W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

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

Views - 5016 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 - 6295 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 - 6022 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 - 4675 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 - 5105 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 - 2178 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 - 1202 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 - 2594 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 - 309 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 - 408 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 - 451 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 - 660 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 - 1659 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 - 540 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 - 458 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 - 792 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 - 442 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 - 763 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 - 957 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 - 931 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 - 1747 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 - 608 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 - 1431 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 - 1011 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 - 834 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.”


Mangala’s Gam Peraliya: Good move but essential requirement a village level database

Views - 881 Monday, 21 May 2018 00:10

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera, announcing the Government’s decision to move for a flexible fuel price system based on international prices built into a pricing formula, made a side announcement as well.


Introduction of fintech regulatory sandbox by Central Bank is a move in correct direction

Views - 1148 Monday, 14 May 2018 00:10

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has recently announced its intention to create a sandbox for financial institutions to experiment with new financial technologies


Rohan Pallewatta: Man who has proved that Sri Lanka can also do

Views - 9186 Tuesday, 8 May 2018 00:10

A speaker with a guitar Imagine a scenario like this. You invite a CEO of a successful start-up company to speak to your students. Your wish has been to drive the message home to students that they do not have to live with a constant defeatist mental


Rupee’s sad destiny of one-way journey to depreciation

Views - 1410 Tuesday, 1 May 2018 00:10

Sudden fall in the value of the rupee The recent media reports have been abuzz with a sudden fall in the value of the Sri Lanka rupee against the US dollar, the benchmark currency used by Sri Lanka to quote the external value of its currency. The C


Designers of Sri Lanka’s Future: Episode I Nihal Ranasinghe

Views - 886 Monday, 23 April 2018 00:10

To sustain economic growth, Sri Lanka needs a critical pool of daring people who would see things differently and design a new future.


Today's Columnists

Constitutional paradox: There is no such thing called Election Commission

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Our Constitution, which was certified by Parliament on 31 August 1978, has 19 amendments; the First Amendment to the Constitution was certified by the Speaker in the same year on 20 November. By the end of 1988, there had been 14 amendments made to t


‘So Sri Lanka’ – upgrade staff, processes, infrastructure at BIA arrivals to be world’s best!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

24 October, time 12:47 p.m., place – my residence in Colombo My phone buzzes with a WhatsApp message from my old colleague Prasad Fernanado now with Saudi British Bank in Saudi. I am thrilled to see the message ‘Sri Lanka top country for travel i


Qatar crisis: From the Sri Lankans’ point of view

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The aim of this article is to examine the Saudi blockade over Qatar and its impact in the past 17 months on the country. A special focus will be given to the Sri Lankan workers who have been living in Qatar for the past two decades. The reason why th


The reality of Sri Lanka – household end!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Whilst Sri Lanka is debating what is right and wrong on the governance of the country, the Sri Lankan household is falling part due to escalating costs, as per the latest data released by respected research agency Nielsen. For the seventh quarter in


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