4 August, 2020

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Crisis-Ridden Sri Lanka Economy: Time For Economics To Prevail On Politics

By W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Release of GDP data

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.

These numbers may change later when DCS refines its data set. For instance, in the current release, DCS has firmed up its estimation of total output in the first quarter of 2017 by reducing its value from the previously released numbers. Had that previous high number been used, the growth rate in the first quarter 2018 would have been much lower than what has been announced in the current release.

A declining growth rate 

But, whatever the number used, the results have been contrary to the expectations of authorities. The expectations were that the economy would bounce back to high growth in 2018 from the declining growth trend it has experienced from 2013. Thus, if the total economy could be equated to a cake, the size of the cake, measured as the real gross domestic product or real GDP based on the prices that had prevailed in 2010, has been enlarged by 3.2% in the first quarter 2018. The real GDP growth had amounted to 5% in 2015, to 4.5% in 2016 and to 3.1% in 2017.

The Central Bank had expected the growth to move up to 5% in 2018. But, the first quarter results show that the country’s real GDP in 2018 will be more in line with the prediction made by IMF in April 2018 than the Bank’s expectation. IMF in its prediction had put the growth possibility for this year at 3.8%. Even to reach this level, the real GDP growth has to accelerate on average to 4% in the three remaining quarters of the year. To reach the Central Bank’s expectations, the average growth rate in the next three quarters should be as high as 5.6%, a challenging feat for Sri Lanka’s economy, indeed.

Crisis started from around 2013

The fact that Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a crisis is not a new revelation. The crisis has been manifested from around 2013 when the economy had begun to slow down its growth from the high growth it had recorded temporarily in the immediate post-war years. By the time when the present Government came to power in January 2015, all the available macroeconomic indicators had shown signs of distress.

Rupee under pressure for depreciation

The exchange rate was under pressure for a massive depreciation because the previous Government had kept the value of the rupee artificially at high levels by supplying dollars to the market from the country’s scanty foreign exchange reserves. When the reserve levels which had been built by borrowing and not by earning had fallen to a critically low level, the country could no longer continue to feed the market’s voracious demand for dollars. Exports, a means of earning reserves, had been declining both in dollar terms and as a share of the total GDP.

Shortage of foreign exchange in the market

Meanwhile, imports had been ballooning creating a high trade deficit in the region of $ 9-10 billion annually. This was cushioned partially by the remittances sent to the country by Sri Lankans working abroad; but that also became saturated at around $ 7 billion in the recent past compelling Sri Lanka to borrow abroad to fill the gap.

The country’s freely available foreign exchange reserves, the money immediately available for meeting future foreign debt repayments and making payments for imports and other services, had amounted to $ 6 billion, a little higher than the identified future obligations. The Government budget was in a precarious situation with its revenue falling relative to the country’s GDP, generating stubbornly high overall budget deficits and making it necessary to borrow more to repay maturing debt stocks.

Rising foreign debt stock

The last outcome had augmented the Government’s debt stock year after year. The economic patient was, thus, in the intensive care unit and the new Government was expected, as a matter of urgency, to administer it lifesaving medications to get it out of hospital and back on the job. The mainstream economists as well as economic think-tanks like the Institute of Policy Studies or IPS and newly-established Advocata Institute had warned the Government that it was deep in crisis and running out of time.

An unheeded warning

For instance, IPS releasing its State of the Economy Report for 2015 warned the Government in October about this sad eventuality. A review of the report highlighting this waring was made by this writer in a previous article in this series. This writer who reviewed the report at its launch drew the attention of the Deputy Economic Enterprise Reform Minister Eran Wickramaratna to the gravity of the crisis in the economy.

When the Government postponed the needed economic reforms and the then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake sought to resolve the burning foreign exchange crisis by getting an imaginary Belgian investor to bring in $ 1 billion, its fallacy was pointed out in another article in this series.

