13 August, 2020

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The Enliven Economic Revival 

By Amanda Muneesha Vedanayagam –

Amanda Vedanayagam

Economic stability amidst the current pandemic is an essential constituent globally, pertaining to favorable policies and better financial implementations brought forward by governments. Many countries have implemented strategies and schemes in order to succor the economy and businesses that have critically been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sri Lanka, a lower-middle-income country with a GDP per capita of USD 3,853 (2019) and a total population of 21.8 million, is still thriving to overcome its economic fluctuation amidst the current epidemic. Post Easter Sunday terror-attack many sectors, mostly the Tourism sector was affected greatly and bruised the economy in a catastrophic manner. However, the island managed to be more progressive in terms of rebuilding its economy by imposing beneficial policy implementations.

Nevertheless, the current global economic condition hurled the country into an unforeseen state and greatly affected many businesses and Employment Island wide. The country is also overblown by unstable governance and absence of a budget by the Sri Lankan parliament due to the emergence of a newer governmental power and parliament.

The president along with the Central Bank has introduced financial aid schemes for SMEs, but they are yet to be approved and launched. Many nations facing similar economic oscillations have set in motion grants and funding to help revive their economy. Sri Lanka can also consider these funding schemes and implement a more favorable game plan to hoist the economy.

European Countries 

European Union 

On the 27th May 2020, a proposal for a recovery aid of €750 billion was set forth to the European parliament by the EU commission as the ‘’Next Generation EU fund’’ on the basis of a Franco-German proposal, as a constituent to boost the Economy. However, this scheme is yet to be approved by the European parliament and the EU member states. Many measures that would be beneficial and supportive to businesses and employees were propounded by the EU commission. VAT, wage subsidies, suspension of payments of corporate taxes and or social contributions were a few factors that would be considered under this proposition. In order to mitigate the economic depreciation and as a factor to fund the healthcare system, the suspension of the ‘’Stability & Growth Pact’’ obligation was approved by the member states and a temporary support to alleviate unemployment in an emergency crisis was also introduced by the member states. This initiative is said to provide €100 billion in total as financial assistance to all member states to recompense the lack of revenue in businesses & employee wages amidst COVID-19. The European Investment Bank (EIB) has introduced a Pan-European guarantee fund in support of financing businesses and SMEs, with an allocation of €200 billion as aid. With the help of the European Stability Mechanism, an intergovernmental organization the European commission is to finance the health expenses of all member states. And also, in order to kick-start the economy the initiation of an ‘’EU Recovery Fund’’ was introduced to fund and support businesses to recover. Nevertheless, the factors that would be considered under this fund are yet to be specified by the European council. The European council has also allocated funds from the EU budget for healthcare systems, SMEs, and labor markets. These funds would be distributed as; €29 billion for EU structural funds, €8 billion of investment liquidity & €37 billion for Coronavirus Response Investment Initiatives.

      Altogether, the EU and its member states are mobilizing:

      at least 1% EU GDP in fiscal measures

      at least 10% EU GDP in liquidity support

According to reports published by The National, it is expected that Rome would be apportioned with €82bn in grants and another €90bn in loans. Madrid to receive up to €77bn in grants and over €63bn in loans. These grants would not directly be handed over to the countries. The countries applying for the aid have to outline the aims and submit breakdowns of the reforms and strategies they intend to undertake, in order to attain economic resilience in the coming years.  Reports also state that fiscal policy and fiscal responsibility advocate low taxes, reduced government spending and minimal government debt by northern nations in the EU, such as nations like the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, and Austria will have to foot the bill for Southern countries like Spain and Italy that are said to be more financially extravagant in terms of economic finances, has become an obstacle in recent negotiations with the EU commission.

There were also certain measures that were introduced to help and support trade amongst EU and other foreign markets. Firstly, a temporary suspension of custom duties and VAT on medical devices which were imported from third countries was enforced. The EU Commission also issued a set of guidelines on the resumption of travel within the Schengen area and also reestablished the EU tourism sector while implementing safety measures to all citizens and workers. Many EU countries are still overcoming the current pandemic. However, with the measures brought forward by the EU Council/Commission there would at least be a positive impact on the European Economy. 

