30 May, 2020

Blog

Borrowing When Bankrupt: Paying For A Corona Stimulus

By Daniel Alphonsus

Daniel Alphonsus

“This is a crisis like no other” declared the managing director of the IMF, an institution not known for overstatement. There is no doubt that a fearsome storm is upon us  when this alarm is followed by “never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill” and “this is way worse than the Global Financial Crisis”. 

Even at this early stage, the coronavirus pandemic leaves an unprecedented economic shock in its wake. High-frequency indicators suggest globally synchronized supply and demand shocks, combined with a flight away from emerging markets and other risky asset classes. To make matters worse, there is no ‘Committee to Save the World’ a la the East Asian Crisis, or concerted G20 action, which held the global economy together during the Global Financial Crisis. The abdication of US leadership and Sino-US tensions, the primary causes for limited global coordination today, could not come at a worse time. 

A quick survey of the real economy in Sri Lanka makes this apparent. As I write this article, most economic activity has come to a standstill. With social distancing measures in place, consumers are unable to consume. Investors are unable to invest. Exporters are unable to export. The tourism, aviation and apparel sectors have ceased almost all operations. This is just the beginning. As the shock filters through the economy, even if actors are able to spend, they may not be willing. Animal spirits will be muted, savings for a rainy day will rise. Demand will fall significantly across the economy for a sustained period of time. 

If consumers, businesses and the global market cannot generate demand, then the government must step in. This is the dearly purchased lesson of the Great Depression. If the government fails to write large cheques and many of them; businesses will fold, banks will bust and mass unemployment will follow. An increasingly large body of evidence – called the hysteresis literature – suggests that such large and prolonged recessions change the structural path of countries, through the destruction of skills and social cohesion. We cannot allow this to happen. 

Tragically Sri Lanka’s public finances were already precarious prior to this crisis. The upshot is simple. If the government writes the cheques needed to keep the economy afloat, many will bounce. The sources of this fragility are both old and new. Sri Lanka has historically maintained a high debt-to-GDP ratio. However, since 2007 Sri Lanka’s risk exposure increased considerably. In addition to a high debt-to-GDP ratio, the Sri Lankan government liberally borrowed short-maturity debt from international markets at high-interest rates. Until 2017, when the VAT rate rose, this borrowing spree was paired with an exceptionally low and falling tax-to-GDP ratio. The gains of 2017 to 2019 were reversed, and more, with the tax-cuts earlier this year. 

This slow train to default accelerated with the constitutional coup in late 2018, the Easter bombings, the myopic tax-cuts and now the coronavirus pandemic. All in all, Sri Lanka’s public finances are in an exceptionally stressed state. 

The recent depreciation of the rupee is exacerbating this situation. As the rupee falls, Sri Lanka’s debt-to-GDP ratio rises. This is because about half of Sri Lanka’s public debt is denominated in foreign currencies. Rising debt-to-GDP ratios further erode investor confidence and could lead to further pressure on the rupee (capital controls help for a time of course). There is also the temptation to accelerate monetary financing of the deficit when government revenues experience such a shock. In the last month alone, the Central Bank printed money to purchase 170 billion rupees worth of Treasury bills. This too places pressure on the exchange rate. 

Implementing the standard fire-fighting tool-kit is a key first step. First, secure the best possible bail-out package from multilateral and bilateral creditors. Here too, goodwill is not at a high. The Government of Sri Lanka gave the IMF the proverbial finger early this year – making mockery of the fiscal deficit target and structural benchmarks, such as the Monetary Law Act. That relationship will have to be restored immediately. Second, swap lines are playing an increasingly important role in crisis fighting too. The Central Bank and Foreign Ministry should be working hard to expand existing foreign currency swap lines, such as those with the People’s Bank of China and Reserve Bank of India. In addition to opening new ones, such as with the Bank of Japan. Third, the $500 million grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation is vital. There can be do delay. Parliament must also be convened to place revenue and borrowing measures on a legal footing. This will help restore some small measure of donor and investor confidence. It will also resolve the problem where between 30 April – the end of the Vote on Account – and 14 May  (on some readings the date of the activation of Section 150(3)), it is unclear whether any person or agent in the government has the authority to spend funds or raise debt. 

However even a generous bail-out package, deft Central Bank action, access to grants and restoring the legal footing underpinning public finance will not be sufficient. With a collapse in both demand and supply, the government must provide a record stimulus. To avert an unprecedented depression, the government must spend lavishly and swiftly. But the government cannot spend. It does not have the fiscal space to do so. Markets expect a default before October. Yields on government debt are reaching the triple digits on secondary markets, up from the mid-single digits even in the aftermath of the Easter Bombings. The recent $220 million issuance of Sri Lanka Development Bonds only attracted $22 million worth of bids. Therefore, the challenge is to find ways for the government to borrow so that it can spend to replace consumer, business and export demand. 

The following thoughts are speculative. The ideas are unorthodox. They have not been examined carefully. But these are not ordinary times. Following tried and tested methods will almost certainly fall short. Boldness, speed and creativity are called for. In these circumstances, the perfect is the enemy of the good. Therefore, I share these ideas not with confidence but as a vehicle for generating a conversation on how a highly-indebted country like Sri Lanka can generate the financing for a large fiscal stimulus amidst an unprecedented crisis. 

In normal times, asset sales would have been an obvious choice. The government could sell the assets it has hopelessly mismanaged in order to finance a stimulus. But there are two problems with this approach. First, any asset sale will be at firesale prices. Second, it will take time to conduct such a sale. But there are less conventional instruments for raising capital fast.  

Thus far all public debt issued by the Sri Lankan government has been uncollateralized. That is no Treasury bill, Treasury bond, Sri Lanka Development Bond or International Sovereign Bond grants the holder a security interest in any asset. 

However, many other countries, especially those with poor credit-ratings like Sri Lanka have issued collateralized bonds. They provide a way to access credit at lower interest rates because they are linked to a real asset. This may be one of very few avenues Sri Lanka can use to tap capital markets at this desperate time. 

Cabinet has already approved the creation of a holding company for assets owned by the Government, such as the Hilton, Hyatt and Grand Oriental Hotels. Other government owned assets can also be included in this holding company to create a diversified and substantive asset pool. This can also be complemented by shares the government owns in publicly-listed companies. For example, the government owns significant stakes in SLT, NDB and DFCC.  

