018 00:00

The Education Ministry this week issued a circular ending the mandatory requirement for sitting for the Grade 5 scholarship exam and giving the option for students to opt out if they wish to do so. This change has thrown light again on education refo

To-do list for BoI

Views - 113 Friday, 26 October 2018 00:00

The President’s former Chief of Staff Hemasiri Fernando has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Board of Investment (BOI) after a snap dissolution last week. Given Sri Lanka’s large debt, limited reserves and dire need to improve exports an

Prisoner rights

Views - 36 Thursday, 25 October 2018 00:00

Inmates of the Angunakolapelessa prison were the latest to protest about the conditions that they face while incarcerated, joining women at the Welikada prison. However, the response in both instances has been the same – punishing the protestors, r

Being worthy of fans

Views - 32 Wednesday, 24 October 2018 00:00

Cricket is often referred to as Sri Lanka’s national obsession. Over the last two decades cricket has come to dominate the attention of Sri Lanka’s entire population and in the process absorb much of its sports resources for itself. But of late i

Value of competition

Views - 99 Tuesday, 23 October 2018 00:00

The importance of competitiveness is talked about extensively but seeing it played out can sometimes be amazing. For the last few months Sri Lanka has been hammered by an appreciating dollar and rising oil prices that have forced the Government to cu

Growth paths

Views - 56 Monday, 22 October 2018 00:06

Finding ways to improve Sri Lanka’s economic growth is an all-encompassing task for the Government, private sector, academia, civil society and other stakeholders.

Fuel realities

Views - 63 Saturday, 20 October 2018 00:10

The recent fuel price increase has re-focused the spotlight on Government subsidies and how they can be best structured by policymakers to help the people that need them the most. It gives an interesting insight on how taxpayer-funded assistance is v

Budget implementation

Views - 69 Friday, 19 October 2018 00:00

As the days tick down to Budget 2019, an evaluation of the larger proposals under the previous edition has shown that it has failed to deliver on transparency and implementation with only 8% of 38 major proposals worth Rs. 149 billion on target, with

Limiting imports

Views - 77 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 - 92 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 - 79 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 - 32 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 - 96 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 - 61 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 - 69 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 - 102 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

Today's Columnists

Lasantha, journalists and diplomats

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

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

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

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