Vietnam

In April this year, the Vietnamese Prime Minister approved a ‘’Bailout Package’’ VNĐ62 trillion (US$2.66 billion) to support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic . This resolution package mainly focuses on employees whose employment contracts were suspended, terminated workers, and individuals who were on unpaid leave for at least one month. They have allocated a sum of VNĐ1.8 million, in which these workers would be given $77 every month until three months, only if unemployed. And organizations who are struggling to pay employees and have only paid 50% of their staff are entitled for a loan with zero interest from the Việt Nam Bank, under this bailout package. Businesses with taxable income of less than VNĐ100 million ($4,288) per year are to receive $43 per month from a total of VNĐ1 million, for a period of only three months (April-June).

And individuals with a meager monthly allowance are said to receive $11 per month until June 2020. The resolution also allows firms that had to lay off workers due to the pandemic would be allowed to suspend all retirement and death fund payments until the end of this year (2020).

Bangladesh 

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved an emergency loan to all underdeveloped/developed countries, summing up to an amount of around $732 million.  

The pandemic affected the economy of the country in three main avenues;

* Decline in domestic activities

* Decline in labor workers at sweatshops and garment factories (80% of the Bangladesh  economy relies on garment exports)

* Decline in remittance coming into the country from Bangladeshi’s living overseas, mostly in the Middle-East. 

A stimulus package of $600 million is said to be approved by the government in the coming months, to support the daily/monthly wage workers, mostly in the garment sector. And also, a subsidized loan is said to be provided to organizations who have not paid their employees amidst COVID-19. This loan is set to pay wages of employees for three months only. 

The country  is also providing cash assistance to low-income families displaced by the pandemic. The government is also taking measures to provide the homeless with food and temporary shelter solutions. Elderly widows and disabled citizens are also given cash allowance under the administration of the Bangladesh government. 

Now when considering the newer policy implementations and economic revival enactments brought forward by the European Union being a hierarchy and developing countries like Vietnam & Bangladesh, Sri Lankan as a nation should adhere to better policy executions that are more favorable to the citizens of the country.

The ‘’Saubagya Covid – 19 Renaissance Facility’’ enforced by the CBSL (Central Bank of Sri Lanka) and approved by the GoSL was introduced during the first one month of lockdown in order to help businesses with necessary financial assistance. As stated in the Section 2 of the Monetary Board Circular No. 05 of 2020, any business affected by the COVID-19 pandemic provided that the turnover of the business is below Rs. 1 Billion (However, businesses above Rs. 1 Billion turnover will granting if they are in the sectors of tourism, exports and related logistical suppliers) &  loans will be granted to facilitate working capital requirements of the eligible businesses. An Interest Rate payable to the PFI of 4% per annum  by the Sub-Borrower was approved with a grace period of six months depending on the nature of the activity. This is one the frontliners of the ‘’COVID-19 relief measures’’ brought into force by GoSL. 

But, many SMEs faced troubles when applying for the loan with local banks as initially the Central Bank did not have sufficient funds. The delay in providing & approving the loan created more difficulty in terms of operations and employee salaries at many organizations. Even the remuneration of LKR 5,000 for low income families, senior citizens,disabled persons,framers registered under the ‘’FARMER’S INSURANCE SCHEME’’, kidney patients and Samurdhi recipients, initially impacted greatly as a financial assistance to the citizens of the country. But, later many villages faced a difficulty in getting this remuneration approved to them due to many blemishes in the governmental system.  

Sri Lanka as a developing nation, should clasp necessary actions to uplift the economy. The government needs to designate better policy makers, acquire consultations assistance for new and better policies by other private firms & research institutions, and be more transparent with its governance and strategic initiatives. And also, surpass more and better relief funds and packages for its citizens taking into consideration that of COVID-19 assistance provided by other countries to its citizens. Even Though, we are a developing nation with not much funding, the country  has many ways to progress. But, that requires the  ‘’OUR’’  government to consider the People’s needs before their own. 

*Amanda Muneesha Vedanayagam – Intern at the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    Sri Lanka as a developing nation, should clasp necessary actions to uplift the economy.

    Sri Lanka should have put task on the table also consider funding schemes

    Work reduction and compensation arrangements
    Accommodative monetary policy (interest rate reductions, reserve rate relaxation, targeted
    liquidity provisions)
    Targeted lending and financial support for specific sectors to protect enterprises,
    Find Countries in action: How have countries been respondingCountries in action: How have countries
    been responding

  • 3
    0

    Peoples need may be the priority, but we should not fall into hand out trap

  • 1
    4

    What does your title ” The Enliven Economic Revival’ even mean? The word “enliven” is a verb, thus the prefix “The” does not add up to any meaningful sentence/ phrase.
    I am surprised how and why the moderators of CT ( if any) approved such grammatical blunders be published?
    A typo or two is justified, but NOT major grammatical errors , and especially in the title of the paper.