In January, 2016, the Government hosted the first ever Sri Lanka Economic Forum in Colombo with support from economists from Harvard University’s Center for International Development or CID. A video record of the proceedings of the Forum could be accessed here. At this Summit too, the main focus was how to get out of the economic crisis and place Sri Lanka on a long term economic growth path. But still no action was taken and it appeared that the Government would have expected the crisis to disappear on its own.

Then, in July 2016, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce or CCC hosted the Sri Lanka Economic Summit in Colombo. This Summit had advised the Government to ‘focus, act, and deliver’ to place Sri Lanka back on a fast development path. The strategy for achieving this goal has been, as the Summit had thematised, to change from ‘issues to solutions, potential to performance and rhetoric to action’. That was a fine piece of wisdom given to the top leaders of the Government by the country’s leading business chamber. The subsequent actions of the top Government leaders showed that that wisdom had been transmitted to deaf ears.

Sitting on the crisis without taking needed action  

Now, three-and-a-half years have elapsed since the Government has taken control of the management of the country’s economy. Except on the inflation front where inflation has largely been subdued, there has not been any significant improvement in any other area in the macroeconomy. The Government was expected to consolidate the budget by expanding the revenue base, curtailing the expenditure programmes, narrowing the budget deficit and slowing the growth of public debt.

However, the achievement has been only with respect to a marginal improvement in the revenue base and the enactment of a new revenue legislation. Since new loans had to be raised in order to pay interest and repay the maturing loans, the debt stock too continued to increase unabated. As a result, the debt to GDP ratio which had been declining marginally in the recent few years took a reverse turn in 2017. Though the Central Bank had purchased some $ 2 billion from the market to build the country’s foreign exchange reserves in the last one-and-a-half-year period, a part of that had to be sold in the market to prevent the rupee from further falling in recent times.

When the deficit is massive, using the country’s reserves to hold up the rupee will be an abortive exercise. Hence, as Sri Lanka had already experienced it in 2000 and 2012, sooner or later, the Central Bank will have to give up its hold on the exchange rate. If this happens, no amount of IMF support will be able to prop up the rate.

Immediate action needed

Sri Lanka therefore needs to take immediate measures to arrest the current declining trend and place the economy on a long term economic growth path. It calls upon the Government to introduce an economy-wide economic reform programme. All economic reforms are painful since they require at least some section of the population to make sacrifices.

In the current political environment, these are difficult and challenging tasks. But, they are not impossible to accomplish if the political leadership has the will, dedication and commitment to take the country through the needed reform programme.

Above all, what is needed is the capacity and ability to manage the reform programme. An essential part of the management capacity is getting the public support for reforms.

Flawed economic management

Since coming to power in January 2015, the management of the country’s economy had been placed under a Cabinet sub-committee titled Cabinet Committee on Economic Management or CCEM that functioned under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. Instead of coming up with an effective macroeconomic development plan and a strategy, CCEM devoted its time and energy to sort out day to day micro issues in the economy. Now, CCEM has been dismantled and its powers have been assigned to another high-powered body titled National Economic Council or NEC. While all the members of CCEM are also members of NEC, it functions under the chairmanship of the President supported by a special secretariat.

In April 2018, NEC announced that it had formulated an economic plan for the country. However, it has not been released to the public domain and therefore, members of public have not been able to assess its adequacy, suitability or efficacy. Meanwhile, NEC has continued to address day to day micro issues like its predecessor, CCEM.

Some of the issues it had handled, according to reports, have been whether fertiliser should be issued to farmers in the form of a cash subsidy or a quantity subsidy, whether the tea sector should be permitted to use the banned pesticide ‘glyphosate’ or whether medical consultations should be exempted from VAT or not. These are micro issues that should have been resolved by the respective ministries. Surely, they are not the functions of a national economic council.

NEC should address macro issues

Then, what should NEC do in order to take Sri Lanka out of the current economic crisis? It can take cue from the Economic Planning Board or EPB setup by President Park Chung-hee in South Korea in early 1960s. EPB, staffed by technocrats rather than military personnel, took a macro view of the Korean economy and formulated its policies accordingly.

