Columnists,W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

SL growth profile: Arrest moving down the staircase immediately to avoid hard landing on the floor

Views - 6144 Monday, 18 February 2019 00:50

Strong message in the Sri Lanka Development Update 2019 Sri Lanka Development Update for 2019 was released by the World Bank last week. This document contains a review by the bank’s residential staff of the present state of the country’s economy


Attack on ATMs: The use of the ‘eyeball test’ involving vigilance is the best

Views - 6164 Monday, 11 February 2019 00:20

It seems that the genetic code of modern Homo sapiens is not different from that of other species. The latter is guided not by thinking but by instincts. Similarly, Homo sapiens is still embedded with the ‘gene of fear’ that compels it to ‘figh


Good governance and economic development

Views - 6189 Monday, 4 February 2019 00:10

The rationale of economic policy governance could be explained by drawing on the viewpoints expressed by French economist, philosopher and legislator Frédéric Bastiat in two of his publications, one in 1848 and the other in 1850. In the first publ


Good governance and economic development

Views - 6431 Monday, 28 January 2019 00:30

The presence of good governance at both the public and private sectors in a country has been viewed as a positive contributor to sustained economic growth. At the private sector level, practising good governance principles will enable the stakeholde


Banks should subsume technology before technology subsumes them

Views - 6692 Monday, 21 January 2019 00:08

Returning to IBSL is like ‘coming home’ It is a privilege for me to return to the Institute of Bankers of Sri Lanka, popularly known as IBSL, after the lapse of some 10 years. I had a long association with IBSL from its very beginning – from ar


Seeking IMF support is necessary, but ailing economy needs permanent treatment

Views - 6665 Monday, 14 January 2019 00:10

Hitting a dying man on the head A high-level delegation led by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has left for Washington DC to meet IMF’s high-ups. The purpose? To negotiate for the restoration of the Extended Fund Facility or EFF temporarily su


Sri Lanka’s deep economic crisis:Wasted four years and a wasting election year

Views - 7180 Monday, 7 January 2019 01:30

By the time the present Government came to power in 2015, Sri Lanka was in a deep economic crisis. Its growth had slowed down from a peak of 9% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2013 before recovering temporarily to 5%, still a low rate, in 2014. Exports had been


Binod Chaudhary’s wisdom: You can make it big if driven by an undiminished passion for achievement

Views - 7324 Monday, 31 December 2018 00:00

I recommend Binod Chaudhary’s autobiography – ‘Making It Big’ – to all readers. As the title says, the message is that if it is small now, make it big. By implication, it also advises us to make it bigger if it is big and the biggest if it


Economy at a crossroads: The way out for Sri Lanka

Views - 6681 Monday, 24 December 2018 00:00

The analysis so far In the previous part, we noted that Professor H.A. de S. Gunasekara, the first Ceylonese professor of economics at the University of Ceylon, was a legend in economics teaching in Sri Lanka. His doctoral thesis to the University of


Sri Lanka’s economy at crossroads: The ignored export sector for creating prosperity

Views - 6529 Monday, 17 December 2018 00:00

The analysis so farIn the previous part, we noted that Professor H.A. de S. Gunasekara, the first Ceylonese Professor of Economics at the University of Ceylon, was a legend in economics teaching in Sri Lanka. His doctoral thesis to the University of


Sri Lanka’s economy at crossroads: The 1972-76 Five-Year Plan and its diagnosis of economic ailments

Views - 6426 Monday, 10 December 2018 02:00

The economist who produced ‘From Dependent Currency to Central Banking’ Professor H A de S Gunasekara, popularly known as HAdeS, was a legend in economics in Sri Lanka. The doctoral thesis ‘From Dependent Currency to Central Banking in Ceylon


‘In the opinion of the President’ doesn’t mean arbitrary choice, but going by simple arithmetic

Views - 6821 Monday, 3 December 2018 00:00

President is not first master, but first servant of the Republic The man-made constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka has now entered its second month with no solution in sight. It has entailed enormous costs on the economy, eroded the credibility of the


Moody’s downgrade of SL sovereign debt: A pat for Central Bank, while slapping the President

Views - 6729 Monday, 26 November 2018 01:11

Moody’s Investors Service, in a recent ratings change, downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign debt from B1 to B2, while improving the country’s economic Outlook from Negative to Stable (available at: https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-downgrades-


Man-made constitutional crisis: Personal vendettas should not be allowed to destroy the country

Views - 6556 Monday, 19 November 2018 00:00

President is simply one presiding over an entity of people It all came to surface as the culmination of a personal vendetta between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The country at large knew of it when the Pre


The flash election: A political way out or an instance of one mistake leading to another?

Views - 6485 Monday, 12 November 2018 00:00

Adverse economic consequences of executive action In a flash move, Parliament was dissolved last Friday by President Maithripala Sirisena, claiming he had powers to do so under the Constitution. It was not a sudden executive action, but the culminat


Hastily delivered ‘midnight goodies’ will derail budget, despite assurances by Finance Ministry

Views - 6364 Monday, 5 November 2018 00:00

Midnight goodies package According to a press release by Ministry of Finance (available at: http://www.treasury.gov.lk/article/-/article-viewer-portlet/render/view/program-for-economic-revival), a number of fiscal measures to relieve the public have


With this man-made Constitutional crisis, economy will be the casualty; resolve it quickly or perish

Views - 6124 Monday, 29 October 2018 00:20

Two prime ministers without a Government The political change that took place in Sri Lanka last week has driven the country to a constitutional crisis. The President, while removing Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe from office, has appointed form


IPS’s State of the Economy Report 2018 is a demonstration of its independent analysis of the economy

Views - 4840 Monday, 22 October 2018 00:00

Economists are at the receiving end of society today when it comes to economic crises. They have been blamed not only for giving confusing advice, but also for failing to predict accurately the oncoming economic catastrophes.