Backed by this holding company’s assets, a special purpose vehicle can issue a couple of billion dollars worth of bonds on international capital markets. It should be very clear that this bond does not have a government guarantee. This helps ensure that any re-scheduling or conversion of the debt that may take place in the future does not affect the Government’s unblemished repayment record of over seventy years. 

Concomitantly, even if the bonds are issued under US law (as is the case with Sri Lanka’s international sovereign bonds), investors will be concerned about their ability to enforce their security interest in the event of default. The Government can offer comfort on this anxiety too. Considering the desperate need for these funds, it would be constitutionally proper for the President to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on the enforceability of that interest. In terms of cash-flow confidence, the Government could make selection of holding company directors a responsibility of the Constitutional Council. Such an apolitical and transparent process will help appoint professional management. Thus creating investor confidence in cashflows needed to repay the debt.  

The funds raised by this bond can be used for infrastructure projects that generate an economic stimulus. For example, they can be used to fund projects in public transportation, energy, industrial parks and airports. Ideally the projects will be PPPs, as they enable further mobilization of capital and thus stimulus. While the projects are being prepared to become shovel-ready, the SPV can lend the money to the Treasury or state-banks to generate an immediate economic stimulus.

Even should the holding company default on debt in a couple of years, the liquidation of assets will take place after the peak of the crisis passes. Therefore, asset prices are likely to be more reflective of their value in tranquil times. Moreover, the liquidation will be managed transparently – perhaps via a stock exchange listing – helping ensure the tax-payer obtains the highest value, something that cannot be taken for granted in an ordinary Sri Lankan privatization. 

The UDA, Ceylon Government Railway and other government agencies with significant real assets can undertake similar initiatives on a smaller scale. The UDA and CGR own large swathes of premium undeveloped real estate. By issuing a collateralized bond backed-up by this real-estate, they can build low-cost, high-density housing, mixed developments and shopping centers. This will also add to the stimulus, improve living standards and help in urbanizing Sri Lanka’s population. 

This is an unprecedented crisis. No one but the government can make any real difference. But options are few. Old taboos will have to revisited. Creativity will be required. To plagiarize Hank Paulson and Mario Draghi, two of the heroes of the last crisis, the government must beg, borrow or steal a financial bazooka to do “whatever it takes”. Without a record fiscal stimulus, a lockdown of a few weeks or months could lead to stagnation for years. Even a timeframe of decades cannot be ruled out at this stage.  

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Latest comments

  • 6
    2

    Any one when sick and to present him self to a doctor first thing that come to the mind is charges doctors fees that he have to pay then wait for such fund where sickness is more next day is it not possible giving the poor an insurance card for worth RS 5000 just to identify his sickness. then direct to next treating doctor as first opinion considering the severority patients or if the sickness is spread to others and others to be that hard to stay 6 feet away from wife because of some one & the goverment has to spend huindread of thousands.

    • 11
      3

      our country is today a wonderland. when a srilanken boarded ship sailing near to the island, allow to enter him to the country, is boasted by them as a great thing… but arbitorily leaving loads passengers, not having properly control for CORONA is underestimated. Ruling politicians paint their party symbols EVEN in the food rations being distributed these days. people of this country should be well aware of the facts, that state funds are their people s funds.
      :
      Listen to his speech of yesterday, he there says, that he has provided some 5000 bucks a family even if families contradict his statements. why lies are being sowed? why the very same stupid people are hurt ? is it a moment to hurt the wounds of the very same people ?

      .
      Tax payers funds being abused to paint the picture in favour of tri-Rajapakshes(Gota may have neutral thoughts, but that highly corrupted baesil and mahinda cross his principles)
      .
      Once by 2015. they were defeated, having gone an extra mile regarding the high corruption of statefunds. but the very same people and their memory lose charactor made them back to loot.

      Are these both (nation and balligeputha Rajaakshes) shameless born idiots ?

      • 8
        4

        Daniel, thanks but why have you uncritically accepted the Covid 19 panic narrative that is meant to crash the economy and concentrate wealth among the global elite in the first place?

        Please see these links at Global Research also on Fake Covid 19 data

        https://www.globalresearch.ca/what-happens-in-the-wake-of-the-covid-19-lockdown-economic-destruction-global-poverty-bankruptcies-mass-unemployment-neoliberalism-to-the-rescue/5707270

        • 1
          4

          I saw some where, DEPOPULATION WAS THE OBJECTIVE, may be at least in some locations.. There are other things going on simultaneously, You find if you read. Nostradamus or some one predicted a THIRD WORLD WAR at the similar time periods. More than one organisation in the USA got prepared for this except the manufacturing or invention of a vaccine. They say, some Fort Direc, was closed because of uncleanliness, They promoted the escape of germs.
          If it is Wehan’s animals, it can not go to ZERO infection.

          • 2
            1

            JD
            The Third World War arrived long ago without announcing itself as such.
            The US has been at war with the world from some time after WW2.
            WW3 has been mostly fought piecemeal after the humiliation in Vietnam, using proxies, surrogates and now more remote control. Chemical and biological warfare have all along been part of the package.

        • 2
          0

          Dead on Don, Terribly naive Daniel:
          What needs to be done is to LIFT the CURFEW that is destroying the economy and not the debt ceiling that Mangala the hairdresser wants to do.
          The LKR rupee has slid to 200 because of the total failure of this US puppet regime to protect the economy against the Covid 19 panic narrative and GROUPTHINK fear psychosis which is really a war on the global economy to make America great again.
          Also collatarlizing debt with national assets is a VERY BAD IDEA, because paper or fiat or printed money debt generated due to the Covid 19 fake epidemic and economic shut down in South Asia will be used to asset strip the country further by the Washington Consensus and ADB
          Greece-like debt crisis is where Sri Lanka is headed with US citizens running the country at this time and being black mailed to crash the economy on the fake Covid 19 panic – as the case data clearly shows. It does not warrant shutting down the entire economy of the country.
          Meanwhile USAID funded civil society sleeps and the left is dreaming of the revolution… Miracle of Modayas!