It came up with a series of five-year plans that concentrated on promoting exports, developing science and technology, reforming the university system to support industrial growth, increasing national savings for investment in industry and commerce and supporting the establishment of heavy industries like steel, ship-building and chemical industries.

These strategies were converted to plans and plans to projects. They were then implemented with close supervision by the President himself. The results were impressive and South Korea began its journey from a very poor third world country to a developed nation within a single generation. Poverty in Korea was reduced from about a half of the population in early 1960s to less than 5% by 1990s. The secret was nothing but the effective management of economic policies.

Political leadership should set an example

Hence, NEC in Sri Lanka should change its focus from micro to macro now. The economic plan which it says it has formulated should be released to public domain immediately in order to win the support of the people. This is because without public cooperation, no plan could be implemented successfully.

Winning public cooperation is another art and it is necessary that all the top political leaders of the Government master that art. An important requirement today is to prepare the people for the hard times they are to face in the coming years. To get their support, it is necessary that top leaders in the Government should set an example by going for a voluntary cut of their perks.

Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad set a fitting example by cutting the salaries of ministers by 10%. This is not much but it has a tremendous mass appeal by generating a highly productive communication effect. The argument made out was that in order to gain capacity to repay the mounting foreign loans of the Malaysian Government amounting to some $ 170 billion, the country needs to make sacrifices and the political leadership is in the forefront in making those sacrifices.

Politics should not prevail on economics

A general political wisdom, as the left-wing politician Colvin R. de Silva had once remarked, has been that good politics does not go along with good economics. What he meant by good politics was the political mastery to win elections.

That may be true in normal times. But when a country has been engulfed in a deep economic crisis, practicing bad economics to win elections would send the economy further down the drain. Along with the economy, the political party too will go down in the drain. Hence, given the intensity of the current crisis, politics should not be allowed to prevail on economics.

*W.A. Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Yesterday or so, Ranil has PReached about What buddha said and what HITLER did. what a sinister way to win election by making fear in the public. check and see how many military officers were heading the western govts. there was another report said, within the last six months, foreign capital had been withdrawan from teh investment market amounting to $ 21.1 billion. so, why we are correcting the interest rates to support MArket gambling. They wait until the stocks go down. then come and buy. Once it is gone to the highest they expect, they cash it. All the sri lankan economic indicators are adjuedted for their win. People always lose. then take anotheer Corruption. PResident’s funds is something hidden and it is for all 225 for their personal needs. Wigneswaran as a Chief minister’s fund. S. B. dissnanayke had his own bank under the ministry from which Rs 6.5 billion is missing. Now, Mangala Samraweera wants another bank under him. I heard either the previous govt or this govt had emptied even the University Provident funds because of that what the funds have is far less than what those should have.
    Besides, Ranil does not want to understand that he is incompetant idiot. How can he develop a country totoally depends on imports by sigining more FTAs. why his consultants and advisors are not telling him that his WAr dividend is over, He has to start manufacturing/producing inside the country in order to provide jobs and make money. Maithripala sirisena seems to another lost case. Mahinda Rajapakse and his gang for the last four years talking only about them. The Joint opposition, gang of 16, Rajapakse sare all waiting for the cake.

    • 2
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      Quit true JS!
      Dr. Wije The main reason for lack of growth, FDI and baloonning debt trap in Lanka is corruption, Corruption and “Money politics”.
      No foreign investor with a brain would invest in a country where there is NO level Playing field and the Central bank was scammed by PM!
      Like Greece and Argentina, Lanka is in the IMF’s Debt Trap. Lanka is what the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam calls the international” Bail out business”, and forced to devalue the Rupee today by IMF.
      IMF blaming China for is, ‘Pot calling Kettle black” for all the Fake development aid project loans from various donors who are throwing Fake aid like MCC at Corrupt politicians.
      Also, Ranil’s failed economic council CCEM, was operated from Washington by right wing MCC.

