The Sri Lankan migrant workforce provides an important contribution to the economy. However, their contribution is being undervalued by a lack of existing institutional frameworks to maximize their potential whilst at the same time provide protectionary measures in the course of foreign employment. This is particularly significant for female migrant workers who are exposed to an alarmingly high rate of physical and sexual abuse. The proposed Budget 2012 changes provide an ample opportunity to rectify and minimize risks that are presently at a high level.
With stimulated economic activity in post-war Sri Lanka and the heightened investment in connective infrastructure islandwide there is no doubt that the logistics sector will have a key role to play in supporting growth. Budget 2012 has indeed brought in proposals that give the logistics sector a ‘shot in the arm’. But it is just the beginning.
The Budget 2012 presented last month touches on agriculture at several points. However, the proposal to establish “four rice export zones” stands out as the most provocative, in an economic sense, amongst all of them. Sri Lanka has just achieved near self-sufficiency in rice. But the rice sector, including both production and consumption, is still plagued with a multitude of economic and social problems. Against this backdrop, a proposal to commit resources to promote rice export raises a number of questions ranging from “is it possible” to “at what cost and for whose benefit”. This article seeks to take a deeper look into this complex issue.
Yes, tax concessions are a vital component in the SME-strengthening effort, and the Budget 2012 has much to offer for SMEs. But tax concessions should not be thought of as the panacea for the struggles of Sri Lanka’s SMEs. Other issues are often equally constraining, and more needs to be done about them. Ministry of Finance has delivered; it is now time for SME-mandated government institutions to sharpen their focus and address the vital issues