Columnists

Education is not a commodity: but it is and it should be negotiable

Views - 7367 Monday, 27 March 2017 00:10

Students claim that education is not a commodity ‘Education is not a commodity’ has been a popular view almost universally held by Sri Lanka’s student community in higher learning institutions. For them, it is non


US interest rate hike: Sri Lanka has no alternative but to follow the suit

Views - 7052 Monday, 20 March 2017 00:01

US interest rate hike is linked to all other interest rates  The Federal Reserve Bank – the central bank of the United States of America – announced last week that its benchmark interest rate would be increased from 0.7


The inconclusive IMF review and challenges ahead for Sri Lanka

Views - 6289 Monday, 13 March 2017 00:01

The Central Bank’s funding of the Government budget is highly undesirable since such funding would be in the form of creating seed money – known as base money or reserve money – that would generate money supply increases


ABC of Trumponomics: Can it make the US a great nation?

Views - 6278 Monday, 6 March 2017 00:01

US President Donald J. Trump Addressing a joint session of the Congress US President Donald J. Trump outlined his economic philosophy – known as Trumponomics – to a joint session of the Congress last week (


Restoring ‘Economic Democracy’: Is it an elusive goal?

Views - 6424 Monday, 27 February 2017 01:47

President Maithripala Sirisena Promised delivery of economic democracy to people One of the pledges made by the present Government in its election manifesto titled ‘The Five Point Plan for creating a new country in 60 mont


SAITM and private medical schools: One bad start should not lead to throwing away a good idea

Views - 7739 Monday, 20 February 2017 00:01

Opposition to SAITM SAITM, the abbreviation for Sri Lanka's newest private university, South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (available at: http://www.saitm.edu.lk/), has been denoting a derogatory meaning in Sri Lankans' pres


Central Bank’s mad rush to mandate credit: Shocking banks is not in accord with PM’s Social Market E

Views - 6355 Monday, 13 February 2017 00:50

  Mandating credit allocation without fanfare The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has, without fanfare or publicised press conferences, issued a one and a half page long circular to commercial banks urging them to maintain a mini


The Good Governance Government should not ignore Sri Lanka’s slipping down on the World Rule of Law

Views - 9142 Monday, 6 February 2017 00:06

King Elara’s observance of the Rule of Law to the letter According to a story in Sri Lanka’s great chronicle, Mahavansa, a Tamil usurper named Elara of the Uju tribe had invaded Lanka in the 2nd century BCE and ruled the northern par


In defence of the Auditor General: The Govt. should not blind its ‘third eye’

Views - 7751 Monday, 30 January 2017 00:26

Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe An Auditor General under fire by political authorities The Auditor General of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, a position created by its Constitution, has been of late at the rece


Steamrolling of Central Bank by Minister of Finance: An unsavoury development?

Views - 9091 Monday, 23 January 2017 00:38

An unsavoury rift between the Central Bank and Minister of Finance A growing rift between Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and the senior management of the Central Bank is surfacing now, worrying both financial markets and prospective fo


GSP + may be restored but Sri Lanka has to act fast to harness its full benefits

Views - 7345 Monday, 16 January 2017 00:05

A positive report by EU on Sri Lanka A report published by the European Union or EU on 11 January 2017 (available at: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/html/155236.htm ) has concluded that Sri Lanka has completed all the requirements needed


When a Governor speaks like a Governor.....

Views - 8430 Monday, 9 January 2017 00:15

Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy When a Governor speaks frankly, the market responds positively When a Governor of a central bank speaks like a Governor, he is sure to receive two types of response. His candid spe


Formalising economic management through Development Bill: Another communication failure by the Unity

Views - 7054 Monday, 2 January 2017 01:15

A development bill running into a messy situation The Unity Government managed to have its Budget 2017 passed in Parliament by a two third majority. From the public pronouncements which the top leaders had made, one could infer that it had boost


Economy 2017: The alarming signs should not be ignored

Views - 7614 Tuesday, 27 December 2016 00:05

Year 2017 marks two anniversaries The year 2017 dawns with two anniversaries. One is the sixth anniversary of this series analysing economic and related issues. The other is the second anniversary of the good governance government tha


Reform the Central Bank, but don’t erode its independence

Views - 6655 Monday, 19 December 2016 08:46

     Prime Minister wants a more independent Central Bank Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in the economic policy statement he presented to Parliament in November 2015, pledged that his Government would ‘


Thriving in a digital age: Digital currencies pose the biggest threat to banks – Part III

Views - 5446 Monday, 5 December 2016 00:05

  This is the final part of a revised and improved version of a paper published in the Association for Professional Bankers 2016 Annual Convention Publication titled ‘Thriving in a Digital World’.  Part I of this paper


Thriving in a Digital Age: Digital currencies pose the biggest challenge to banks – Part II

Views - 5451 Monday, 28 November 2016 00:01

  This is part II of a revised version of the paper published in the annual publication of the Association of Professional Bankers or APB under the title ‘Thriving in a Digital World’ in conjunction with its 28th anniversa


