Columnists,W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

USJ does it: Bold attempt at combining innovation with art

Views - 6069 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 - 9118 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 - 6866 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 - 6252 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


‘Khema’s Boy’ does it: Comes up with a non-election budget in an election year

Views - 7405 Monday, 11 March 2019 00:10

Speculation that Budget 2019 will be an election budget Prior to the presentation of the Budget 2019, there was wide speculation that it would be an election budget. There were at least two elections in the pipeline and the expectation was that Finan


Budget 2019 should not fall into the pitfall of being an election budget

Views - 6317 Monday, 4 March 2019 00:20

Race to offer free goodies to voters in election years The tradition in all developing countries has been that just before elections, politicians in power choose to offer the general public a host of unaffordable free goodies in the hope of winning t


Budget 2019 should be an innovation-inspiring budget

Views - 6447 Monday, 25 February 2019 00:10

It is the habit of every finance minister to call his budget a development budget. This is despite all budgets since around 1956 having allocated a bulk of resources – about 75% – for consumption and not for capital formation. Even then, the mon


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

Views - 6271 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 - 6234 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 - 6230 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 - 6488 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 - 6811 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 - 6679 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 - 7251 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 - 7366 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 - 6738 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 - 6626 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 - 6464 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 - 6845 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 - 6750 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 - 6578 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 - 6496 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 - 6376 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 - 6151 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 - 4887 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 - 5217 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 - 2235 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 - 1309 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 - 3038 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 - 335 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


Today's Columnists

On time – Only for a week! A must-change!

Thursday, 18 April 2019

We are in April and the month where we witness the declaration of a new year as per our traditional practice. It is that period of time when a huge majority of our population, which certainly can be counted in millions, intends to act in unison and q


Unholy trinity is unholy to Sri Lanka from all fronts

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Let us see the background of the unholy trinity or impossible trinity or trilemma. Every country is challenged with international monetary policy which will in return decide the fate of the economic growth. Three strategies available are;


Is it the plane or the pilot?

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The two recent crashes involving Boeing 737 MAX twin-engine jetliners have brought flight safety into sharper focus than ever after many decades. This is in many ways a story of success breeding complacency. Airline safety has improved beyond belief


Is Sri Lanka capable of a course correction?

Thursday, 18 April 2019

The genesis of Sri Lanka’s current political and economic problems can very well be traced back to several structural issues of the country, both politically and culturally. It is no secret that from the outset of the war in Sri Lanka, the country


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