News

Daily Mirror
30 Jun 2015

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) welcomes the well-written and carefully considered critique of its blueprint, ‘Charting the Way Forward: Prosperity for All’, by the Collective for Economic Democratisation that was published in Mirror Business last week.

This critique is an important contribution to the discourse on economic reforms, which needs to take place in this country. In fact, one of the reasons which motivated the PF to produce its blueprint was to generate such discussion and debate. The PF is also very open to critiques that serve to strengthen this document.

The Sunday Times
14 Jun 2015

The purpose of this article is to discuss some matters regarding the efforts taken by the ILO to improve decent work at workplaces and the role of EFC towards that effort. There are so many projects organised by the ILO to improve tripartite relationships when settling workers issues. In this regard the recent Evaluation Workshop organised by the ILO on 30th March, 2015 at Waters Edge reviewed the work relating to the projects carried out by stakeholders in 2014. There were several awareness programmes organised by trade unions, EFC and the Department of Labour with the help of the ILO.

Ceylon Daily News
25 May 2015

The total outstanding government debt increased by 8.8 percent to Rs. 7,390 billion by end of 2014 from Rs. 6,793 billion at the end 2013, stated the Central Bank Annual Report 2014 tabled in Parliament last Tuesday.

Out of the total government debt, Rs. 4,277 billion was domestic debt, while Rs. 3,113 billion was foreign debt.

The Island
21 Apr 2015

In closing the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA)’s 52nd Open Forum, which sought to interrogate credit as a development intervention, moderator Vijay Nagaraj (CEPA) astutely borrowed a line from French philosopher, Michel Foucault: "Not everything is bad but everything is dangerous."

Sunday Observer
23 Mar 2015

When it comes to the role of the State in development, Sri Lanka has witnessed an extremely sterile debate that has formulated the question as a choice between the State and the market. There are champions on both sides, increasingly encrusted in their ideological positions.

The purpose of these comments is to try and break through this debate. It does not seem pave the way for new thinking, even though the discussion at international level has moved on beyond this framework.

Economy Next
20 Feb 2015

Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has begun discussions with World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati as part of raising an estimated 4.0 billion dollar financing package backed by the International Monetary Fund.

Indrawati had said the Bank would "favorably consider" a request for a Development Policy Loan Sri Lanka's embassy in Washington said.

Voice of America
19 Feb 2015

Sri Lanka’s promise to cooperate on the issue of wartime atrocities has prompted the United Nations to postpone a report on human rights violations in the final stages of the country’s brutal civil war that ended in 2009. The step has been welcomed in the island country.

The United Nations Human Rights Council says the publication of a report, into the suspected deaths of as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians in the campaign to crush the Tamil Tiger rebels, has been deferred until September to give the new government space to conduct a credible domestic investigation.

The Guardian
19 Feb 2015

President Maithripala Sirisena is a busy man. No sooner has he finished his morning walk around Colombo’s Independence Square than a stream of officials, visitors, business people, soldiers and ambassadors file through the colonial-era gates to his white-washed residence in Sri Lanka’s principal city.

One day last week he appointed a new appeal judge and the head of a key committee, had a two-hour security meeting, met a senior executive of a major Indian telecommunications firm, and accepted the presentation of a new astrological almanac, all before lunch.

Reuters
10 Feb 2015

Sri Lanka is looking to tap global capital market to borrow up to $1.5 billion through sovereign bond before the end of April and planning for a new IMF program, its Finance Minister said on Monday, as it considers cheap loans to cut commercial debts.
The new Government has said the real total debt at the end of 2014 including State-Owned Enterprises’ borrowing was 88.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), over the previous Government’s official figure of about 75% of GDP.

The Island
09 Feb 2015

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presents the 1Interim Budget-2015 in parliament recently.
Prices of 13 food items were significantly reduced through the Interin Budget 2015

Pathfinder Economic Alert

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has been consistent in its call for prudent fiscal management and market oriented policies. In Economic Alert no: 67 titled 'The Election Manifestos: An Auction of Non-existent Resources and Beyond', it highlighted the populist nature of the manifestos of the two main candidates and the need for fiscal discipline.

The Sunday Times
08 Feb 2015

A top trade union grouping has slammed the new Government’s interim budget saying six million private sector workers should be given a Rs. 5,000 wage hike without linking the increase to productivity.

The Sunday Times
08 Feb 2015

An unprecedented expansion of private healthcare has occurred over the last decade or so in Sri Lanka. As private health facilities mushroom across the island, full page advertisements invite us to access “cutting-edge” diagnostic services in private hospitals together with various promotional health insurance packages offered to help us “consume” these services. According to data from the Institute for Health Policy, the number of private hospitals rose from 83 to 125 between 2000 and 2011, and the number of private hospital beds grew by about 50 per cent during the same period.