          • 0
            0

            Money is needed for both ways; for local investments and to deal outside, for loan repayments & imports. For local need, without worrying about inflation, print it. For external needs fledge the assets, with possible option of disposal, and issue bonds. This is not as dangerous as loans with options of allowing foreign governments taking over the assets. If the asset went on sale, without the bonds redeemed, have a term, that governments cannot subscribe to shares. If they were holding bonds, they must sell them. Another condition, Issuing authority can buy back any part of the asset. This is how the assets can be bought in the market back without surrendering anything. Instead of all these jugglery, if the government boost its image on Law and Order, Nepotism, Kleptocracy, Racism….. FDI will inflow without pain.

      • 8
        2

        You have to file legal action against Chinese for this and claim damages. This is the best situation where you could stop paying the loans given by China, withdraw the lease of Hambantota port and Colombo port city given to China and kick them out. Will China lackeys Rajapkse idiots have he guts to do it.

        • 2
          2

          You are obsessed.
          See a doctor of a different description.

        • 1
          1

          Dr. GS, An educated person would not talk like you. You are educated. Where do I go for answers!

          • 1
            0

            You are a swabsha educated fellow with low IQ, who cannot understand sarcasm. First update your English language and then try to elevate your IQ.

        • 1
          1

          Dr G S

          Spot on.

        • 2
          1

          The Chinese government should be taken to the International Court for hiding/not open about the Coronavirus at the initial stage. This is the route cause this pandemic. Sri Lanka government should seek compensation or else, should take over all Chinese assets in the country, including the Port City.

      • 0
        2

        babalawathie

        You seems can’t grasp anything correctly. Only Samurdi families are given Rs 5000. In addition for families whom occupation was interrupted due to current situation will be given another 5000 Rs. Minority people like you are not satisfied with anything. Today people are sad about the world situation. People like you are searching for ant holes to blame somebody. It is inherit in their genes.

        • 1
          0

          Latha,
          please for the sake of the destitute in this country, please open your Kakka SMEARED eyes. Then you could probably see it right.
          Bps of the currnt virulent outfit are highly biased and they just dont contribute those free rations to anyone but to their supporters. Their backthroughts are to hold election and grab power above the other parties. But wait and see, they would face it as a glass wall would snap to tiny pieces. Alone the below information could open your eyes,
          if you would watch is with wisdom. Those who come forward and express themselves are UNI dons that are experts in their fields in the country, But bps in power rely on GMOA – the most abusive association that is proved to have let die people due to their consecutive strikes asking DUTY free or other benefits.
          :
          Please LATHA, be unbiased with your information … open your eyes wider…. please dont let Rajapakshe rapist forces to appoint you as their ambssadors.
          :
          Hope Karama would not punish you. God bless SRILANKA

        • 1
          0

          Latha, please elaborate us, why you guys would not see the truth as it is ?
          Please STUDY the info that will lead you through the link below…
          .
          Once again Meeharaka Rajaakhse led groups back to his usual business. Gotler may be somewhat normal, since he lived 1.5 decades in the US, assuming the fact, even dog spent some years on the west, would not go back to lanken LINGMAEDI thinking….. there, I still respect him, but I have no doubt, he is like being SERVILE to his brothers… being younger to them… he just let things happen even if he may be reluctant to let so.
          :
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwugBDxHFXQ

          Until 2015, he did it pawning even unborn children to CHINA, now lack of expertise and not relying on them, we are fallen to all edges now.
          :
          I think if current BURUWAS would not listen to the experts but to their goons, this country, after CORONA crisis, would fall to the very same level as is the case in Libya.
          :
          I know Dr Harsha De Silva, he is very honest young POLITICIAN. He has not earned a cent abusing TAX payers funds. But Rajapakshes are always upto that.

        • 0
          0

          ” Today people are sad about the world situation. IMmmm IMmmmm…..IMmmmm…..IMmmmmm” You crying?

          Sooooo sad you are, Lathan? Please allow me to wipe the tear. You are so worried about the world when even Buddha, Allah, Siva & Jesus all have united and sent the Covid 19 Small soldiers to earth to humiliate the human being; but your Kleptocracy Goverment is the only one worrying about the world. Anne Pavum!

          • 0
            0

            Mally, You are getting better and better each day…
            This is a Bottler .. Mate..

            I think Dr Rani , Dr Rajitha Mr Karu, Mangala Samare , Ranajan Ramanayaka , Hirunickers, Rauf Hakeem and Bathudeen would have protected our poor Inhabitants much better with the help of IGP Pujith , General Senanayaka, Defence Sec Hemasiri and the CID Abeysekera than the Kleptocrats whom you are on about….

            BTW those things which you call Covid 19 Small Soldiers looks like Covid Suicide Bombers….

      • 0
        0

        Please get your facts right.
        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6HvHdOzq-s

        .

    • 9
      2

      President seems to be servile to his brothers, going by childhood problems.
      But he doe snot voice about the any highc crimes being promoted by POHOTTUWA ballige puthas.
      :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DNyd_pEcmk

      This is not the first time, there had been one another POHOTTUWA PS leader, by name, Raththaran, aka Kattadiya, Rajakshes ball licker.. did the same to a 16 year old school going girl, .. but the POLICE investigations were buried under the carpet, sinde POHOTTUWA would be damaged, if other way around would have been the case.
      :
      Pohottuwa is filled with BALLIGE puthas incl. rapists, chain robbers, fund robbers and even multi criminals. .. murderers etc. These men should all be JAILED at least for few years, if President would go for it, then things would change towards the majority of this nation.
      :

    • 6
      0

      cORONA victims entered and mingled with srilanken unknown people are more than the numbers being daily displayed by local media. these numbers are known to ministry of health, but being hidden, under the threat being excersised on them by the the ruling govt. anyways, even if they hide them, but those victims should come out their caccoons within next two weeks because corona without proper health assistance, would be deadlier than common cold. Poor laborers returned from Korea and Italy without having legal documents may be hidden before the local police. If the number in neigbouring Nepal keeps that low, despite their double size of tourist arrivals, why srilanken authorities as an island nation failed to control it – is the unanswered question, that we the people raise let alone today.

    • 5
      0

      In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and politicians have announced a 30 percent pay cut, while pensions of former politicians have also been trimmed. Our politicians are enjoying full benefits !!
      Private sector bosses are cutting their pay to minimize job losses and the private firms are runing out of cash, whilst state workers can be paid by printed money (liquidity injections or Central Bank credit), which then triggers a depreciation of the currency. Sri Lanka’s state workers however are getting their full pay, though only the health service and key agencies are operating.

      When will we learn???

