Successive Sri Lankan governments have correctly identified the importance of MSMEs as one of the main drivers of growth and development. However, while this sector makes up the backbone of the Sri Lankan economy, it continues to be one of the most vulnerable to local and global economic disruptions.
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a public health crisis, and morphed into a global economic crisis, with severe impacts on commercial activity, employment, and trade. In Sri Lanka, the pandemic has affected revenue streams of many businesses in the country. The impact is more harshly felt by unprotected workers. This blog discusses key issues that need to be rectified in Sri Lanka’s labour market policies to face similar emergencies in the future.
This blog discusses key challenges Sri Lanka faces when adopting working-from-home (WFH) as a solution to the country’s low female labour force participation (FLFP) and proposes policy solutions to overcome them. It is based on IPS’ forthcoming ‘Sri-Lanka: State of the Economy 2020’ report on ‘Pandemics and Disruptions: Reviving Sri Lanka’s Economy COVID-19 and Beyond’.
Repatriation and Replacement of Lost Foreign Jobs: Handling Labour Migration in Sri Lanka during COVID-19
Sri Lanka, which has been sending workers abroad for employment for decades, is now faced with the formidable challenge of repatriating large numbers of migrant workers affected by COVID-19. This exercise calls for a continued coordination with the returnees, beyond the period of travel and quarantine. This blog dissects the nuances of labour migration, lost foreign employment opportunities, and repatriation brought about by the spread of COVID-19 and provides policy recommendations to successfully re-enter foreign labour markets.
Growing pressure on Sri Lanka’s scarce foreign exchange resources, due to the wide spread of COVID-19 across the globe, is now more real than ever before. To ease this pressure, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has taken many measures to attract as well as retain more foreign exchange in Sri Lanka. Yet, it is uncertain if these efforts alone would be able to address Sri Lanka’s deepening foreign exchange concerns. This blog highlights the importance of remittances to Sri Lanka and outlines how to harness the potential of international remittances to complement other efforts already taken by the CBSL.