      • 2
        1

        The problem is that we spend more than we earn. The housemaids and garment workers bring in most of our dollars. But what do we spend it on? Apart from perks for the self-serving politicians,

        Rs 260,711,375,000 as recurrent expenditure for the Ministry of Defence.
        Yes, 260 Billion to keep all those soldiers, sailors, etc. out of trouble.
        Why doesn’t any economist want to talk about this untouchable sacred cow? Why is there no real plan to retrain/ demob these now totally unproductive labour force as in other countries?
        The other lot is the million-plus 3-wheeler drivers idling at junctions instead of doing useful work at building sites (now staffed by foreigners) or working in factories.

      • 2
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        As Tamara Kunanayagam said, Lanka has lost economic sovereingty; its policy process is controlled by IMF-MCC in Washington, and Lanka is now in the IMF ‘s “Bailout Business” .Hence LKR is crashing so Washington can buy land and other strategic assets and data, cheap in Lanka.
        Fake development project and fake Aid/loans is the cause of Debt trap and growing inequality and poverty today.

        Long live Miracle of Modayas.

  • 1
    0

    You are very correct. Maintaining 4500 of Local govts, Maintaining 225 of Federal politicians, and some screening saying they provincial councils. See how the Co.lo9bo Mayoress was talking. She talk unbeliebly cunning and corrupt looking for swindling the country.

  • 5
    0

    Dr Wijewardena explains in detail the plight of the country’s economy. The country is in deep economic crisis.The main culprit seems to be too much politics and very little economic sense with the result the country is broke.
    The future seems very bleak as the country seems to be run by crooks who’s only motive seems to be to cash in on all the perks associated with political office for generations to come; the poor gullible voters are been taken for a right royal ride election after election.
    I shudder to think of a Hitlerian solution as suggested by the Annunayake Thero but a Sri Lankan personality like Mahathir might be lurking somewhere to provide the answer.

    • 2
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      Yes, Sarrij,
      .
      This sounds really serious.
      .
      As you say, ” a Sri Lankan personality like Mahathir might be lurking somewhere to provide the answer.”
      .
      I hope that people note one thing about your wise words: you do not say that it should be a 92-year-old man. We must look to younger people who are honest – and don’t think only of our gender! .

  • 1
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    Jim Softy saying now all Lankaweyans are eating imported food, Rice and Pol Sambol. (rice, coconut, onion, salt & red chillies). “Prices are going up” that is media report for all products, not just for food. But the CB had brought down the inflaion to 3%. Man, that is really the wounder of Asia. This is getting nowhere!

  • 0
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    We don’t know where the development is going to come from. Lankawe is heavily dependent on China for all investments. China is mad because it thinks Ranil doped it in Hangbangtota deal. It is asking for the Island it put there on freehold. Yahapalanaya may end up like the story of Chitanta ended. i. e the Government computers are in peril. Chitanta wanted to have the Nuraicholai power plant repaired by India and gave the Colombo Pong Cing to China. None of them going to be allowed the government run in the way they want.

    Swamynathan was blamed for giving out the 65,000 iron cages contract to Mittal & Co without tenders. Now he has given out 40,000 houses contract to China without tender. Is this going to be shared by only 118 or by all 225? Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Idi Amin can come together, but they can nothing about this. Only one of the Old Royals, who knows the trick of the trade can start another White Elephant and keep Modayas happy.

  • 1
    0

    Very encouraging to see two brilliant economists steering our
    troubled country through these tough times .

  • 3
    0

    Remove the remittances by Sri Lankans working abroad, and that will show the real state of the economy. The Sri Lankan public sector is inefficient and unproductive. State institutions are rampant with corruption. Macro economic policies should be formulated by technocrats. However, it is the responsibility of Politicians to sell these policies to the General Public. The politicians have lost all credibility in the eyes of the public through their failure to deliver on promises and inability to control corruption at all levels. With a bloated cabinet and perks beyond reason for themselves and their families costing the tax payer heavily, it will be near impossible for politicians to ask the ordinary public to “tighten their belts” for the sake of the country.