      • 1
        2

        Sri Lanka should fire and reduce the number of politicians. This time May be two politicians maximum got this decision. During the eelam war also one higher official and the politician. So, get rid of most of the crooks. Even though they are paid heavily, they do not work the 110 days (that they must work) a year

      • 0
        1

        Where is Baluwansa and Gommanpila vociferous racists targeting the Tamils and the Muslims begging from India for food and medicine.

    • 1
      1

      We need an end to this illegal corruption unconstitutional governance by the Rajapaksas immediately…

      Reconvene parliament immediately!

      Rupee is rapidly falling, Covid is being mismanaged, they have no clue about constitutional governance, the poor are going hungry.

    • 0
      1

      Srilanka is the number one to promote racism against their minorities.
      .,
      These aer the evidences.
      .
      1) Seventh COVID19 patient was reported to die yesterday evening – and not a single word was added about his ethnic background, since the VICTIMIZED man in mid or late 40ties should be a sinhala by his ethnic background.
      .
      2) Until few days ago, they the TWO ORIFICes OF Rajapakshe MEDIA mafia, never shied a second to expose the ethnic background of anyone.
      .
      3) And the dead person yesterday is beleived to have retured to the country touring to Germany and had gone missing not having let him treated well.
      :
      What I believe today – is, he was found to be bit late, and entire services stood against him. THat is the REALITY of lanken HOSPITAL services incl. Health ministry of the day.
      :
      They ballige puthas, let THAT barbaric Trade UNION to speak as if they were the EXPERTs in community based diseases, while leaving the UNIVERSITY dons and higher professionals of each medical faculties out of their mediation. Acutally, any one with a bird brain should focus NOT on their political goons right aththis very critical ju ncture of the nation, being fallen with FEARs of uncertainity….. experts in the area.
      Yesterday only THOSE university dons came out and were given the chance to HEART out about the situation.
      Professors in Universities should be the leaders at this criticial moments.. as a guide to the nation.
      GMOA maswaddas that ABUSED their POWERs to the core being servile to Rajakashes brutal politics should go out of TV persensece.
      They are being hated by PEOPLE….. they should NOT represent medical EXPERTs of this country

  • 9
    2

    the first thing to do is to go back to the tax policies of the previous govt

  • 4
    13

    Mr. Alphonsus: Neo liberalism has failed miserably. Even in the recent past, Sri lanka had so many problems, Some times, two wars at the two corners of the Island. Sri lanka did not sell assets. For the last five years, once the war was over, we got a very bad govt, they emptied tha banks, then Zaharan blew up. Npw this Covid-19 even though we did not create it.
    Five years ago or more Taiwan, and Singapore gor prepared to a Corona Virus epidemic. Even the USA companies and research organizations had so many programs such as simulation models, They claimed that USA and the UK are the best prepared for such an epidemic. Some how they miscalculated it and they did nor prepare vaccines for that and now only research for Vaccines. MY POINT, THIS FORTUNE TELLING IMF DID NOT PREDICT THAT OR DID NOT FORECAST ANYTHING FOR THE THIRD WORLD.
    a COUNTRY CAN NOT GO BANKRUPT as a company or an individual because, there are tax paying citizens. So, only thing is manoeuvre. Nothing of the sort that you talk must be done. Just calm down and act wise because it looks that LTTE WAR IS ON ALL OVER AGAIN FOR SRI LANKA. So, they may be hiding even among sinhala people and even inside he parliament. Be prepared. Only thing GODS OF THE FOUR CORNERS AND THE GOD OF THIRTY THREE HELP US, POOR but spiritual people.
    I know some countries as they are not doing well, use this as an opportunity and go for quantitative easing. I think Sri lanka began that in 1980 even without any assets while both Che Guvera and LTTE were destroying Sri lanka.

  • 2
    3

    Sri Lanka gets very strange economic advice. WB/IMF comes and say that Sri lanka is a middle income country of US 4200 per year or so. It may be because of service jobs such overseas maids and Tourist service industry. On the other hand, rating agencies come and give NEGATIVE RATINGS to Sri lankan major banks (so forget small financial institutes as negligible). On the other hand, retail interest rates in developed countries are ZERO PERCENT or near rates. But, Sri lanka borrowed from USA Lenders at high rates.
    What you say look like another way of presenting what MCC – compact said. I do not know whether you are working for Path Finder Foundation.

  • 1
    2

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  • 8
    2

    Gota has bitten off more than he can chew. Serves him right. Sri Lanka is the new international basket case! Let him enjoy being the president of a horribly failed state inhabited by a majority of modayas.

    • 0
      2

      Gota chewed more than he could even at the LTTE annihilation. NGOs were crying out loud the same voice. Any Ms. CORONa is bad.
      How many were arrested today for disobeying the curfew.

      • 0
        1

        Rajapakse family is safe and living happily while the poor people have to stand on line for hours to buy their groceries.

  • 4
    10

    At a time when economic policy is swinging from a stale neo-liberal globalism to a pre-1977 neo-isolationist conservatism, we desperately need bold, out-of-the box ideas such those of Daniel Alphonsus, one of the smartest Sri Lankan minds of his age cohort that I know of.

    • 2
      1

      Dayan

      Will you define and elaborate the following:

      neo-liberal globalism
      neo-isolationist conservatism
      Ideas of Daniel Alphonsus

      • 0
        0

        Dear Native, –

        That was Huge… mate. Dr Dayan has been extremely generous..

        Why don’t you ask Google?..

      • 0
        0

        Dear Native Vedda

        I wish you luck with your queries from the oracle who lives in an ivory tower.

        In these uncertain days, stay safe, stay sane.

  • 4
    1

    Daniel Alphonsus

    Crisis hasn’t come yet to economy.

    Lives are in crisis

    Economic crisis would start just after corona was defeated.

    Crisis will start only if humanity fails to make worldly resources common.

    Petroliam, Gold, precious stones, fertile land, water etc. etc. etc. should become common.

    1 language & no religion but 1 law to substitute religion; only will pave the way for future for humanity & planet earth.

