FT View

Finding the middle ground

Views - 57 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 - 78 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 - 360 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 - 70 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 - 75 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 - 118 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 - 38 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 - 113 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 - 58 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 - 65 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 - 75 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 - 82 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 - 96 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 - 97 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 - 34 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 - 97 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 - 70 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 - 103 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 - 77 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 - 52 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 - 46 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 - 74 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 - 64 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 - 67 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 - 84 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 - 82 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 - 56 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

Today's Columnists

MMDA, ACJU, politicians and women

Saturday, 16 February 2019

It is 10 years since Justice Saleem Marsoof (JSM) and his committee was appointed to review and make recommendations to reform the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA), passed originally in 1951 and amended in 1954, 1955, 1965 and 1969 before becom

President Trump looked for the failed idea of a wall

Saturday, 16 February 2019

The talks over the “Wall of Trump” between the US-Mexico Border Security broke down with Congressional leaders over the weekend. After the renewed call for a wall at his second State of the Union, President Donald Trump attended a political rally

‘The Man Who Would Be King’: Remembering Anura Bandaranaike on his 70th birth anniversary

Friday, 15 February 2019

‘The Man Who Would Be King’ is the title of a long tale written by Rudyard Kipling in 1888. This very popular story was made into a successful film starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer by the well-known director John Husto

Of pseudo-democrats, discipline and the coming death of liberty?

Friday, 15 February 2019

I despair of our politicos and would-be politicians. Not that they are not all honourable men. From the honourable prime minister to the former defence secretary discharging his duty honourably after premature retirement! But that honour often dresse

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