Colombo Telegraph
02 Feb 2015

“Ultimately it is what happens in peoples lives that matters.” – Sri Lanka Human Development Report 2012 – UNDP

November 2006: The Fourth Eelam War was raging. The regime exhorts the populace to make sacrifices – and awards the executive, the legislature and the judiciary massive salary hikes. The steepest increase goes to President Rajapaksa[i].

November 2008: The Eelam War is in its final phase. President Rajapaksa gives himself and the entire legislature another massive salary hike[ii].

Reuters
30 Jan 2015

Sri Lanka's new government will spell out populist measures to cut the cost of living when it unveils a supplementary budget on Thursday, but an absence of credible steps to boost revenue could hurt the island nation's fiscal consolidation.

The new administration of President Maithripala Sirisena, which ended the decade-long rule of Mahinda Rajapaksa, has pledged to fix a "scary" economy plagued by what it calls faulty data issued by the old government. It has promised salary hikes for state employees and tax cuts.

Economy Next
28 Jan 2015

Sri Lanka is planning a sovereign bond sale in February after a revised budget for 2015 is presented by a new administration, Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran said.

"As soon as the budget has been announced on the 29th (of January) we will start talking to markets," Mahendran said.

"I am hopeful that by February we will have a mandate to tap the markets for a new bond issue."

Sri Lanka was earlier planning to go the markets with a 1.5 billion US dollar bond ahead of a maturing 500 million US dollar bond on January 21.

Daily FT
28 Jan 2015

There is no change in Sri Lanka’s international or domestic trade positioning due to the arrival of a new Government, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said yesterday.

World Finance
23 Jan 2015

Sri Lanka’s new president pledges a 100-day programme to restructure the state and economy

Reuters
22 Jan 2015

Sri Lankan shares ended slightly higher after hitting one-month lows on Thursday, but concerns over political stability weighed on sentiment as investors awaited the new government's interim budget scheduled for next week.

The main stock index fell 1.37 percent to a one-month low of 7,223.92 in early trade, a day after the government reappointed Thilak Karunaratne as head of the market regulator and said he would investigate suspected deals in the stock market.

Economy Next
22 Jan 2015

Sri Lanka's state will lose 65 billion rupees in potential revenues a year from tax cuts made to slash fuel prices, this week energy minister Champika Ranawaka said, but future revisions would be on a transparent formula.

The state can only give 'benefits' to people from taxes taken from the people themselves, funds borrowed from citizens or from abroad or money printed at the Central Bank which causes inflation and currency depreciation.

Bloomberg News
20 Jan 2015

Sri Lanka’s two-week-old government plans to start discussions with the International Monetary Fund on reducing a debt burden that grew under the previous administration, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

Karunanayake, who will meet IMF officials today, said in an interview late yesterday that President Maithripala Sirisena wanted to reduce interest costs on the island nation’s 7.2 trillion rupees ($55 billion) in total debt. He ended Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 10-year rule in a Jan. 8 election.

The Island
06 Jan 2015

Sirasa TV journalist, Chandana Sooriyabandara, once observed that this presidential election was ‘one of the most boring election he had ever seen’. He further said that people participated more enthusiastically even in local government elections. Media, especially electronic media, has been trying hard to make the election campaign interesting but with little success primarily because for many media institutions only two candidates exist. Two candidates and those who support them do not debate on policies since they both submitted almost the same manifestos.

The Sunday Times
04 Jan 2015

Official reports claim that poverty levels have come down dramatically during the last decade owning to the development strategies adopted by the government. The poverty headcount ratio (proportion of the population living below the ‘poverty line’) is down from 22.7 per cent in 2006/07 to 8.9 per cent in 2009/10 and to 6.5 per cent in 2012/13, according to the Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (HIES) of the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS). The rapid decline in poverty within such a short period, of course, appears impressive.

The Sunday Times
07 Dec 2014

Incessant campaigning by finance companies, including door-to-door canvassing, has caused rising debt in the Northern Province amongst people who are only just emerging from a debilitating war, community leaders say.

Newspapers are writing of suicides related to an inability to settle dues, although there has been no scientific research to connect these deaths with indebtedness. Several crop failures caused by drought have severely eroded farmer incomes, making it impossible for many to pay off loans.

The Sunday Times
09 Nov 2014

With Sri Lanka’s Non Bank Financial Institutions (NBFI) sector consolidation nearing completion, the time has come to consider a similar move in the insurance sector, Nivard Cabraal, Governor Central Bank (CB) says.

The Sunday Times
09 Nov 2014

The Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees’ Union (FTZGSEU) has urged the authorities to formulate an environmentally friendly development plan on “Right to Life and Land” for the Central Hills aimed at protecting residents.

The proposal should be presented in parliament within the next six months, the General Council of the union said in a resolution declared after a meeting held on Sunday.