  • 5
    1

    Let us not go back to the old ways. Let us not have the Millennium funds and hock the country to foreigners, Americans, Chinese or Indians. Let us :
    1. Ditch the neoliberal economics and go back to a primarily agrarian economy. This is the natural economy for our people of a fertile land.
    2. It will be a corrective to the greed that has afflicted us, the corruption of the politician, the penchant of the priest for benz cars instead of asceticism.
    3. Invest more on research into agriculture and earning export incomes from agriculture after feeding the people.
    4. Neoliberal economics leads to extreme nationalism, the growth of a majoritarian class that ensures that others are kept down through extreme nationalism.
    5. Ditching neoliberalism will get rid of the new class of rich who ride on the backs of the poor and bring a new politics of caring for the less privileged, not having self-aggrandisement as the sole purpose of life.
    6. Get the black and corrupt money back. Difficult because the most corrupt politicians are in power. But, even they could change knowing that the coronavirus has been the great equaliser.
    7. Think differently, not raise bonds on the international markets etc. further integrating our nation as a debtor to the world.
    8. What the curfew has taught us is that we can survive well on vegetables grown by neighbourhood farmers. Sell all the fancy cars. Tax the rich. Don’t depend on tourism as the next bomb is not far away in a racially divided country. Make this a truly Buddhist country by focussing on the farmer and farming.

  • 10
    2

    Make lemonade with our lemons
    ==============/===============
    NO MORE APPLE AND GRAPES.
    Let the elite join the poor .
    Be Sri Lankan, buy Sri Lankan.

    Do not stock anything imported, increase and stock only local produce .

    Increase all local meat production.

    Produce local sugar , which we have been only talking about since late Madam Sirimovos time , now is the time to make the talk walk.

    Stop using all vehicles that are petrol bowsers. ( at least till the pandemic ends and it will)

    Stop all projects , meanwhile banks , mobile services, etc, can employ lot of people who can work from home for them at a reasonable pay.

    Increase production of eggs and our own milk powder and fresh milk .

    We have rice . Promote rice flour along with wheat flour , so if we run out on wheat we have rice flour .
    Our local kothmali diary products are of very high international standard.

    We will survive and we will overcome

    But as long as hate , scapegoating communities with all form of phobias are stopped and also all communities being resp.onsible and shunning superstitions ( at least for now) and cooperates with the GOVERNMENT
    It’s not the end of the world and if we have to borrow ; then we must and will .
    Let us all live in day tight compartments
    Tomorrow the Sun will rice , tonite let’s dance under the moon light
    AYUBOWAN
    Peace
    Long live Sr Lanka !

    • 3
      1

      World economy is more dependent on developed nations than the developing. However, the symbiosis is the case. I dont think the world after CORONA crisis would be the same. The losses they incured these days are beyond estimation in Developed world. So ist he case in developing world too. But just imagine, some goods are no longer available in markets in europeeven if the demand is huge. :
      .
      Our nations became somewhat clear that we are no such powerful, even if some vicious politicians made us misled having

      • 0
        2

        Neo liberalism could not save the world. It worsened the COVID – 19 CRISIS. CONTRACTING OUT EVERY THING TO CHEAPER producing COUNTRIES did not work.
        Epidemiology of Covid can not explain fully the Wuhan origination. Iran, Italy and Spain are not friendly countries.

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      Father in Heaven,

      Let us have more neoliberalism so that the rogues from Jr to Chandirika to MR, Bondsman and Gota could prosper.
      Make us raise more bonds so that poofters could loot us and go away to Singapore after gifting a penthouse or two to ministers who keep coming back.
      Give us the 500 million under the Millennium deal so that like from the time of Pilimathalawa our country can be hocked to foreign powers.
      Give us the strength to hold the begging bowl in creative and novel ways so that we can have our daily bread

      Above all, lead us into daylight from Knight

  • 8
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    If JR had not freely distributed the large financial reserves Late Madam Sirimavo had saved at the suffering of our fathers and us, not started The LTTE war,shut down our factories , ONE was the world best plywood, was from our Corp. Todate there are no factories that can come even an inch close to that standard and had he listened to LKY , not to put the cart before the horse, and first improved and supported the farmers late .Mrs. Sirimavo had developped so well . Continued to improve our own cars the Mazda and fiat , then our local textiles .
    And then launched our National Carrier .
    Things would never have been bad.
    JR ruined Sri Lanka and his Nephew with his Ali babas finished the rest in 4.5 years .

    • 4
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      Fahim Knight

      I remember growing up in state of extreme austerity under Mrs B & in my opinion, the country went backwards in every way during her watch There was a monopoly & businessmen (& industrialists) were able to flog any rubbish product. As for Mazda & Fiat, Upali W capitalised on the monopoly state by assembling out of production models after buying the left over parts (rolling stock) once production had ceased. It was a short term strategy until stocks ran out at the manufacturer . It is my understanding that Mitsubishi (United Motors) & Isuzu (Sathosa/CWE) pioneered vehicle assembly in SL, which, if I am not mistaken, started before 1970 but did not flourish under Mrs B’s period. In comparison, India bought design rights to build out dated models from Fiat, Austin/Morris/Layland, Suzuki, Mercedes Benz etc & manufactured the parts locally but now makes vehicles by collaborating with manufacturers. There never was or is a motor vehicle manufacturing industry in SL. .
      As for the launching of the national carrier, wasn’t it JR who replaced a similar loss making enterprise by the name of Air Ceylon with another? At least her daughter had the sense to flog it to Emirates & save tax payers’ money.

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        What Mrs B did was right. only thing people were not communicated well what she was doing.

      • 0
        2

        The country was not a fraction as indebted as now. The process started in the 1980s.
        India was into motor industry very early. I think that it was nota clever idea to have a motor industry. Mrs B wanted to start manufacturing 2-wheel tractors. Not a bad idea.
        Air Ceylon was doing well at the time its name and mandate were changed.
        The Paddy Marketing Board did an excellent job with procurement, milling, and distribution of paddy. It was a creature of the 1970-77 government.
        There were several profit making ventures that were privatized or sold, mainly to pay for the war.
        Mrs B had the right idea about a national economy, but failed to appreciate that economic self sufficiency is not quarantine economics. All the small industries started by the 1970-77 government were callously wrecked by the ‘open economic policy’.

      • 0
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        Air Ceylon was bankrupt .
        We were loaded with reserves , and JR distributed it freely to his buddies.

        UPALU WAS still.alive , he should have encouraged him to.contiue and improve the industry, yes I agree it was assembled not manufactured , Siri mavo had some short commings I agree , especially nationalizing Tea Estates was one of the biggest blunders , but she really developed the farming industry .
        Monopoly will.be always there in any nation .
        But to code shop of all our local industries and Think of A National Carrier he had to be a mutt.
        We survived and our rupee was super strong.

