Columnists

Be warned! Monetary Board is losing its powers as well as its independence

Views - 6925 Monday, 22 August 2016 00:02

   Two ominous measures by the Ministry of Finance Two disturbing news items that appeared in the press last week portended that the Monetary Board of the Central Bank was fast losing its powers as well as its independence. Bot


Economics of A.S. Jayawardena Part II: Our man in the Bank of Ceylon

Views - 6212 Monday, 15 August 2016 00:01

   A.S. Jayawardena   The story so far In Part I of this series we looked at how AS was transformed from a radical socialist economist to a free market economic thinker. It was noted that both the London Sc


Economics of A.S. Jayawardena 1: The birth of an extraordinary economist

Views - 6260 Monday, 8 August 2016 00:00

   Many Faceted ASJ Amarananda Somasiri Jayawardena, fondly addressed as AS by his friends, celebrated his 80th birthday last week. His friends, followers and disciples got an opportunity to pay tribute to this legendary man at


Good sign that the Monetary Board has finally risen to discharge its obligation to the nation

Views - 6932 Monday, 1 August 2016 00:01

   The Monetary Board decides to tighten monetary policy The Monetary Board in its latest monetary policy review done last week has decided to make money more expensive to people. People here include all within Sri Lanka &


Students’ troubles in universities: A question of misconceived cultural property rights?

Views - 7257 Monday, 25 July 2016 00:01

   Being the hotbed of trouble in the correct direction is a must Sri Lanka’s state-owned universities have always been hotbeds of trouble. Troubles are good for universities if they are in the right direction. U


Prema-chandra Athukorala Chinthana: Joining production sharing chain is the way out for Sri Lanka

Views - 6765 Monday, 18 July 2016 00:00

  Sharing production with the rest of the world The Sri Lankan-born economist of international repute and Australian National University Don, Prema-chandra Athukorala, offered a new economic policy strategy for Sri Lanka recently. He d


Direct sale of government securities: Demon or servant?

Views - 6312 Monday, 11 July 2016 00:00

  The demonised direct sales of Treasury bonds The Central Bank has been telling the public again and again since March 2015 that the sale of government securities directly to primary dealers is faulty. According to the Bank, the syste


The dream of a train enthusiast: Ride a Viceroy Special to the moon

Views - 5781 Monday, 4 July 2016 00:10

  A railway enthusiast to a fault Hemasiri Fernando is known in Sri Lanka and abroad as a sports administrator, bureaucrat, banker and entrepreneur. He is little known as a train enthusiast, though it was his hobby from his early child


Brexit: Are the UK Universities and the research sector the biggest casualty?

Views - 4975 Monday, 27 June 2016 00:10

Ryan Randall plays the bagpipes outside a polling station in Edinburgh, Scotland, in this Reuters picture. Brexit was fought on emotional grounds rather than on hard core economics or political realities    Brit


Cherry Blossoms – When an economist becomes a creative writer: That is the wonder of Sriyani Hulugal

Views - 5468 Monday, 20 June 2016 00:10

   The cover of Sriyani Hulugalle’s collection of short stories and poems ‘Cherry Blossoms’   An economist becoming a creative writer Economists are known for being heartless because


Bond fiasco and confronting the Auditor General: Monetary Board should be more mindful of its obliga

Views - 5753 Monday, 13 June 2016 00:00

   COPE directing the Central Bank to cooperate with AG A recent news item has reported that the parliamentary watchdog, the Committee on Public Enterprises or COPE had summoned the Central Bank Governor and his deputies on a c


Monetary Board’s latest statement on ‘bond fiascos’: A step backward and waking-up from a demonic dr

Views - 6724 Monday, 6 June 2016 00:20

 Implicit admission of guilt The Monetary Board of the Central Bank has at last chosen to break its stoic silence over allegations against two main Treasury bond fiascos supposed to have taken place in the Treasury bill and bond market in S


Handagama’s latest indictment: Fantasising educated middle class should wake up from their dreams

Views - 7275 Monday, 30 May 2016 00:10

   A film director famous for indicting others Asoka Handagama, an award-winning film director of international repute, has been known for using his medium to serve contemporary society with indictments. His first movie, &lsquo


Coming out of the economic crisis: Time is running out for Sri Lanka

Views - 7329 Tuesday, 24 May 2016 00:10

For Sri Lanka to attain its goal, it is of utmost importance to consolidate the budget which has gone out of control due to falling revenue and soaring expenditure   Crisis manifesting as a foreign exchange shortage Sr


Wisdom of a Monetary Board impassively watching over a fast declining capital base

