Columnists,W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

Fixing lending rates and waiving farmer loans: two policies that do not augur well for borrowers

Views - 12 Monday, 21 October 2019 00:00

Two policies relating to lending Recently, there were two policy pronouncements relating to lending, one already implemented by the Central Bank and the other being proposed for implementation by the SLPP presidential hopeful, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, tha


Bankrupt Sri Lanka Incorporated: Prospective rescuers should come up with a common policy

Views - 6135 Monday, 14 October 2019 00:00

The case of a bankrupt company What do you think of a private company which is indebted to the hilt, does not earn enough to repay its debt and experiences a low sales growth which is declining year after year? Surely, it is a problem company needing


Democracy at a crossroads: Sri Lanka has not narrowed corridor of liberty but effectively blocked it

Views - 7662 Monday, 7 October 2019 08:30

The latest book by the duo of ‘Why Nations Fail’ fame – Daron Acemoglu of MIT and James Robinson of Chicago – titled ‘The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies and the Fate of Liberty’ was released on 24 September.


Dr. Anura Ekanayake: Journey from top bureaucrat to top private sector leader

Views - 6068 Monday, 30 September 2019 00:00

Man from the plantations industry I met Anura Ekanayake, Anura to his friends, in early 1990s when he was the Director of Planning at the Ministry of Plantations Industry. There, he was engaged in modernising Sri Lanka’s three tree crops – tea, r


The demand for a dictator is on the rise and it is a dangerous sign

Views - 7318 Monday, 23 September 2019 00:43


Industry 4.0, disruptive technology and MAS Matrix: An example for way forward in Sri Lanka

Views - 6667 Monday, 16 September 2019 00:40

Technology has always been disruptive. When a new technology is introduced, it changes the way the humankind lives, behaves, earns, interacts and communicates. Some 10,000 years ago, when agriculture and animal breeding were domesticated through the


Ravindra Fernando does it again: Releasing two books on forensic analyses of crime and torture

Views - 3417 Monday, 9 September 2019 00:25

Perhaps, it is only the LSE based economics don – the late Harry G. Johnson – who might have beaten Ravindra Fernando, emeritus professor of forensic medicine and toxicology of the Colombo Medical School, off his book publishing track. Johnson wa


Indrajit Coomaraswamy: The boy from Cambridge who rose to the pinnacle of the Central Bank

Views - 7136 Monday, 2 September 2019 00:45

It was the year 1974. The Central Bank had recruited a new batch of staff officers. News soon came that, among them, there was a boy from Cambridge University who spoke English with a foreign accent. By that time the bank’s lower rank inhabitants,


STG who became SDG of the Central Bank

Views - 6174 Monday, 26 August 2019 00:00

When Dr. S.T.G. Fernando, fondly known as STG, was appointed as Director of Economic Research of the Central Bank in 1979, his fame – or perhaps, notoriety – as a hard taskmaster had travelled to us in the Department before he made his physical p


Shanta Devarajan: Economist who cannot get disconnected from his motherland

Views - 7099 Monday, 19 August 2019 00:25

For me, Shanta Devarajan, formerly the Acting Chief Economist of the World Bank Group succeeding the Nobel Laureate Paul Romer and presently Professor at Georgetown University, USA, was a legend by himself. When I met him in early part of the new mil


The issue of an independent Central Bank: Should it be or should it not be?

Views - 6590 Monday, 12 August 2019 00:30

Public debates on public policy should create informed citizens With the news release that the Government is going to introduce a new Monetary Law Act, commonly known as MLA – the law under which the present Central Bank (CBSL) has been established


Sri Lanka’s debt sustainability: Way out is not just to sustain debt but to come out of it

Views - 6298 Monday, 5 August 2019 00:20

In the previous article in this series (available at: http://www.ft.lk/columns/Sri-Lanka-s-debt-sustainability-Way-out-is-not-by-patchwork-but-by-long-lasting-strategies/4-682828 ), we presented the views expressed by two leading economists, Professo


Sri Lanka’s debt sustainability: Way-out is not by patchwork but by long lasting strategies

Views - 4798 Monday, 29 July 2019 01:55

In a recent panel discussion on Sri Lanka’s debt sustainability – nicknamed A Hole in the Pocket – jointly organised by the Marga Institute and the Open University, two leading economists – Central Banker turned University Don Sirimevan Colom


“Sri Lanka’s future lies in producing exportable manufactured goods”: Dr. Howard Nicholas

Views - 6221 Monday, 22 July 2019 01:30

Drawing lessons from Vietnam’s experiences The Sri Lanka-born economist attached to The Hague based Institute of Social Studies – Dr. Howard Nicholas – addressing a packed audience consisting of the alumni of the Postgraduate Institute of Manag


SL’s future depends not on outdated feudalistic system but on becoming partner of a digital economy

Views - 5648 Monday, 15 July 2019 01:10

Calling Sri Lanka an agriculture-based country is a misnomer A widely-held view by many Sri Lankans is that Sri Lanka was an agriculture-based economy in the past and it should be so even in the future. The first part of this argument is only half-t


Sri Lanka’s elevation to upper middle income status: Attainment is welcome but challenges are more

Views - 8338 Monday, 8 July 2019 00:00

Sri Lanka is now an upper middle income country The World Bank, in its 2019 country classification release, has elevated Sri Lanka from a lower middle income country to an upper middle income country. This has been based on the average income of a Sr