        JR promoted racism and started a war remember and the 83 riots Raj , it’s JR arranged it.

        Most of the money he distributed as loans through our National bank are not recovered todate .

        Cont.

      • 0
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        Pardon.me .I meant to say close shop, not code.

      • 0
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        @Raj
        JR was an arrogant power hungry man.
        He did not care for the country or people .
        First he should have developed our railway with the amount of reserves we had , then the upgrading of public buses , Electricty , water , do you know building damns is most destructive? He should have instead had more catchments, organised the provinces into good self administrative , build
        Quality housing, eliminated racism completely with his excutive powers , no he abused it to the maximum.
        Created a bias system in the uni which left a war for thirty years which made us beggars.
        That is Jr’s legacy .

        He was a very cruel man he destroyed Mrs.Bandaranayake with inhuman revenge .

        Btw as far as I know CBK did not sell Air Lanka she went into a partnership * am.not very sure .you are free to correct me if I am wrong .
        ====
        I have zero respect for JR or his Newphew and his blue eyed boys and his admin Malik the liar and crook who took care of his blue eyed boys and robbed the nation fully , I hate the guy , because I love my Country .

        At least Sajith was sensible to take the best lot and move out , now burry UNP for good .it’s finished Kaputhe.Good ridden of
        Bad rubish

        AYUBOWAN, Namaskarem
        Peace
        SALAAM

      • 0
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        Btw another two blunders Late Mrs.Banadaranayake made was the Eliminating Englsh as our main working first language , Sri Lankans spoke Kings English and were the envy of Asia and admired with utmost repute by the West, then she let Badi destroy the British education by bringing in Stupid Soviet education and finally took the advice of two Communist dead ducks and changed the currency of 50 and 100 which effected mostly the poor and then they betrayed her
        She has just begun the free trade zones in Katunayake and rathamalana, had she won again we would be self sufficient today.
        Well A certain leader of a Country thought it’s a brilliant idea to change notes in this modern era and have got lot of stuff messed up.( not our problem)
        ====
        We were made to believe a lot of negative stuff against Mrs.B.other than the unfortunate uprising of the Then JVP militants, which she successfully wiped p5ut with minimum arms,. Yes we ate manioka and alla bathala, ate kadala paripu, our rice was rationed , we had to que to buy bread made of our non Tradtional flour, We drank tea with dates or hakuru.
        But we were were very happy , hospitable folks, United, zero racism , we ate from the same plate , drank from the same bottle , accidents and brawls between two people of different race and religion did not set the entire nation on fire .We freely patronized shops of all races .
        That is true joy and a Successful leadership .
        Cheers
        Fahim Knight

      • 0
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        I was told when the British handed over Sri Lanka Then Ceylon , we had Surplus .
        And immediately the mps used up all the cash to buy themselves Cars.
        While Malaysia used theirs carefully to plan and build their country .
        They have a well planned 13 federal states and to date never had an issue .
        Singapore built on zero budget kicked out of Malaysian Fedration , they are have various races and religions
        No clash they are first world nation today.
        Forget the rest of South Asian sub cont.
        We are nothing like them in anything not in looks , not our palet, not our culture. Not our mindset .
        Be it any Sri Lankan, even our local Chinese.
        .
        We are just unique.
        Why we never made it.
        To.much of religous interference from all religions into state affairs is no 01 issue , and the rest is all to do with fake love for ones race.
        If there was true love for ones race ; you will not find one single needy man , women or family in that race.
        Racism is the worst hypocrisy .
        All races have poor and neglected , wonder if anyone knows , even the BORAH community have class status .the poor are poor even among Borahs and they are kept at that level , only the privilege enjoy most , the super rich will dishout money to the government in show off when ever there is crisis but will make sure the pyramid of financial blocks are maintained , only difference is they will make sure they never beg, there are number of Borahs who are homeless , living on rent .and it’s the same with all races , the difference is Sinhalese has the majority, obviously as they have the largest population , followed by Tamils, Moors , Malays , Memons and so on.
        So race and religous community love is a lie.

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      Hon Fahim Knight. Nice to see at least one person speaking the truth.The grandson of Adrian Wijesinghe did what his grand father did, sold the country down the drain. Must be something in his genes

  • 7
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    Further thoughts.
    1. Concentrate on our traditional export earners; tea, rubber and coconut. Explore by-products and markets for them Also palmyras products in the North.
    2. New crops like cashew should be encourage.
    3.The old spice trade should be revitalised. Packeting and sale of spices must be done locally. Stop the garment industry and redeploy the workers into such new activity.
    4. Send the young auto drivers back to the villages to work in agriculture.
    5. Rationalize the number of banks which survive by creating an economy that functions on loans and promotes consumerism.
    6. Renegotiate national debts so that repayment is less difficult.

  • 6
    0

    Your Excellency The President and Hon.Prime Minister of The Republic of Sri Lanka .
    The home deliveries(Of everything), the total ban of cigarettes, alcoholic beverages are going to create a devastating nemesis.
    It will create all sort of black market mafias in everything and finally destroy the small merchants , from small pharmacies to grocery shops .
    Please consider permitting the small groceries to open freely , permit rationing cigarettes and some alcoholic beverages.
    And operations of bakeries so they can supply the small shops
    We can not let this destroy the small man and its a myth that banning tobacco or Alcohol has ever been successful, it will create more trouble to the government .
    We need to learn to practice decipline as a nation and let the local economy function.
    Please consider supporting small groceries through Sathose.
    Thank you
    Appreciating and grateful to all what you doing right now.
    Citizen Fahim Knight

  • 4
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    Rich to join the poor , try telling this to our politicians who are filthy rich, and still wants more. As I had mentioned earlier, international Governments and world bodies have started taking legal action against China, rightly so. I am sure quite a lot of our politicians and public, will be unhappy but then again this is not Silly Lanka to come up with ridiculous claims. China should pay the price for hiding and distorting information. For that matter Western Countries which did not take the initiation to get to know the real facts and failed to take anticipatory precautions are already paying the price, as in economic down fall. Lanka being the step brother of China will neither file claims nor get any loans in future.