Views - 6737 Monday, 16 May 2016 00:00

 Central Bank’s response is a salutary development A response issued by the Central Bank (available at: http://www.ft.lk/article/540589/Central-Bank-has-its-say-over--Continuously-loss-making-Central-Bank-is-no-better-than-Sri-Lankan-


Reintroducing repatriation requirement: Have the Finance Ministry and Central Bank gone back on thei

Views - 6963 Monday, 9 May 2016 00:10

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran  – File photo Move to change exchange control into exchange management Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in presenting the Economic


Continuously loss-making Central Bank is no better than SriLankan Airlines

Views - 7086 Tuesday, 3 May 2016 00:02

Central Bank capital depletion is also a landmine under PM’s feet Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, supported by Senior Minister Sarath Amunugama, castigated SriLankan Airlines in a recent press briefing (available at: http://www.ft.lk/


A cherry-picking Monetary Board when another major ‘bond scandal’ is rubbing on its nose

Views - 7002 Monday, 25 April 2016 00:10

Source: EconomyNext  Monetary Board is the authority on monetary policy The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has issued a response (available at: http://www.ft.lk/article/536676/Central-Bank-responds-to--Dilemma-in-Monetary-


Economic crisis management: Consensual logical and consistent policy package is need of the day

Views - 5946 Monday, 18 April 2016 00:05

   Taking a completely contradictory view to the wisdom pronounced by IMF Mission, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran is reported to have dismissed the need for monetary policy tightening   An economic cr


Hilmy Cader’s Fine Advice to Exporters: If the objective is to prosper, confront reality and think s

Views - 6484 Monday, 11 April 2016 00:10

MTI Consulting CEO Hilmy Cader - Pic by Daminda Harsha Perera A powerful shake up of exporters  In a recent forum and discussion on the country’s exports organised by MTI Consulting and Daily FT in Colombo, MTI Head H


Dilemma in monetary policy: Monetary Board being caught in ‘The Devil’s Alternative’?

Views - 8708 Monday, 4 April 2016 00:00

Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran    Disappointing the market’s predictions When the Monetary Board of the Central Bank was due to announce its monetary policy decision in March 2016, the market


Right to Information Bill: A defeat of public aspirations for transparency in the Central Bank?

Views - 7211 Monday, 28 March 2016 00:10

 Pledge to allow citizens to get information from public bodies There was an important pledge given by the current government in its Manifesto seeking election to power at the General Elections held in August, 2015. That was to introduce me


What is wrong with our ailing tea industry and where does its cure lie?

Views - 5722 Monday, 21 March 2016 00:01

    Tea should have a wider angle than a mere beverage At a panel discussion following an evening presentation organised by the Institute of Certified Professional Managers or CPM in Colombo last week, a questioner from the a


ETCA or any other policy is destined to fail if not properly managed

Views - 5731 Monday, 14 March 2016 00:00

Critics say that ILFTA has favoured India and not Sri Lanka. This is a misconception and a conclusion arrived at by glancing at the information available on the surface     The best economic policy doesn&


‘Padeniya Chinthana’ on ETCA: Govt. should fight it in intellectual forums, not in the streets

Views - 7444 Tuesday, 8 March 2016 01:19

Management of Economic Policy 4 The crusader of good governance in healthcare system Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya, Medical Specialist and President of the 18,000-member strong Government Medical Officers’ Association – be


Management of Economic Policy 3: Sri Lanka should tap global unbundling opportunities of services un

Views - 6212 Monday, 29 February 2016 00:10

   The need for wide public consultation when trade agreements are signed The first article in this series warned against the secrecy surrounding the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement, now known as ETCA, which the G


ETCA is not CEPA in all respects, but it should be made public to allay fears

Views - 6022 Tuesday, 23 February 2016 00:10

Management of Economic Policy 2  Taking note of the widespread protests which CEPA had run into earlier by a section of the services sector organisations in the country, the new Government, it appears, has presented it in a rebranded


Sri Lanka faces crucial tests ahead with growing opposition to ETCA

Views - 6670 Monday, 15 February 2016 00:00

Management of Economic Policy 1  Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe  Linking Sri Lanka to the global market The proposed Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement or ETCA has been one of the crucia


Central Bank’s clarification on EPF has unwittingly refuted Prime Minister and Minister of Finance?

Views - 5819 Monday, 8 February 2016 00:10

   Selective response by EPF to concerns raised The Central Bank has issued a clarification, carried by Daily FT in its print edition of 1 February 2016, on the Monetary Board’s alleged failure to publish the annual


Hausmann and Govt. in the hot seat

Views - 5762 Monday, 1 February 2016 00:00

Consult two economists and get a multitude of opinions    Ricardo Hausmann - AFP   Economists are a funny species. You speak to two and get three opinions. But in today’s contex


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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