    • 3
      0

      “the remittances by Sri Lankans working abroad . . .”

      We ought to narrow it down further, Steve:
      .
      We’re depending on the “housemaids” for whom few people show much respect at social level.
      .
      It is they who are propping up the economy. Those working elsewhere stash their money in foreign banks (admittedly I’m exaggerating that last bit).
      .
      SHAME! SHAME!! SHAME!!!

  • 2
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    Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, where is the so called “USD 18 Billion” stolen by the Rajapaksa Samaagama? – https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/rajapaksas-siphon-off-18-billion-dollars-foreign-minister-mangala-samaraweera/

    • 1
      0

      The numbers has to be assumed correct. Last year this numbers got reported in American magazine too. That doesn’t honor the World Greatest liar Mangala. In all those he appears to be have played double agent.

      He appears to have received this number from a foreign Country. (You may not want to challenge it, but better back off as the country believed to be supplied this number is still interested in these guys and it may go after these guys to keep them under its control, instead China). His double agent work went like this.

      1) He used this Foreign Country supplied number to gather publicity & grounds for him in the job and possibly get something under the table too. Apparently there is no honest attempt by Mangala’s side to catch the crook. He, only used this for the election too.

      2). They fed back the info received from the foreign country to crooks so that the crooks can have further hide the wealth and double the protection. He passed law in the parliament to ease the exchange control on this money so they can be brought to Lankawe without declaring at Customs. They made it if an uncooperative customs officer catch the mules, then they just can throw a 3% and legalize it.

      It is understood the potential EP candidate Nagananda appeared in case like this and argued that there is no need to pay the 3%.

      We have to wait and see the $18 B become another Zero Casualty, before we can completely reject it.
      (Instead, rather we use Mangala only to load the mistake, we should include the Foreign Countries too. We advised in Jan, 2015 election that this is what Ranil going to do, but big figures Like Ex. Sec John Kerry like people had over confidence in them when they handle Lankawe)

  • 3
    0

    This article by Dr Wijewardena is an alarming bid by the very same people who have dragged this world (not just Sri Lanka) to the current dog-eats-dog world where the unscrupulous, unethical economic thieves that form 1% of global population consume the earth’s resources while 99% of the people are struggling to survive, with or without selling their labour to these thieves.

    This ‘beautiful’ model which people like Wijewardena are advocating more of, was constructed by the pseudo-scientists known as Economists. They also spread the myth that economics is a ‘science’ we can’t live without. These are the dangerous ideas that has pushed the world to tits currently pathetic, lop-sided state. Our Central Bank is just a pawn in this game, serving the masters in New York and London by arranging the bond market and providing with them local stats to make their decisions. Why should we have more of these parasites?

    At the end of the day, there is no art or science called economics. All humans are born naked in this world, spend 50-80 years depending on a complex set of factors, and die alone. This black magic called economics advocated by people like Wijewardena hasn’t done anything to change these basic facts.

    The only science to making life comfortable for every one born on this earth is to promote values that encourage the use of available resources ethically, with concern for the next person so that every one ‘s physical suffering on this earth is minimised.


    Wijewardena should inform Sri Lankans that the US Fed Reserve that prescribes global interest rates, and the so-called International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the so-called World Bank and the Asian ‘Development’ Bank are not benevolent bodies that have organised themselves to help us economically ‘develop’.

    • 1
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      Somebody recently called Economics the “dismal science”. On that score you are quite right, “Counter Opinion”.
      .
      However, one cannot run an organised society with our sort of huge population (don’t make comparisons wit China – just think of what 22 million people and growing means) without Economists and and Politicians.
      .
      Only thing is the nasty and crooked ones must be replaced by those who are honest and efficient. But if “Patriot” is really seriously feeling safe because of Wijewardena and Coomaraswamy running things for us, that optimism is misplaced.
      .
      “Counter Opinion’s” observations in his third and fourth paragraphs are spot on. Unfortunately, he has personally attacked Dr Wijewardena to whom we must be very grateful: he has come down to kindergarten level, using the analogy of the size of the cake etc. to explain to even the least knowledgeable among us, the gravity of the situation.
      .
      I haven’t listened to his video clip yet; prepare for the video of the January 2016 Forum – I’ve noted that it is 5 hours long!
      .
      We’d better take all of this very seriously.