  • 1
    2

    The government has given funds to many needy people. They will consume more goods. The prices may rise. Quick subsidies are needed for import substitution. The poor farmer should be given a package of funds, manure both organic and inorganic. The farmer should grow what the government wants. Subsidiexs direct where the farmer could invest.. This looks like the government policy.

    • 4
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      Mr. Wijeyesekara, are you the other Ranil’s brother.When was the money given whose money is it?

      Do not be a fool.

  • 4
    1

    First, recommence the family planning clinics of old, held three times a week by Medical Officers of Health ( MOHs) to arrest the population explosion.
    We do not need any more citizens who are going to starve.
    Stop religious tamashas which only waste time and resources.
    Reduce perks and pensions to MPs who have many perks besides millions by duty free vehicles.
    Put un/under employed to do food production.
    Cancel political jobs. Reduce the billions spent by the Parliament and hangers on.
    Reduce money making private hospitals & similar enterprises.
    Cancel loosing state enterprises. Cancel any more road/building constructions which only make the few political contractors rich. No more grandiose travel enterprises. Prune the over recruited public & foreign services.
    Else, we will become the poorest third world nation.

  • 2
    7

    Chiv a Pro Western lackey is dreaming while While admitting he is from a low Caste unlike CHIV, A MIT Dr. Shiva is challenging Corona is a deep state hoax benefitting the Pharma in the long term for vaccines & say there was no connection between HIV Infection & Aids. Also, points an accusing finger at Dr. Fauci and to a powerful hidden agenda, that benefits Pharma.
    He is now planning to contest Mascechusett seat to enter Senate is sending shock waves in America for the exposures/// wonder whether it will be China or anyone else that will finally pay.
    Chiv in blinkers right now.

    States of America out bidding each other for Chinese medical equipment & goods destined for Europe being hijacked by America.
    Russians dispatch 60T of medical equipment to the USA. China lands by air Medical equipments.
    All hard to find goods. Governor of NY thanking profusely.

    So…. Whether China will have to pay or Western nations will be paying a matter to be seen.
    CHIV, DON’T JUMP THE GUN AS YET.
    make yourself useful in SL.

    • 3
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      Thondamany

      What is the connection between you and Dr Shiva Ayyadurai? Is he your relative or Gota’s mate, because both are Americans?

      Is he a Tamil Nadu Tamil?

    • 1
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      Hello Thonda, Who is that dude Shiva?.

      Man. Shiva is not bad for an untouchable from the lowest of the lower classes in Hindia , according to Shiva’s own confession.
      =
      Shiva got the gab to go with the Wealth for sure….

      Did you see the bit where Shiva had a go at the biggest Philanthropist in the World ,Mr Bill Gates?..
      And how he got stuck into the former First Lady Hilary.

      I think Shiva should contest for the PM Gig in Hindia.
      And do something meaningful for those 300 Million of his clan who are still suffering there……

    • 3
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      Sinkala THONDA

      States of America out bidding each other for Chinese medical equipment & goods destined for Europe being hijacked by America.
      Russians dispatch 60T of medical equipment to the USA. China lands by air Medical equipments.

      *** Everything Cheenavedi produced ( so calledMedical Equipment) was dodgy and they are all back in China safely. China produced Corona and has already lost 200,000 citizens and desperately trying to cover up. They are LIARS like Gotha

  • 5
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    China virus, China has to pay. We all must sue the chineese for 100000 trillion. The communist are evil and they manufactured a bio weapon which left the lab due to negligence.
    Then there people were allowed all over the world , like Gots all presidents had taken bribes from them, so couldn’t say no, world wide virus
    China has not even given the proper dna gnome sequence, and it will take sometime for researchers to find the details. China should pay, we must kick all chineese out of SL, most communist party entities, total war.
    These organ harvesting communist will next come and take SL, if we don’t kick them out now. More virus more oppression through MR and Gots who are in their pocket.
    1. Communist see people as numbers
    Mao killed 80 million
    2. Fologong Buddhist 1.5 million killed for organ harvesting.
    3.concentration camps in East Turkestan uigers Muslims
    4. Mass killing of Tibetan for organ harvesting
    5. Evil empire has to be stopped

    • 0
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      Jehan.
      This is delirium.
      Relax.
      If it does not get better see a s****k.

  • 4
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    The stupidest thing Gota-Mahinda team did was to remove taxes. This was done by them to get votes for Pohottuwa. This idiotic move has come to haunt them now. Its true that people suffer when taxes are high. However, during various Governments SL has been borrowing for projects that are not contributing adequate funds to repay the loans such as Mattala Airport and Hambantota Port. We also see Norachcholai built under Rajapakse regime is eternally breaking down, this too was under a loan and the Govt keeps on borrowing to repair the power plant. Then there were borrowings repeatedly for consumption. This too added to SL troubles. Politically no political leader including Mahinda and Ranil have been a good political leader with a vision to improve the country. Rajapakse showed growth by manipulating the data in the past. Loans were borrowed under the names of various corporation owned by the Govt and not included as national debt. What they have been interested so far has been to gain power and remain in power and not worried about the financial situation of SL.

  • 9
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    People in Akurana have no food no medicine .
    Struggling to survive .
    On and off The Mosque is providing some cooked food .
    Heartbroken and feel.like step motherly treatment.

    • 0
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      heart broken citizen

      Everywhere, everybody is receiving stepmom’s treatment.

      Mother nature has become a step mom.

      Get rid of bad habits & bad practices unless she, as well will look aside.

    • 0
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      Pain queue is going to stretch longer than Siri Mao’s time. It is not Akurana people’s mistake. It is because of the mistake Britain did in 1931 and 1948. Not just Akurana, many people in whole Lankawe going to face Indian past famine like situation. Then the beauty Queen Marie Antoinette is going to tell if they don’t have rice to each they can eat Kavvum.

  • 6
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    Thonda one too many, read your own newspaper Daily Mirror for legal action against Chinese. Next time try some thing different with me . I have been hearing your kind of excuses for years. Think outside the box before you come up with your next one. By the way you were the one just few days ago was accusing those poor nurses and para medical staff , who are at the front line risking self and their family. If you really want to help Silly Lanka , stop whining and get there to help your own people. Dr. Shiva from Mascechusett (where is this place in Puerto Rico ????) my foot.

  • 0
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    The DM has been grinding an anti-China ax for decades now. It will not miss anything juicy against China.
    One has to be daft to take seriously that legal action full of holes.
    Who is responsible for the medical disaster in the US today? Check on Trump’s Twitter gems in February and much of March.
    The US is fast losing its grip on its own affairs, let alone control over its clients.

