Columnists,Lalith De Mel,Opinion and Issues

Reflections on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Views - 3345 Monday, 16 December 2019 00:49

It is the honeymoon period, where nice things are being said about the new President, but things will change. That’s the way it is always. The little mumbles of those who did not get what they wanted will become loud rumbles. The UNP will be lookin

There was a yearning for someone different as president: We got one!

Views - 348 Monday, 25 November 2019 00:40

Gotabaya is someone different There was certainly amongst the educated middle class a yearning for a non-political person as president. It was in response to this perceived need that a number of non-politicians threw their hats into the ring at the

Vote for the candidate with the best team of advisors

Views - 309 Monday, 21 October 2019 00:00

It is a tough challenge to be a successful president or prime minister. To craft a socio economic policy that will bring prosperity and to implement it, is a very, very tough ask. Can any of the candidates for president be able to create such a plan

The camel is a horse designed by a committee

Views - 282 Thursday, 27 September 2018 00:00

This expression has been around for a long time, to deride reports made by committees. There has always been a widespread view that committees are a waste of time and achieve very little of benefit to anyone. This has led to many statements that expr

Politics, politics, politics, and economic development a poor neglected second

Views - 177 Monday, 14 May 2018 00:00

What is politics? Why is it dominating, and shutting out the focus on economic development?

If Perpetual is not relieved of its profits bond saga will be a pus vedilla

Views - 404 Wednesday, 24 January 2018 01:36

When the Bond Commission was set up I wrote an article on 8 September 2017 titled ‘If at the end of the enquiry Perpetual gets to keep the vast amount of profit it made, then it is a pus vedilla’. Now the Bond Commission Report is out but the spe

The wonderful role of the tuk-tuk

Views - 447 Saturday, 11 November 2017 00:23

We all need some form of conveyance to get to work, to get to school, etc. That is a chore. It is not the fun bit in life. That feeling of being content and happy flows from doing things that give us pleasure.

A new economic strategy: Just let it roll

Views - 254 Wednesday, 25 October 2017 00:58

Sri Lanka is a private sector economy. There is the big business sector, a raft of small and medium sized businesses, and the huge people’s private sector which encompasses agriculture, fisheries, a large array of small

Do not allow the bond saga to end up as a damp squib or pus vedilla

Views - 385 Friday, 8 September 2017 00:00

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a squib is a slow-burning firework.After burning slowly it explodes with a bang with sparklers.A damp squib (a common English expression) is one that is damp and burns slowly anddoes not end with a bang.

We need microcredit to develop the rural economy

Views - 1506 Wednesday, 9 August 2017 00:00

In the rural economy and the SME sector there is a dire shortage of capital. Without capital the rural economy will not move from stagnation to growth. A very large part of the population, estimated at around 75%, lives in the rural areas. To get

Budget has a welcome focus on the rural economy

Views - 1275 Thursday, 29 June 2017 00:00

 The wellbeing of the people of this country is closely linked to the rural areas which have approximately 75% of the population. The rural economy encompasses all of our agriculture, and related activities, and fishing, and a raft of various

Privatisation is bad, peoplisation is good

Views - 2883 Wednesday, 5 April 2017 00:11

Privatisation is selling a state-owned asset to the highest bidder. Peoplisation of a state-owned entity is creating a new public company and selling its shares to the public and ensuring that no single individual owns more than point one percent

Where are all the unemployed hiding?

Views - 1914 Friday, 17 March 2017 00:00

There are jobs but no takers. The Government says it plans to create a million jobs. This objective can be achieved only with mega investments in industry. But are there a million unemployed, who will bless the gods for the opportunity a

Closure on the bond saga

Views - 2536 Friday, 3 February 2017 00:00

The fires keep burning and the pot keeps simmering. But by itself this is not useful. There has to be some end to the saga. An end that meets three objectives.  It must satisfy the many who fell deeply angry about what has happened. It must

Yahapalanaya and investment

Views - 2228 Friday, 13 January 2017 00:00

There was a new dawn with the new President’s election. The sky lit up beautifully, with the aura of Yahapalanaya. A great dawn does not guarantee a nice evening .Yahapalanaya is a little like that. The rest of the day has not turned out as

Getting the maximum out of tourism

Views - 2721 Tuesday, 20 December 2016 00:15

I have said it before and I will say it again: Tourism is Sri Lanka’s oil well. Like with oil, revenue will flow from it for a long, long, time. With oil, the task is to find it. Afterwards you can lick the fingers and count the cash. 