      • 1
        0

        Sinhala_Man

        Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) of Japan which came into being in May 1949 and served well until 2001. When it turned a bureaucratic burden it was restructured into Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI).

        I believe every bureaucrat, functionary, aspiring politician, ……………. student of economics of this island should learn about the MITI and its powerful role in post independence Japan.

        Here is a note on Japan and MITIs contribution:

        Industrial Policy in Japan: 70-Year History since World War II
        By Tetsuji Okazaki
        https://www.rieti.go.jp/en/papers/contribution/okazaki/data/06.pdf



        But then we are a proud nation we are capable of inventing everything ourselves, including Zero, Fire, Wheel, ………………………..

        • 0
          0

          Thanks, NV.
          .
          I’ve looked at the five pages that got displayed when I clicked on the link.
          .
          I’m learning a subject that I don’t know much of. Thanks for your assistance.

    • 0
      0

      At the end of the day, there is no art or science called economics. All humans are born naked in this world, spend 50-80 years depending on a complex set of factors, and die alone. This black magic called economics advocated by people like Wijewardena hasn’t done anything to change these basic facts.

      Hey Counter,

      Are you the Podi Ayatollah waiting the Prophecy of Hitler to be born again happen?

      • 0
        0

        Can’t and will not waste time on idiots like you. Get a brain and then write you imbecile.

        • 0
          0

          Can’t and will not waste time on idiots like you. Get a brain and then write you imbecile.
          I know Chinese prisions export all kind of body parts, but can they ship me a brain?
          Do they have Hitler one. At elast Stalin, Mussolini, Idi Amin………. Then mee tooo can stand for EP election in 2020

  • 2
    1

    Neither the economy or the country can progress while pressure groups control everything. The UNP would be very happy to sell off fuel distribution, the Railway, Sri Lankan Airlines, and a host of other loss-makers, but the JO (and the SLFP) hypocritically calls these “national assets”. They have forgotten that many of these, like the ports and oil distribution, became “national assets” after they were taken over from private operators.
    Trade liberalization is also fraught with obstacles put up by a coalition of isolationists , chauvinists and protectionists . For example, easier access from/to India via bridge or ferry. The GMOA. fears being swamped by Indian specialists with lower fees. But is it not also the case that local patients could also easily access Indian specialists in nearby centres like Madurai?
    Any reduction of import duty on items such as shoes draws howls of protest from inefficient local manufacturers. On this issue, it is well to remember that even with locally produced rubber, the Tyre Corp was unable to satisfy the demand for tyres until it was sold to CEAT, which now even exports tyres in quantity.

    • 3
      2

      GR would not hesitate one moment to sell off those assets and put everyone who opposes it in white vans.

      • 2
        2

        Good. Probably the local Muslims will buy them with Wahabi money. If GR brings white vans to catch those who oppose, good. Some one with a backbone is needed to fix this bloody country being captured by the Wahabi crap.

    • 2
      0

      old codger

      “Trade liberalization is also fraught with obstacles put up by a coalition of isolationists , chauvinists and protectionists . “

      The lazy rent seeking bumps cannot and will not produce quality goods and services at competitive prices.

      Pandering to the local inefficient Mudalalis and un-professional professionals have drained the people and country of valuable resources, export markets, tax revenue, employment opportunities, foreign exports, ….technology, …………skills, ………………… condemned to live in third world condition, vicious circle, ……………….. racists, corrupt and murderous state and governments.

      We want more wise Wimal Sangili Karuppan Weerawansas.

