Columnists,W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

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

Views - 1467 Monday, 17 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 1972-76 Five-Year Plan and its diagnosis of economic ailments

Views - 6256 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 - 6777 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 - 6664 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 - 6526 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 - 6468 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 - 6341 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 - 6071 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 - 4742 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 - 5153 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 - 2191 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 - 1250 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 - 2800 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 - 314 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 - 416 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 - 461 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 - 664 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 - 1683 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 - 561 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 - 466 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 - 801 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://


Graduates have responsibility to impart digital knowledge to fellow citizens

Views - 448 Monday, 23 July 2018 00:10

Let me congratulate all those who receive their degrees today at this General Convocation on the achievements they have made.


Disruptive economy and poverty of knowledge: Sri Lankans have a lot to learn

Views - 767 Monday, 16 July 2018 00:00

The poor are usually defined as those who are below a given level of income that would be insufficient to meet their basic needs. In my view, the poor – no matter whether it is an individual, family or a nation – are those who are unable to read


Resolving the paradox of rice-poverty amidst plenty

Views - 965 Monday, 9 July 2018 00:10

Sri Lankans are great rice eaters. On average, they eat 108 kg of rice per person per year as against the world average of just 54 kg per head. A plate of rice eaten by an average Sri Lankan is usually equated to Adam’s Peak or Samanala Kanda.


The killing of ‘the leopard’ and call for the return of ‘a Hitler’

Views - 933 Monday, 2 July 2018 00:00

Last week, the mainstream media as well as social media was abuzz with two explosive stories.


Crisis-ridden Sri Lanka economy: Time for economics to prevail on politics

Views - 2276 Monday, 25 June 2018 00:10

Sri Lanka’s official statistics bureau, Department of Census and Statistics or DCS, has released the country’s 2018 first quarter provisional economic growth data in its website (available at: http://www.statistics.gov.lk/national_accounts/dcsna_


Craving a world with free migration of Homo sapiens

Views - 613 Monday, 18 June 2018 00:00

During the discussion time following the presentation of a paper by former diplomat Tamara Kunanayakam on the invasion of Sri Lanka’s economic policymaking by neoliberal economic thinkers two weeks ago, Colombo University’s economics don Lalithas


Sri Lanka has lost economic sovereignty, target of neoliberal economic hitmen: Tamara Kunanayakam

Views - 1486 Monday, 11 June 2018 00:00

Tamara Kunanayakam, formerly a UN official and Diplomat and presently, civil and human rights activist cum public voice maker,


Mahathir’s second coming: Lesson for Sri Lankan leaders ‘Deliver what you promise’

Views - 1019 Monday, 4 June 2018 00:10

The election of 92-year-old Dr Mahathir Mohamad, commonly known as Mahathir, to premiership by Malaysian voters, especially the young voters, has been a surprise to many.


Channa de Silva: ‘Technology should be for people’s convenience'

Views - 842 Monday, 28 May 2018 00:10

Channa de Silva, CEO of LankaClear, Sri Lanka’s official clearing and payment services provider, declares convincingly: “I firmly believe that technology should be for improving people’s convenience.”


Today's Columnists

Reaping relevant results: Reflections on ‘Mind before Action’

Monday, 17 December 2018

The recent political turbulence that shattered the prestige edifices of governance proved several fundamental points. For me, one such is the need to have holistic thinking with emphasis on far reaching implications before taking a crucial decision.


The quality of some justice

Monday, 17 December 2018

We must, if we are rational beings and not mindless beasts, treat the herd instinct with due vigour. In the week before the Incarnation of the Son of God, a Son of the Soil seems fit for Crucifixion. The UNP’s sleek bloodhounds, some crossover SLFP


JVP’s task ahead

Monday, 17 December 2018

Ranil Wickremesinghe has reclaimed his Prime Ministership, not because he deserved it but because of President Sirisena’s impulsive irrationality driven by hunger for power and because of a determined commitment by JVP, TNA and Muslim parliamentari


If the new regime fails to uphold democratic good governance, society will bark loud and bite

Monday, 17 December 2018

Let the leaders of the new regime clearly realise that the civil society and citizen voters are watching with eyes open, ears attentive, and minds alert, and the body ready to spring into mindful strategic action to establish whether the much hard-fo


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