Thriving in a Digital Age: Digital currencies pose the biggest challenge for banks – Part I

Views - 5698 Monday, 21 November 2016 00:01

  The Digital Age is not new or alien to the financial services industry. When the new breakthroughs of information and communication technology (ICT) hit the world in the early 1960s, it was the financial services industry that embra


Budget 2017: Significant improvement if not marred by policy inconsistencies and interference with t

Views - 5522 Tuesday, 15 November 2016 00:18

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake delivering the Budget Speech     A significant improvement in Budget 2017 The Budget 2017, presented by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Parliament on


EPF should be investigated promptly as recommended by COPE

Views - 5147 Monday, 7 November 2016 00:05

  COPE recommendation: Investigate EPF fully The COPE report on the bond scam in the Central Bank from February 2015 to May 2016 has come up with, among others things, a very strong recommendation relating to EPF.  It has rec


The COPE report on bond scams: Not two reports as claimed but single one by 25 members

Views - 6927 Monday, 31 October 2016 00:01

  COPE report on bond scams The much talked about report by the Committee on Public Enterprises or COPE on the irregularities that are alleged to have taken place in the issue of Treasury bonds by the Central Bank from February


Fiscal reforms: An imperative for sustained growth

Views - 5335 Monday, 24 October 2016 00:01

SLEA 2016 keynote   Above 7% growth is needed to sustain the economy Sustained growth is normally viewed from two different angles today. One is from the point of environment and depletion of non- renewable resource


The Monetary Board’s wake up from slumber while hunting a whistle-blower

Views - 5727 Monday, 17 October 2016 00:02

  In two press releases issued last week just four days apart, the Monetary Board of the Central Bank has shown that it is now ready to stand up to its responsibility by the nation.  Silencing a whistle-blower The first press


Whistle-blowing on Perpetual Treasuries: Embarrassing but vindication of CB’s supervisory staff

Views - 9597 Monday, 10 October 2016 00:01

  A whistle-blower in the Central Bank The market last week was livid with a leaked on-site examination report, claimed to have been prepared by Central Bank’s primary dealer supervision staff, on the controversial primar


A Governor transforming adversity to prosperity

Views - 5010 Monday, 3 October 2016 00:10

Governor A.S. Jayawardena with President Chandrika Kumaratunga   The devastating attack on the Central Bank AS became the Governor of the Central Bank in December 1995, a kind of a ‘coming-back-home&rsquo


Techno City is the first step in the right direction but there is much more to be done to attain the

Views - 5853 Monday, 26 September 2016 00:02

Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe signs on the digital drawing of the Techno City during its launch yesterday while Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka and Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premajayantha


Sri Lanka’s bloodless revolution on 8 January: Malith Jayathilake has now spoken out

Views - 8009 Monday, 19 September 2016 00:02

Malith Jayathilake presenting the book to President Maithripala Sirisena  Architects of 8 January revolution are speaking out Those who were behind the scene leading to the bloodless revolution of 8 January have started to


Fear of ETCA: Is it Davids fearing to fight Goliaths?

Views - 10108 Tuesday, 13 September 2016 00:05

Small fellows can beat big fellows through proper brain power Malcolm Gladwell’s 2013 book ‘David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants’ is about how small fellows should fight with big fe


The falling education and healthcare expenditure ratios should worry the Yahapalana Government

Views - 6609 Monday, 5 September 2016 00:01

The promise to increase the expenditure on education and healthcare services University academics had agitated from around 2012, coupling with their demand for a hike in salaries and other perks, for an increase in government expenditure on edu


Economics of A.S Jayawardena Part III: AS’s short spell as Central Bank’s Economic Research Director

Views - 6354 Monday, 29 August 2016 00:10

The summary of the episodes so far The first part of this series looked at how AS, a radical socialist economist in his young days, was converted to a free market economic thinker. The second part dealt with how he took forward the mission of th


Today's Columnists

Bringing beedi into tax net can yield Rs. 40 b in revenue

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Last week, the Financial Times quoted an AFP article that stated Sri Lanka will start regulating the toddy industry to boost tax revenues from the informal sector. This same principle should be applied to the beedi trade, which has also grown unabate


Grade 5 Scholarship examination and the future of the country

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

The Grade 5 scholarship examination results have been released recently. Although this is known as the “Mothers’ exam,” the mentality of the children can be well articulated when children come from the examination halls after the exams. Today w


Need for tax reforms: Government should not lose it this time but go for them early

Monday, 23 October 2017

In the first economic policy statement, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made a number of pledges related to taxes and tax reforms. One was that the Government would review whether the tax concessions given to investors have really delivered the e


Lessons from Geneva

Saturday, 21 October 2017

‘Mission Impossible – Geneva’ is an inspiring account of developments at the Human Rights Council in Geneva when Dayan Jayatilleka was our Permanent Representative there. It is written by his wife Sanja, which provides for fascinating insights


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