      • 1
        1

        Very True, NV. But it is not the inefficiency alone that jacks up prices, its Jew-like profit making by unscrupulous businessmen and women.

        Take for example an ordinary B&B on the road from Kandy to Kurunegala. The blood suckers who run these joints charge in US dollars while paying ‘peanuts’ (in rupees) to the poor folk who cook and clean the bloody places. They have no sympathy for the guests or their employees. US $ is what matters as far as they are concerned.

        Nationalising such businesses (including the lands they are on) should be a top priority for the yahapalana government.

        Come on Mangala, show us your colours!

        • 1
          0

          Mike Banda

          Nationalisation never worked and will never work.
          It increases inefficiencies, nepotism and corruption.

          “Take for example an ordinary B&B on the road from Kandy to Kurunegala. The blood suckers who run these joints charge in US dollars while paying ‘peanuts’ (in rupees) to the poor folk who cook and clean the bloody places. “

          If the services are bad or not up to the scratch tourists/travellers will not use those B&Bs. If you really care about workers why don’t you organise workers cooperatives and leave the management to the people who work in the respective B&B’s without the interference of the party men/women and the state.

          I frequently use privately owned roadside small boutiques, some of them a re very clean, popular, cater all kinds of food, efficient, ………………… This particular cafe is open all night and owned by an individuals. I doubt state owned and operated concerns by areses will not provide same level of services as these small boutiques and make a profit.

          Don’t tell us the state could manage enterprises well.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 1
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      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Great
      What did happen to you.
      Gone ballistic?
      Cool man cool.

      Has Sirisena finalized the ship deal with Russians and your clan and you are not getting any commissions, kickback, backhanders, under the table, ………. santhosam?

      • 0
        0

        Dear Native,
        It was about Belgians bringing Billions to Lankawe.
        And your mates wanting to boost our dwindling FR with their 4 Billion USD investment.

        • 1
          0

          KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

          Why do we need Belgians to bring 4 Billion USD ? All you have to do is change the law and let the crooks bring in their a small portion of looted $18 billion back into this island.

          • 0
            0

            Dear Native,
            In fact the ex Prez told Dr Ranil to bring that USD 18 Bil which Dr Rajitha & Son have seen with their own eyes in a Dubai Bank.
            And the ex Prez said he would donate it to Dr Ranil’s Yahapalana Foreign Reserves.
            But Dr Ranil has done nothing.

            Recently the ex President told Dr Ranil to bring his Old Royal mate back to Srilanka from Singapore.
            So the poor EPF members can at least see the bloke who duped them.
            In return, the ex Prez promised to bring his BIL back from Ukraine.
            Still Dr Ranil is keeping MUM ….
            What is going on , mate?….

            • 0
              0

              KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

              “In return, the ex Prez promised to bring his BIL back from Ukraine.”

              Indeed Dr Mahinda wants a comprehensive deal with total impunity.
              Well Dr Ranil has already agreed to many deals on the wee hours of 9th January 2015 with Dr Mahinda and his clan, why not a few more.

              What exactly do you stand to gain from all these and looted wealth?

        • 0
          0

          Dr. wijewardane knows. It is not a Belgian per se. It was very well pre planned. Ranil met that BELGIAN in Indonesia. Even after the BOND SCAM Ranil went to BELGIUM and met him saying he would be discussing the GSP+. that is how they did it. they tried it even recently with another fellow.

