Columnists,W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

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

Views - 6365 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 - 3379 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 - 7095 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 - 6162 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 - 7084 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 - 6582 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 - 6220 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 - 4770 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 - 6173 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 - 5624 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 - 7943 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 - 3317 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 - 8297 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 - 6394 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 - 6297 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 - 4142 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 - 6334 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 - 6283 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 - 6344 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 - 4766 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 - 5196 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 - 6157 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 - 9226 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 - 7045 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 - 6302 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 - 7438 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 - 6346 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 - 6482 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 - 6339 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 - 6328 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


Today's Columnists

State of the economy of Sri Lanka

Saturday, 21 September 2019

I am not an economist nor do I profess to be an economic analyst. The views expressed in this presentation are those of a layman who has always been interested in the economic progress of Sri Lanka.


Premadasa, Père et Fils

Saturday, 21 September 2019

We are what time, circumstances and history has made of us. We are trapped in history. At age 77, I refuse to trap history in my mind. This essay is an obligation to history. Although J.R. Jayewardene introduced ‘Executive Presidentialism’, coer


Economy, business community and the Prime Minister

Friday, 20 September 2019

The speech made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Chief Guest of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019 deserves very careful consideration by the country due to several reasons. This will no doubt be his last speech on economic policy to be


Sri Lanka needs to invest more on soft infrastructure

Friday, 20 September 2019

Developing countries like Sri Lanka will have to prepare for further downside risks in 2020 with the growing debt problems and the growth problems in Europe and the slowdown in Asia. Slower growth is already visible in weakening global trade and comm


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