    • 0
      7

      Dear Moderator,
      The CT used to be platform where we could read about the current affairs (social and political) of Sri Lanka and make comments as appropriate.y
      But since-of-late, there have been articles published that either has no relevance or has any correlation with the current affairs happening in Sri Lanka.

      I just returned from an academic assignment That I undertook in Europe, but I used to make a contribution to CT by adding comments whenever I had the time to focus.

      I suggest to Uvindu K and the the team that you people be more conscious about where you want to make CT to be, and also about the 2000+ permanent visitors to your site, all of whom are above mediocre professionals either living in SL or abroad.

      Cheers mates!

      Dharshana W, PhD.

      • 7
        0

        Dharshana W,
        Yes, there has been a spate of less-than-cutting-edge “research” being published on CT recently, by young interns.
        But I suggest you go easy on them and suffer their little peccadilloes. After all, unlike the Prime Minister, they actually write the stuff, and since they are young, unlike him, there is a possibility of improvement.

        • 0
          6

          Dear Sir (old codger),
          I do understand the circumstances and the need to support the next generation, but they should select their subjects wisely and scope their articles to reflect their knowledge of the topic and not be authors by the so-too-obvious, copy-paste approach, which unfortunately is the case.

          I call you sir, since I assume that I am younger than you. I am a student of Sinhala_Man, thus I belong the clan that knows, but knows not.

          Cheers sir!

          • 4
            0

            Dharshana,👌

            • 0
              5

              Dear sir, Mr. old codger,
              I assume that you are either a Thomian or a Royalist. Even if neither, do drop me a mail on preethiw65@gmail.com or let me know of a number to call you on this email.

              Cheers sir!

              • 3
                0

                D.W,
                It seems you are right. Most of the stuff is copy-pasted from an EU site:
                https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/coronavirus/&ved=2ahUKEwie7JfkvefqAhWZdn0KHQUnD2oQFjAAegQIBhAC&usg=AOvVaw0wwhJduysgVzDNEVrpqESK

                “Nevertheless, the factors that would be considered under this fund are yet to be specified by the European council. The European council has also allocated funds from the EU budget for healthcare systems, SMEs, and labor markets.”

                • 0
                  0

                  Thanks, old codger.
                  .
                  You must be right. I will check later. What we really want to do is to expose all dishonesty.

                  • 2
                    0

                    S.M,
                    What people don’t realize is that copy-pasting works backwards too. Only a lazy person wouldn’t change some of the words.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Thanks oc.
                    .
                    I followed up on what you’ve said and copied this whole paragraph from an article that is now visible of this CT display page, and placed it in the google browser:
                    .
                    “If you think nothing will change, then do not bother to read this essay. We control our future with what we chose now. If you think nothing will change, indeed nothing will change. The absence of resolve, the presumption of the impossibility to make a change is self-fulfilling.”
                    .
                    It took me to the identical article here:
                    .
                    http://www.ft.lk/columns/Power-of-the-powerless/4-703730
                    .
                    Same author – so nothing dishonest, but I get the feeling that CT would like to be the only site printing this article. So young Amanda has done something not quite honest. But my main complaint is different, and against a mature man who acts like a child.
                    .

        • 1
          0

          Dear old codger,
          .
          That’s really very sweet of you, to be encouraging the young to write. I think that it’s very important that we remember the days when we began first submitting our efforts to the public.
          .
          Young Amanda,
          .
          There are many interesting ideas here. We want more young people like you to tell us what is happening around us, and how we can improve the world.
          .
          Your writing can improve; the best way to ensure that you improve is to keep writing. Paying heed to criticism is something that you must always exercise, but, alas, many of us older people don’t heed the advice that we ourselves dish out to others. I’m very saddened by something that I see below. I must deal with it in a balanced way.

