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Thoughts on the Budget and what comes next

Views - 1035 Friday, 15 December 2017 03:40

The recent Budget definitely improves on previous budgets. It is a promising debut for Mangala Samaraweera, the new Finance Minister. He sees...


Scenarios for world trade

Views - 748 Thursday, 4 May 2017 00:00

International trade is in trouble after the global financial crisis, and, with the new Trump administration, the world faces a protectionist onslaught. Here I present three scenarios for international trade – one “more likely”, a


Sri Lanka: Three scenarios for the future

Views - 6867 Friday, 17 March 2017 00:10

Last December I gave a lecture for Advocata Institute in Colombo on three scenarios for Sri Lanka’s future. Here are the three scenarios. Scenario One I call “Drift”, Scenario Two “Take-Off”, and Scenario Three &ldquo


Economic and social rights in the new constitution: A terrible idea

Views - 3675 Tuesday, 4 October 2016 00:15

Prominent individuals and NGOs now clamour for economic and social rights in the new constitution. They want them incorporated as “fundamental rights” in a new Bill of Rights.  To quote a recent Daily FT column, such rights woul


Six lessons in policy reform

Views - 3618 Wednesday, 11 November 2015 00:10

       This year Sri Lanka has its best opportunity for market reforms since 1977. The presidential and parliamentary election results give the Government a mandate for it, alongside constitutional refor


Sri Lanka at another crossroads: A half-outsider’s view

Views - 3070 Wednesday, 17 December 2014 00:00

Sri Lanka has thrown up a few surprises in the past month. Only a few months ago, the hegemony of the Rajapaksas seemed assured for years ahead. Then cracks appeared with the Uva Provincial Council election results. President Rajapaksa called a snap


Southeast Asia and the global economy

Views - 1309 Friday, 23 May 2014 00:00

What is the economic outlook for Southeast Asia at a time of general growth slowdown in emerging markets, and when global monetary conditions are set to tighten? Is it realistic to talk of a “regional” outlook, given extreme intra-regional divers


China, India and the emerging markets slowdown

Views - 18944 Friday, 1 November 2013 00:00

China and India are in the vanguard of a historic ‘shift to the East’. While economies in the West shrunk during the global financial crisis (GFC) and remained in a funk afterwards, China, India and other emerging markets bounded ahead. But then


Today's Columnists

Fruits, flowers and futile triumphalism at Galle Face?

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Every morning, I play voyeur and watch that nice neighbourhood uncle pluck flowers to pooja-fy his guardian deities. He is quite religious about it. And industrious to boot. The problem, of course, is that he doesn’t restrict himself to his garden.


Will Kyaukpyu overtake Gwadar and Hambantota?

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

China last month signed a $1.3 billion contract for Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu port project. The figures doing rounds in media in the run up to this port deal were as high as $7.9 billion which had ignited enormous curiosities. The Chinese had been negoti


Things to do in a Democracy when you’re dead…

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

In yesterday’s column, I argued a case for not impeaching the chief executive of the coup that has left our country situation in ruins. At the end of a pitched battle between the forces of unconstitutional ambition on one hand and democratic resist


Tweaking the New Inland Revenue Act (Part II)

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

In the backdrop where the recent amendment to the country’s supreme law is called in question, it may be appropriate to recall that the passage of the new Inland Revenue (IR) Act through Parliament was far more controversial. Nevertheless, the new


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