  • 0
    0

    Dr W A Wijewardena, Sorry here is a layperson’s views laid bare.
    Department of Census and Statistics or DCS may cook numbers but so do such departments in almost all countries!
    .
    WA W ~ “…..The fact that Sri Lanka’s economy has been in a crisis is not a new revelation……..”.
    So are the economies of all countries. Maybe Lanka has been in serious crisis longer than others. But it is safe to conclude, albeit empirically, that the world economic system has to have this addiction
    .
    ~ “……The exchange rate was under pressure for a massive depreciation…..”.
    All currencies have depreciated. This is yet another condition to sustain the world ‘floating rate’ economic system. Never understood why this should be so. Some countries welcome currency depreciation. China’s arms were twisted to get them to appreciate their currency.
    An empirical observation: Depreciation of currency has a close connection with corruption.
    .
    ~ “ … imports had been ballooning creating a high trade deficit………’.
    This is living beyond our means but so do other countries!
    .
    ~ “………think-tanks like the Institute of Policy Studies or IPS and newly-established Advocata Institute had warned the Government that it was deep in crisis and running out of time……..”.
    That is what think-tanks are for – warn warn warn!
    .
    ~ “…….the then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake sought to resolve the burning foreign exchange crisis by getting an imaginary Belgian investor to bring in $ 1 billion,……”.
    No one understands this Emperor’s new cloths. R K took us for a ride! Will be used again.
    .
    ~ “ …….. the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce or CCC hosted the Sri Lanka Economic Summit in Colombo……..’.
    The summits and forums are a farce.
    .
    ~ “………All economic reforms are painful since they require at least some section of the population to make sacrifices…….”.
    Political leaders, ministers MPs are people. Some demand army protection. Some have private army. Will they give up the perks?

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    Whatever the effort the foreign countries did to change the power, they could not budge one vote out of the 43% voted in 2015 for Old Royals. That is the faith of the Sinhalese on their leaders. So the wheel of the Lankawe politics did not feel the bake applied on it and it keeps rolling. There is no way to stop the 43% searching for the Hitler to salvage their life and save them out of the sliding Meethotamulla.

    This time they may be searching for their lost Hitler, but the general feeling of all Lankaweyans is the proudness of the “tough and strong” leaders they provided to the country, from the time the Sudha stopped corrupting and molesting their pious Land of Mahanama. In all the opinion of Sinhalese, there is no second Don Stephen will ever appear in the world again, but though Buddha may after 2500 years. Another, Christian, John .K is another, their proud product. From Sirimavo to up to New King, all Sinhalese keeping their hands scooped and raised to Buddha hoping and praying to be awarded with Nobel Prize, irrelevant of whether it is for Peace, Economic, Science or even in War Crime for their heroes. The paid coolies, who not capable of even go to Middle East and find a home Maid/Man job, called “The Colombo media”, after their fall after fall, stands up and demanding on the next time for the Nobel Price for their magnificent leaders of the Wonder of Asia. But the reality existing outside the minds of Sinhalese is, New King’s Thirukkai Waal will not make any impact on the back of the crooks led the country from Don Stephen to New King, so it is never attempted to use for them.

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    The country has a debt of five billion or more to China undertaken by the great patriot and nationalist, Mahinda Rajapakse. We have given the economy over to China. Why bother? Get more loans from China and sell off the country.

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    @Sarrij,
    .
    I am as much at sea in this business as you are. All that I can do is to talk of the little that I know at first hand, or post here what other people whom I know and respect have told me. I tried to post this information last night, but the electricity began playing tricks.

    A very honest and able old gentleman of 82, told me he’d like to see a race for President between two Pathiranas who are doctors – both honest.
    .
    This is Ramesh, (age 49) of the joint opposition, son of Richard Pathirana, who was the irascible Minister of Education for a long time:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLxUgNnkz3U
    .
    This is Buddhika of the UNP (age 42). He hasn’t quite completed his MBBS, and some see his father-in-law (Hemantha Warnakulasuriya) as a liability.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5apUXx10Qbs
    .
    More objective facts from Wikipedia, perhaps.
    .
    Problem: Sarrij, your name doesn’t sound Sinhalese, and both these people are SB from the South of the country, suggested by my old friend also SB from the South. Our politics is so much tied up with identities that it seems, unfortunately, that for a long time to come the country will be led by a SB. That should not be the criterion. But these two are young and honest.
    .
    Why not you respond to this comment, although it seems a bit off-topic here? I will then give my further thoughts.

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