    • 0
      0

      Dear Dr Preethi Dharshana Wanasinghe,
      .
      I saw this article many hours ago, before even your first comment came in, and (having noted that I would have to read carefully to properly understand what was being said) I got on to other more exciting reading.
      .
      When I saw these comments of yours, I was stunned. Because by then I had been happy to read your apology to Dr W.A. Wijewardena. Other readers will not understand what I’m saying, but I must sleep on this before writing anything rash.
      .
      What you have said is shocking if set in its context.
      .
      Cheers, indeed!

  • 0
    0

    PART ONE (I’ve typed out four parts, today, 25th early hours – looks like being twenty parts!)
    .
    This argument has gone off at a tangent. Let me see if I can put the record straight. My nature is such that I may do it at inexcusable length – and I tell the pure, undiluted truth at all times.
    .
    Preethi Wanasinghe has been sending me a number of e-mails (the address given by him here is what he always uses), and I find many missed calls recorded on my phone (well – I’ve got to say it was yesterday – Friday, the 25th).
    .
    Let me tell you this very clearly. I have never taught Preethi. It is not for me to fathom why he lies. It is upto him to set the record straight. He told this ridiculous lie to both Dr W.A. Wijewardena (well known on CT) and (two weeks ago) to Eran Wickremaratne:
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eran_Wickramaratne
    .
    All the discussions centre on two public areas of interest. None of this has been on Social Media, this is a news site. The more important issue now is “National Politics” – Parliamentary Elections to get a government going.

    • 0
      0

      Note (a)
      .
      I’m striving to be as accurate as possible, because to do otherwise would be unfair by Dr Preethi Wansinghe.
      .
      The three calls from him have come in from him have indeed been yesterday, between 4.10 pm. and 5.58 pm., when I was riding my rickety old motorbike. Trying to get to as many trusted acquaintances as possible to get as simple a message across as possible with only eleven days to go before the fate of the next few generations of Sri Lankans is decided on the 5th of August.
      .
      I have not listened to this last in a series of videos, recommended to me by the sincere friend of all Sri Lankans, “leelagemalli”.

      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-oPCJ9t3Ew

      .
      There is no need for me to listen. The series had carefully built to a climax about three days ago. It ends with recommending this:
      .
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/None_of_the_above

    • 0
      0

      Note (b)
      .
      With a maintenance power cut scheduled for any time now, I’m typing this with difficulty on a tiny notebook computer. Trying to keep religiously to the stipulated word limit which seems to be observed only in the breach by our over-kind moderators.
      .
      The “pohottuwa” strategy is clear. They think that they can hoodwink their way to a victory from the votes of whole families who cannot think even of voting any way but for those who ushered in the necessary changes of 1956. That support has successfully been transferred from “blue” to the Rajapaksa “brown”. They will vote unthinkingly.
      .
      Many families are too poor to be able to monitor “Youtubes” on mobile phones, for the many hours that it has to be done. Some of the youth in those families are doing just that and mouth the catch phrases that they pick up. They are looked upon in the village as the “clever guys” in the family.
      .
      It is only the “undecided” who were listening to what the honest, sensitive and compassionate LM recomended. Now they are being told not to vote. I gave the Wikipedia link so that readers will see that this is an accepted strategy used by manipulators.

    • 0
      0

      Friday, was the 24th.
      .
      Sorry.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444 V) aka “Sinhala_Man”

  • 0
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    I desperately want a non-military regime in place
    ; the seemingly uphill task is defeating the Rajapaksas by persuading as many as possible to go out on the 5th of August 2020 and vote for either the “Telephone” (preferable) or the “Compass” (which I find is being referred to as the “Clock”).
    .
    Starting now with Eran, whom I have not met face to face, but we’ve spoken on phones and emailed (with contacts provided – unsolicited – by Preethi.) Most of this is taken from e-mails, to various people. Forgive me if the pronouns and dates get mixed up. What is definitely (recent) past writing I shall try to put into italics.

    .
    You must not take seriously all that Preethi Wanasinghe tells you!  Eran’s election campaign is important, and he’s been one of the best Parliamentarians, but I’m pessimistic about the outcome.  Ten days ago, I had a 55-minute chat with Preethi trying to ascertain what he’s trying to do.   He doesn’t have a clue as to what the various polling systems in the country are or have a commitment to anything except establish various connections.

