Columnists,W. A. Wijewardena,Opinion and Issues

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

Views - 7460 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 - 7415 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 - 6793 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 - 6778 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 - 6585 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 - 6865 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 - 6770 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 - 6608 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 - 6511 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 - 6393 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 - 6203 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 - 4940 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 - 5251 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 - 2257 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 - 1333 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 - 3114 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 - 351 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 - 446 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 - 511 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 - 735 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 - 1806 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 - 753 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 - 538 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 - 899 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 - 575 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 - 836 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 - 1038 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 - 969 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 - 3890 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 - 685 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


Today's Columnists

We need to challenge climate change doubters before it is too late

Friday, 23 August 2019

Imagine a London where the entire subterranean region is engulfed with dirty water. Crammed train carriages that once barrelled along 249 miles of track transporting busy office workers, builders, teachers, civil servants, cleaners and students now r


The Provincial Council Elections – The charade goes on

Friday, 23 August 2019

Originally the SLPP was keen to hold the Provincial Council Elections (PCE) immediately after the Local Government Election results as they felt the PCE would go in their favour. PCE were held under the Proportional Representation system. The relevan


The presidency and the dilemma of the Presidential Election

Friday, 23 August 2019

J.R. Jayewardene created a presidential system not because the parliamentary system of governance that preceded it had failed. He wanted to take over all the powers of the State and assume the status of ancient kings who ruled the country in the past


Enough power in the presidency for the right person

Friday, 23 August 2019

The presidency has not much power some say, but I would say there is plenty for the right person. By intention or otherwise, our Constitution leaves the presidency to be defined by the person occupying the chair. Maithripala Sirisena (MS) showed us t


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