Columnists,Lalith De Mel

The camel is a horse designed by a committee

Views - 114 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 - 130 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 - 351 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 - 259 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 - 199 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 - 351 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 - 1416 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 - 1239 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 - 2577 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 - 1878 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 - 2503 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 - 2193 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 - 2677 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 - 3429 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 - 2798 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 - 2803 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 - 4738 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 - 5137 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 - 2737 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 - 3077 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 - 3216 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 - 3542 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 - 3919 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 - 3534 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 - 3310 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 - 3459 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 - 3925 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

Zero plus zero will be zero

Views - 3044 Friday, 9 October 2015 00:00

A minister with no academic education or a good knowledge of the subject gained through work experience at a senior level will not be able to create and execute strategies for sustainable growth. So he scores zero for likely high performance in th

Twinkle, twinkle new star, how I wonder what you are?

Views - 2901 Friday, 25 September 2015 00:48

  Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe       Some very old nursery rhymes have survived because they relate in a very simple form a message that was relevant then and is still rel

Can a leopard change its spots?

Views - 2948 Wednesday, 12 August 2015 00:00

    There are two leopards growling at each other. The voting public has to choose one or the other. To the thinking discerning public it is a challenging, stressful, time. Their future, their children’s future and

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Today's Columnists

The Brahmin footprint in Sri Lankan history

Saturday, 17 November 2018

It is generally said that there are no genuine “Sri Lankan” Brahmins in the island today, and that those Brahmins who officiate as priests in Hindu kovils (temples) are of Indian origin with close ties with Tamil Nadu.

Country paying for Sirisena’s childlike behaviour

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Many were surprised on 26 October to see former President Rajapaksa being appointed Prime Minister by the very man who defeated him a couple years ago, at a considerable risk to himself and to those who helped him win the election. Then events beca

The JR-MR effect

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sri Lanka over the last few weeks has experienced a twin crisis. One is political provoked by its Constitution, and the other economic engendered by its politics. However, this crisis is the combined effect of two previous presidencies, those of J.R.

The fish that swallowed the whale

Friday, 16 November 2018

This is an easy-peasy, elementary effort of an ordinary citizen to comprehend the mad scramble for power among the political class. It is undertaken in the belief that the crisis we face is an opportunity to reject the family kleptocracy of Mahinda R

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