  • 1
    0

    PART THREE
    .
    I’m grateful
    that Preethi put us in touch with each other, but for now, I shall communicate to Eran only what is immediately useful.  I’ll be back in Bandarawela by Friday (26th June), and then I will assess the situation in Uva.
    .
    Preethi Wanasinghe,  insisted that Eran and I speak to each other!   Eight years ago, I didn’t know who Preethi was.  This is verifiable information on how we first met five years ago. 
    .
    “So, my question is, who is this new secretary. The new Secretary is Preethi Wanasinghe, B.Sc.(Eng) 1st Class Hons , M.Sc.(Eng, Japan), MBA (Merit), FP(Harvard), Ph.D. (Calgary, Canada), Six Sigma Master Black Belt (Motorola University, USA)? Is he for real? Or another Doctor Mervyn Silva?”

    Asked by  Old Codger Redux / August 17, 2016, here: 

    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-thomian-pharisees-are-unrepentant-why-this-matters-to-all-sri-lankans/comment-page-1/#comments  

    • 3
      0

      S.M,
      Very interesting indeed.

      • 0
        0

        Kindly and decent “old codger”. You are one of the best-established commenters on CT. I guess you remember how this other “old codger” suddenly (and innocently, submitting comments only for these “Thomian articles”) used the same pseudonym as you, but how he thereafter added “Redux” to his pseudonym. All amicably managed by the two of you, allowing readers to focus not on silly insults hurled at one another by swollen heads, but on significant facts.
        .
        Those articles with lots of long comments are available there for any who want to examine them, but I think that it is now my responsibility to make the exercise as non-taxing as possible by excerpting from there and using the simplest of sentences to make the background clear and uncomplicated.
        .
        I’m glad that Preethi has decided that “openness is best” and given his e-mail address. I hope that some readers (especially those who are aware of “all the crimes committed by Panini”, will write to Preethi direct).
        .
        However, I view with concern his continuing obsession with “Thomians” and “Royalists”, when he himself spent his two A. Level years at Bandarawela M.V. after I left that school in November 1982 on three years of study leave to read English in Peradeniya University.

      • 0
        0

        Preethi’s own early brilliance at S. Thomas’, Bandarawela is well attested by his contemporaries in the school. He was indeed given two double promotions by then Headmaster, S.L.A. Ratnayake, who was the most honest and “God-fearing man” you could think of.
        .
        SLA was personally very generous to me and my family, being married to a relative of ours, a Miss Edirisinhe from Kitulampitiya, Galle. Alas, as an Educationist he was “past it”. He came when he was 55 and remained for twenty years. He was actually stingy when paying out any money from the school accounts. Result: he groomed no successor.
        .
        If fast-tracking gifted children, it must be carefully planned. They must not be allowed to miss out on their other human needs. You “double-promote” haphazardly – the results are to be seen in Preethi. Now is the time for him to respond to what “Old Codger Redux” has said very clearly. I share those doubts about all Preethi’s qualifications after his first degree.
        .
        I will say something later about the amazingly versatile Maths teacher whom Preethi had in the Maha Vidyalaya. He confirms that Preethi was a bright student.

    • 3
      0

      My Dear Sinnhala Man,

      I have no words to express my gratitude how much you have been doing to improve the awareness of the people that have now been caught by MISLEADING propaganda.
      .
      All these are because of FAKE media propaganda. I really dont know why media ethics would not work in SL over the past few months.

      Please take good care of you – the current situation could hurt anyone because they dont respect law and order at all. Looking back, I feel, majority of srilanken should be stupid to have voted for them. But this is good old srilanka. Srilanken average mind set would not change easily.

      • 3
        0

        LM
        Fake news is part of all major media establishments.
        There is the crude fake news of the gutter press and the polished versions of the elitist media.
        For starters, do you hear the truth about Nicaragua or Venezuela from the mainstream media?

  • 0
    0

    Please, let us stick always to the truth, and not threaten people, etc.
    .
    I felt that I had to counter these “white lies” because they all add up. Also, whilst I have recently been having friendly enough conversations with Dr Preethi Wanasinghe recently, I cannot overlook the damage that he did to the cause of justice and fairplay when he said that he was taking steps to contact Bishop Dhiloraj Canagasabey and others to prevent me from asserting the rights of the Old Boys collectively to run the an obscure OBA.
    .
    All that is contained in threatening emails that he sent me nearly five years ago. Lots of name-dropping. I wanted that stopped. I’m willing to pay the price for being open.
    .
    I see now that there was justification for him to warn young Amanda, so let us all resolve tobe honest in future.

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