“Cannot see the wood for the trees” in the bond saga

Views - 3466 Thursday, 24 November 2016 00:01

A great deal of noise about the bond saga. Many column inches in the papers. Committees of investigation. Many reports. But after all this, little clarity, about any scope for any action! These goings-on reminded me of that old English proverb,

UNP-SLFP coalition could be the best form of Government for Sri Lanka

Views - 2891 Thursday, 17 November 2016 00:01

If we too adopt a model where the authority is divided between a UNP prime minister and a SLPF deputy prime minister and the policies of each side are conjoined, and the resources are equitably shared, we will have a more democratic and f

The challenge of creating a fine tourism product

Views - 2864 Tuesday, 25 October 2016 00:02

Marketing a country is like marketing a product. They must both ideally entice the customers by offering a functional benefit which also provides a motivating emotional experience. Others offering a similar product will endeavour to do the same. T

Tourism: Thailand vs. Sri Lanka

Views - 7868 Tuesday, 27 September 2016 00:01

China is a growth market for us; Thailand gets eight million tourists from China and it is still growing. We must learn from the Thai experience     Thailand gets 25 million tourists a year. Sri Lanka gets close t

Tourism can be Sri Lanka’s oil well if we drill with the correct marketing tools

Views - 5194 Monday, 29 August 2016 00:02

  Branding is a promise that will persuade tourists to come to Sri Lanka. It must be based on meeting the needs of the tourists from our target markets.The real challenge is to really understand these needs Success depends on

If Government does not move to an inclusive growth strategy, it will be political hara-kiri

Views - 2779 Wednesday, 3 August 2016 00:00

  The current strategies of the Government are not likely to be perceived as beneficial or supportive of the rural/people’s private sector. To gain the political support of the rural/people’s private sector, the Government

Political ideology vs. economic reality

Views - 3113 Friday, 1 July 2016 00:10

Very soon it will be tennis at Wimbledon. We will be watching the scintillating long rallies. The ball whizzing back and forth from one side to the other. Whilst ruminating about watching some good tennis, an interesting thought crossed my mind. T

Economic consequences of opposing what is good and not opposing what is bad

Views - 3257 Friday, 10 June 2016 00:00

 The current Government and the previous have been great addicts to borrowing to bridge the gap between revenue and expenditure. Society looks down on people who live beyond their means with borrowed money. Well, that is what we are doing as

The Fonseca saga

Views - 3576 Friday, 22 April 2016 00:00

If those who have done a Fonseca are not charged, because they have not committed an offence, then having done a Fonseca will become a prestigious social symbol: having foreign companies and foreign bank accounts! What could be more prestigious? I

Some FDI is like taking Panadol

Views - 3956 Friday, 18 March 2016 00:00

The Panadol pack says it provides relief from the symptoms of pain and fever. It does not claim to cure the cause of these symptoms. A tranche of Foreign Direct Investment to buy land, to build apartments or to buy shares is very similar in its im

Nero was fiddling whilst Rome was burning

Views - 5209 Tuesday, 16 February 2016 00:04

We tend to use the word fiddling to impishly imply something improper or dishonest. Whilst Rome was burning, Nero was not fiddling with someone’s toga or negotiating a commission on fire insurance. The fiddling that Nero was indulging in was

Good plans need good people

Views - 3341 Thursday, 14 January 2016 00:00

It is really very simple. Good people are required to develop good plans. The link between good plans and good results is good managers. If this crucial link is missing, good ideas will remain good ideas and not convert to great results. Role mo

Creating more shareholders and a dynamic private sector economy

Views - 3514 Thursday, 17 December 2015 00:00

Premier says “I want to see an expansion in shareholding. According to the newspapers, that was what he said at the SEC. Wide shareholding is important to sustain an inclusive private sector driven economy. The private sector model is comple

Truth, Retribution, Reconciliation

Views - 3963 Friday, 20 November 2015 00:00

What is the end game? Seeking the truth, seeking retribution, and seeking reconciliation are processes, like winding roads, that will twist and turn and lead to somewhere. The question is, where? Will they take you to an end game that is good fo

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Today's Columnists

Autocatalytic descent from plural democracy to supremacist authoritarianism

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

In a few days, Sri Lanka will celebrate its 72nd year of independence from colonialism. But behind the pomp and pageant of that celebration is a sad reality of an autocatalytic process – a small initial event triggering a chain reaction that evolve

Trump destroying brand USA: Implications for Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

There is an old adage that ‘politics and tourism’ has a positive correlation. Many have tried to disprove this aspect but the relationship is coming out very strongly, the latest case study to the world being in the United States. Trump cost $4.

Freedom! Freedom! Where art thou?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Freedom: who could object? Yet this word is now used to justify a thousand forms of exploitation. In the name of freedom – the freedom of the powerful to exploit the weak, the rich to exploit the poor. The definition of freedom is, the condition of

Development project information: Public expectations and their right to know

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Infrastructure development will be at the centre-stage during the next five years, irrespective of which mainstream political party will be in power. This writer has previously had articles published in the Daily FT on building regulations, infrastr

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