Joan de Zilva Moonesinghe: A tough banking examiner to the end

Views - 3326 Monday, 1 July 2019 00:00

The departure of a tough banking examiner Joan de Zilva Moonesinghe who made a sudden departure from us last week wore many hats in her relations with me. She was my friend, colleague, fan, critic, advisor, and in many respects, mentor. Of late, she


Boycotting Muslim businesses and stoning offenders: Democracy fails when citizens fail to speak up

Views - 8307 Monday, 24 June 2019 00:20

News was out last week that the Chief Prelate of the Asgiriya Chapter of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka had made a controversial public pronouncement. I believe that he has mostly been misunderstood by his critics as well as his followers. The Vener


Those who go by social proof are easy prey to crafty schemers

Views - 6398 Monday, 17 June 2019 00:20

Going after social proof Swiss writer and novelist, Rolf Dobelli, in one of the essays in his 2013 book ‘The Art of Thinking Clearly’, has given a fine warning to his readers. He has warned against going by ‘social proof’ or ‘majority view


Nationalism helps democracy to survive, but only up to a limit

Views - 6307 Monday, 10 June 2019 00:20

Claim that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala-Buddhist country Sri Lanka is hailed by many, mainly by those who are ethnically Sinhalese and religion-wise Buddhists, as a Sinhala-Buddhist country. This is not an arrangement which it has got under its Constitutio


Institutionalise macro policy to make it sustainable: Dr. Coomaraswamy

Views - 4150 Monday, 3 June 2019 00:20

Delivering the first memorial oration of the late A.S. Jayawardena in Colombo last week, the incumbent Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy emphasised the need for institutionalising the macroeconomic policy being presently pursued by the


Disregard of governance principles by political leadership should come to an end

Views - 6339 Monday, 27 May 2019 00:20

In this uncertain world, there is one thing about which Sri Lankans can be absolutely certain. That is, they can be pretty sure that they would wake up every morning to news of gross disregard of good governance principles by the country’s politica


Enemies of democracy Part 3: Democracy has no meaning if mobocracy can rob the people’s property

Views - 6290 Tuesday, 21 May 2019 00:00

Property rights are the corner stone of any economy Property rights of people are at the foundation of any economic system, whether it is free-market, statist, or socialist. People do what they do in an economy if they can enjoy the fruits of their l


Educated youth leaving the shores of Sri Lanka: Is it brain drain or brain gain?

Views - 6621 Monday, 13 May 2019 00:20

Many have expressed their concern about the rising incidence of educated youth leaving the country for employment in developed countries. This is specifically a relevant issue in a background of Sri Lanka’s labour force falling as observed by the W


Economy is not in proper shape in the paradise island

Views - 4776 Monday, 6 May 2019 00:10

The Annual Report of the Central Bank for 2018 analysing in minute detail the state of the country’s economy today and outlining the prospects for the next five years has just been released (available at: https://www.cbsl.gov.lk/en/publications/eco


Global terrorism threatening democracy should be tackled at global level

Views - 5213 Monday, 29 April 2019 00:10

Call for rising above narrow prejudices or biases The gruesome killing of unsuspecting civilians in Sri Lanka by an extreme Islamic group connected to Islamic State or IS last week has been roundly condemned by local – religious, political, and civ


USJ does it: Bold attempt at combining innovation with art

Views - 6160 Monday, 8 April 2019 00:20

Relying on manpower or divine powers? The University of Sri Jayewardenepura or USJ, celebrating its 60th Anniversary as a recognised university this year, had hosted two main events to mark it. One involved in kicking-off of USJ’s long-term vision


Ven. Rahula’s Sathyodaya: Let truth be awakened in top leaders and CEB people

Views - 9235 Monday, 1 April 2019 00:29

Two events bearing on each other Two events that had no direct connection to each other but could have a bearing took place in Sri Lanka last week. One was the AFP report about an unconventional method used by the country’s power producer, Ceylon E


Handagama’s Asandimitta: Not mere psychoanalysis; sociocultural, political and economic analysis too

Views - 7084 Monday, 25 March 2019 00:30

Sri Lanka’s award winning film director, Asoka Handagama, screened his latest creative work, Asandimitta, before an invited audience in Colombo last week. This was a prelude to its public release, which was to be commenced immediately. Handagama i


Dissecting the 52-day saga: A forensic analysis by a forensic expert

Views - 6314 Monday, 18 March 2019 00:00

It was 7:30 in the evening on 26 October 2018. The day being a typical Friday, Sri Lankans had been settled for yet another uneventful weekend. Many had sat in front of TV sets watching their favourite teledramas. Suddenly, viewers got alerted by a n


Today's Columnists

Find out where he is going – In pursuit of the consumer journey

Monday, 21 October 2019

I remember very clearly the excitement of buying our very first TV set. My dad and mum excitedly chatted about it. They spoke to all their friends who had TV sets at their homes. My dad virtually had an analysis of brands and what his friends said we


Vote for the candidate with the best team of advisors

Monday, 21 October 2019

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


Fixing lending rates and waiving farmer loans: two policies that do not augur well for borrowers

Monday, 21 October 2019

Two policies relating to lending Recently, there were two policy pronouncements relating to lending, one already implemented by the Central Bank and the other being proposed for implementation by the SLPP presidential hopeful, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, tha


Ministry of Tourism: A nation rich in hospitality

Monday, 21 October 2019

GOALS n10 million visitors n$ 18 billion earnings from tourism ACTION PLAN 1. Introduce a Nation Branding Strategy for Sri Lanka focusing on 1. Tourism 2. Exports 3. Governance 4. Culture 5. People 6. Airport, immigration and investment 2. Airpor


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