  • 1
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    This is all to justify giving the Millenium that swathe of 12.000 Acres of our prime land to be controlled by the Americans with their own Rules and regulations..
    Nice one..

    Ex Finance Minster Mangala Samare says, he and his mates must come to Kotte, if Prez Nande wants that USD 138 Million from the IMF.

    What a gigantic rescue package that is, to save our Inhabitants from Corona induced Recession and the Depression to follow..

    My gripe is how much extra will it cost our PAYE Taxpayers, to give those 60 Odd mates of Mangala Samare the full Govt Pension for a Life Time most of whom are only in their forties.

    Some may say they gave our inhabitants a yeoman service under Yahapalanaya.
    Still does it warrant a 30 to 40 year free MP Pension and the other Perks for just 5 years work?.

    Good Chinese people have given us One Billion US and Three Billion Renminbi as rolling credit, payable when able.
    None of the Economists mention even how much Dhall and Mackeral our Inhabitants can have with that until they get through this Corona Infection.

    Good news is Prez Nandasean has brought the Corona nearly under control.
    Also our Dalits seems to have a bullet proof Immune System to avoid many hundreds more catching the Virus , despite those Jet Setters traveling to many part of the Island.

    With clear signs that the Island can get back to normal early May, may be our Inhabitants can celebrate Vesak peacefully.
    And get on with their daily lives with more vigor to catch up for the Hibernation which they had to have…….

    • 0
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      Sorry.. It is not 12.000 Acres . It is 12.000 Sq Kilometers..

  • 0
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    Under no circumstance should the real assets of Sri Lanka be collateralised. It is the easy path for international capital to dominate our economy. The situation is such that the government is bound to default. Public Private Parnerships are a sure path to hell. The Port City and the Hambantota Harbour are PPPs. They ended up with a 99 year lease to the Chinese. The prescriptions of the author will promote Sri lanka’s dependency on international capital. Certainly, there must be prudent use of state assets. Air Lanka is a well run airline. Any one who travels on it will know it can outclass Singapore Airlines. Why does it not make profits? The simple answer is corruption. Ask MR. The way to go is for politicians to keep out and have public corporations run by an independent expert group with public and transparent oversight. There will be a Great Depression coming. We will not come out of it as an independent economy if we participate in the schemes of international capital. We have to generate internal solutions without the present pack of politicians in charge.

  • 0
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    This is the time for all to show solidarity as human beings. Please in the name of humanity put back the monies stolen from the public coffers back into the coffers as a great service to humanity.

  • 0
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    I can not see my relies to Raj anymore .

  • 0
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    Akurana youngster temporarily
    Names The Village Hotel California

    With tears picking raw mangoes , wild leaves to make malum to eat with rice .

    They say it’s heart breaking.
    People on and off get some food from mosque.

    • 0
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      Plenty of cigarettes from 150 to Rs 350 each Arrack from 6500 to 15, 000 per bottle .
      Mafias making hay while sun shine was the banning like cancelling sand license ?
      Who knows .
      People are trembling to speak out and believe We are heading for militry rule .
      The very voters are scared

  • 3
    0

    Daniel Alphonsus

    Borrowing When Bankrupt: Paying For A Corona Stimulus

    “This is a crisis like no other” declared the managing director of the IMF, an institution not known for overstatement. There is no doubt that a fearsome storm is upon us when this alarm is followed by “never in the history of the IMF have we witnessed the world economy coming to a standstill” and “this is way worse than the Global Financial Crisis”.

    A quick survey of the real economy in Sri Lanka makes this apparent. As I write this article, most economic activity has come to a standstill. With social distancing measures in place, consumers are unable to consume. Investors are unable to invest. Exporters are unable to export. The tourism, aviation and apparel sectors have ceased almost all operations. This is just the beginning. As the shock filters through the economy, even if actors are able to spend, they may not be willing. Animal spirits will be muted, savings for a rainy day will rise. Demand will fall significantly across the economy for a sustained period of time.

    *** Young man have no fear. The man at the helm althogh used to run a Petrol Station in the US and failed he knows how to fiddle. He knows he cannot borrow so he has asked CBK to do the bidding and she has said Sri Lanka needs 8 billion immediately. So be patient money is being printed and Sir Basil will deliver it door to door. sadly only Sinhalse Households

  • 2
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    The effects of people/governments living beyond their means will have woken up to social/economic disaster. #Sri Lanka is extremely rich in natural resources and has the ability to extinguish debt over a period of time if the right economic policies are implemented.

    • 0
      1

      No offends Fahmy .
      But your comment is laughbale.

      Rich in natural resources?.

      My foot.

      They have completely destroyed everything from gems , to dolamite, river Sand to Gravel to deforestation.

      We have nothing . There is no more river sand, fellows are using machines to dig into river beds.
      Making Sri Lanka Vulnerable to Earthquakes.
      Even the geological dept do not care.
      Maximum abuse happened during RW and still.coninuted .

  • 0
    0

    I see how hard would be life for Lankaweyans now and how it is going to be for future. We (Ceylonese) one time stood in Siri Mao’s food queues. We (American) now are seeing in news how the queues are standing in towns in long lines for food pantries’ hand out. Moving from one of the poorest country in the world to the richest country didn’t change the reality of life. Just like the Naughty boy Ran to Scotland, we only embrace the reality of the life. Nowhere anywhere there 72 women are waiting for you to welcome. Until you are alive, you need to fill your 18″stomach. When you aren’t you need the 6′ pit to rest. We (the civilized) humans invented machines, money & mosques & monasteries, but behind in finding medicines for the sick ones. If not, Kumarathasan asked, would we be mercilessly throwing so many in the burning fires? We still deep down in Mariana trench in humanity. Bharathi said, if one missed one day his meal, then let us destroy the world that did not care him. It is not we don’t have money, it is not that we don’t have food; it is we don’t have heart mind to device methods to have it shared with all. Our economic systems are, we don’t want to give a fish to a man, but we are designing methods only to teaching to catching. But was the sea in this earth always calm enough all the time to all catch their fishes when they are hungry?

    Democracy is poor system. But we have only the democracy to fulfil our political needs. Worse is the competitive economic system. So we will have to bend it to share and feed our neighbors and colleagues. No other way!

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