The fate of the rupee: Time to stop playing the ‘blame-excuse-blame games’

Views - 5201 Monday, 15 October 2018 01:27

As I have presented in a previous article titled ‘Rupee’s Sad Destiny of One-way Journey to Depreciation’ (available at: http://www.ft.lk/columns/Rupee-s-sad-destiny-of-one-way-journey-to-depreciation/4-654254), it has been a historical tragedy


Sri Lanka can still open the window of opportunity: Dr. Amarakoon Bandara

Views - 2218 Monday, 8 October 2018 00:00

My former colleague at the Central Bank and presently Senior Economic Advisor to UNDP, Dr. Amarakoon Bandara, delivering a public lecture at the Bank on Growth Dynamics, has opined that Sri Lanka can still open its window of opportunities if proper p


The fate of the rupee Part II: Need for addressing issues at root

Views - 1297 Monday, 1 October 2018 00:00

In the previous part, we looked at how the Sri Lanka rupee has been continuing its one way journey to depreciation ever since the country gained independence from Britain in 1948 (available at: http://www.ft.lk/columns/The-fate-of-the-rupee--Central-


The fate of the rupee: Central Bank is caught with ‘Devil’s Alternative’

Views - 2980 Tuesday, 25 September 2018 00:00

Not all are losing when the rupee depreciates The recent depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar in the market has apparently driven the entire nation to a panic mode. While it had been a field day for the media and opposition law makers, the


Part III of the Central Bank Anniversary Oration Central Bank should play role of a smart wife to mo

Views - 325 Monday, 17 September 2018 00:00

In Parts I and II of this series, it was presented that Central Banks, created by society and not by politicians, have the mandate to preserve the value of money which the public holds on trust. The Central Banks could do so by producing money by usi


Part II: Central Bank Anniversary Oration 2018 Hawks, doves, swingers and pigeons in Central Banks

Views - 420 Monday, 10 September 2018 00:03

In the previous part (available at: http://www.ft.lk/columns/Revisiting-Central-Bank-s-independence/4-662019 ), it was presented that Central Banks are required to use their power to print money responsibly, so that people who hold those moneys have


Revisiting Central Bank’s independence

Views - 491 Monday, 3 September 2018 00:00

It is good to be back after 9 years, if I use a slightly amended phrase borrowed from Madonna, the pop singer. When she visited Argentina, 13 years after she had played the main role ‘Eva’ in Evita, to sing to an ecstatic live audience ‘Don’t


Challenge of learning is how to transform information to wisdom: Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai

Views - 675 Monday, 27 August 2018 00:00

The outgoing President of the Thailand-based Asian Institute of Technology or AIT, Professor Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai, is an unconventional academic.


Singapore miracle – How SL could benefit from trade with Singapore

Views - 1723 Monday, 20 August 2018 00:00

According to a media report released by President’s Media Division, a committee of experts has been appointed by the President to examine and report on ‘the practical impact and use of the proposed officer policy guidelines and recommendations on


Part III: National Export Strategy 2018-22: Focus on selected sectors welcome but challenging

Views - 628 Monday, 13 August 2018 00:52

In the previous two parts of this series (available at: http://www.ft.lk/columns/Part-I--National-Export-Strategy-2018-22--Disrupt-the-economy-fast-if-the-goals-are-to-be-attained/4-659860; http://www.ft.lk/columns/Part-II--National-Export-Strategy-2


Part II: National Export Strategy 2018-22: Introducing measurable physical targets

Views - 483 Monday, 6 August 2018 00:00

In part I of our analysis of the National Export Strategy or NES (available at: http://www.ft.lk/columns/Part-I--National-Export-Strategy-2018-22--Disrupt-the-economy-fast-if-the-goals-are-to-be-attained/4-659860), we commended the Export Development


Part I: National Export Strategy 2018-22: Disrupt the economy fast if the goals are to be attained

Views - 828 Monday, 30 July 2018 00:00

Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board, better known as EDB, released the country’s National Export Strategy, dubbed as NES, last week after conducting a series of national consultations for over a year with main stakeholders (available at: http://


Today's Columnists

Discipline and freedom under the reign of Gota

Saturday, 23 February 2019

There’s nothing like a well-crafted marketing slogan for a prospective Presidential candidate. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is emerging more clearly into the daylight as the Opposition’s candidate for executive president. Against a redone image in the back


The chainsaw massacre and other ‘lawful’ horror stories

Friday, 22 February 2019

Admit it. The headline hooked you. Hope you won’t be disappointed. There are no gory scenes featuring dismembered limbs here. However you might read about the long arm of the law being truncated. Perhaps a chilling scene where the mask of the murde


What went wrong with Sri Lanka?

Friday, 22 February 2019

If Sri Lanka wants to get out of the present miserable situation, it needs to make a profound change, a paradigm shift in the way it views at everything including the religious, political and economic issues. Such a change could be made only by loo


Regulating foreign workers now a top priority

Friday, 22 February 2019

Sri Lanka is today facing a domestic labour shortage in some key sectors and industries. While demographic, social attitudes, expansion of the economy and outward labour emigration are contributing to the shortfall. Generally a lack of interest in ce


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