18 Apr 2022
In line with globally recommended practices to reduce the dietary risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Sri Lankan government implemented a traffic-light labelling (TLL) system for sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in August 2016. The purpose of the regulations was to educate the public on the sugar content in SSBs to promote healthy diets in Sri Lanka and reduce NCDs associated with a high sugar intake. It is timely to assess the effectiveness of TLL in encouraging healthier food choices. Based on an ongoing IPS study, this blog discusses consumers’ knowledge of TLL and how it impacts their SSB choices.
25 Feb 2022
The tourism industry’s performance was hampered first by the Easter Sunday bomb explosions in 2019 and then the COVID-19 pandemic. Sri Lanka saw a decline in tourist arrivals from 1,913,702 in 2019 to 194,495 in 2021. It is estimated that revenue declined from USD 3600 million to USD 261 million during 2019-2021, reflecting a staggering 92.75% reduction due to a fall in arrivals.
21 Feb 2022
A great deal of discussion is underway on what appears to be the latest wave of migration from Sri Lanka. While the exact scale and nature of youth migration remain unclear, the costs of brain drain dominate these discussions. The brain drain concern is valid, yet focusing on it alone can limit our understanding of the complex implications of migration. This blog argues that apart from its challenges, youth migration can also present some surprising opportunities for socio-economic development if strategically managed.
02 Feb 2022
Despite enhanced trade partnerships in South Asia, intra-regional trade is far from reaching its theoretical potential. Similar production patterns and competitive sectors can be the causes. However, bilateral discussions to further lower trade costs continue. The ongoing Bangladesh-Sri Lanka discussions on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) will benefit from knowing the potential gains from reducing bilateral trade costs. In addition, knowledge of products with a higher potential for export gains will help optimise the economic benefits from a trade deal.
31 Jan 2022
Sovereign debt restructuring can be pre-emptive or post-default. A default is inherently costly as it can result in a sustained loss of access to capital markets. That leaves pre-emptive restructuring when a country deems itself unable to service outstanding debt.
13 Dec 2021
The lockdowns introduced in 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19 saw the narrative “nature is healing” gain prominence. However, the notion that nature, in the absence of people, was healing fizzled out fairly quickly with the emergence of fresh environmental challenges, most notably, the resurgence of single-use plastics. This blog examines the ecological fallout of the pandemic and suggests policy options for Sri Lanka to avert the looming environmental disaster.
15 Sep 2021
Lockdowns and restricted mobility have devastated labour markets across the world. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the equivalent of 225 million jobs was wiped out globally due to employment and working hour losses in 2020 compared to 2019 (Q4). These working hour losses are four times higher than those experienced during the global financial crisis in 2009. The COVID-19-instigated recession has affected the quantity and the quality of jobs, with increasing levels of informal types of work with lower remuneration. Restoration of labour markets is important to minimise damage to human development and increase aggregate demand, thereby boosting economic recovery. This blog looks at why it is important to have targetted policy interventions to revive the labour market by illustrating that the impact of COVID-19 is different across occupations and industries.
13 Sep 2021
The MSME sector in Sri Lanka amounts to 1.017 million establishments, employing approximately 2.25 million persons. This approximates to more than 90% of total establishments in the country and 45% of total employment.
08 Sep 2021
Unprecedented declines in merchandise trade, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows, tourism and cross-border migration have all been hallmarks of the economic fallout of COVID-19. As a result, growth expectations for countries worldwide dimmed. Nonetheless, thanks in part to substantial expansionary monetary and fiscal policies being rolled out to achieve pre-COVID economic recovery levels and the development of vaccines, the contraction in global trade and economic output are less than what was anticipated. The Sri Lankan economy too has been impacted by these external developments, witnessing fluctuating fortunes in its external sector performance. This blog discusses the impacts of global economic developments on Sri Lanka’s external sector and suggests ways to cushion them.
30 Aug 2021
On 20 May 2021, Sri Lanka’s worst-ever marine disaster occurred when a fire erupted on the Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl container ship just 18 km Northwest of Colombo. While the long-term cost is yet to be determined, the negative impact on industries such as fisheries and tourism, and people who rely on the coastal resources of Sri Lanka is already apparent.
12 Aug 2021
The nutritional status of children under five in Sri Lanka has not shown a significant improvement for the last 20 years. It has also been lagging behind most of the other health and social indicators on children. IPS research shows that household income, inadequate nutrient intake, breastfeeding practices, mothers’ education, etc., play a major role in child undernutrition in Sri Lanka. Moreover, given significant losses in household income experienced at the hands of the COVID-19 pandemic, nutrient intake may have declined further over the past year. As such, it would be a challenging task for health planners to develop effective strategies to minimise undernutrition among children under five years. This article highlights some of the facts contributing to child undernutrition in Sri Lanka and suggests ways to address this critical issue.
Prasanna Lakmal is a lecturer at the Department for Commerce & Financial Management of the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.
Dr. Indika Neluwa-Liyanage is a lecturer in Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of University of Sri Jayewardenepura. His research focuses on the metabolic alterations underlying autism spectrum disorders and inherited metabolic disorders.
Priyanka Jayawardena is a Research Economist with research interests in skills and education, demographics, health, and labour markets. Priyanka has around 15 years of research experience at IPS. She has worked as a consultant to international organisations including World Bank, ADB and UNICEF. She has conducted numerous research studies relating to the human resource development in Sri Lanka for a variety of development partners and various government ministries. Her research has been published in peer reviewed national and international journals and book chapters. She holds a BSc (Hons) specialised in Statistics and an MA in Economics, both from the University of Colombo.
Sunimalee’s research interests include health economics, gender and population studies. She holds a BA (Economic Special) degree with a first class and a Masters in Economics (MEcon) degree from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Nisha Arunatilake has been a Research Fellow at IPS since 2000 and was appointed as the Director of Research in January 2018. She has extensive post-doctoral experience in conducting policy related economic research in labour market analysis, education, public finance and health.
I do research on dysmennorrhoea and gender-based violence. I am a pioneer in registered clinical trials on indigenous and Ayurveda medicines in Sri Lanka. I have approval for a herbal preparation, for COVID patients.
Mangala Gunatilake is a veterinarian and professor at the Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.