Across the globe, the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a new urgency around healthcare systems and universal health coverage – the access to high-quality and affordable healthcare services for all, as and when needed. The limited resources available to address multiple challenges facing the health system point to the critical need for policymakers to explore smarter ways of investing existing funds. This blog examines some areas in which health spending can be made more efficient, drawing from information collected for an ongoing IPS study.
Historically, the Sri Lankan government has resorted to import controls to counter a balance of payment crisis. The current import controls have the same underlying rationale. However, the trade deficit’s temporary shrinkage may not be sustainable if there is no increase in exports. To increase exports, Sri Lanka needs to remove hurdles on input supply, remove distortionary tariffs, exploit market opportunities under the rule-based free trade system, and in the long run, improve the country’s GVC participation.
Out of the six million families living in Sri Lanka, only 5.2 million have some form of housing. Though steps have been taken to develop the housing sector in the country, such as the formulation of the National Housing Policy, there are issues that warrant attention. This blog aims to inquire into the pressing needs of the sector and discuss whether the 2019 Budget proposals passed by Parliament provide solutions to these problems.
February 2014 marked five consecutive years of single-digit rates of inflation in Sri Lanka – supposedly the longest spell in the country’s post-independence history. Quite rightly, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) can take its share of credit for this success, especially in view of historic high and volatile inflation rates of the past. Indeed, the scale of monetary stability becomes clear when considering the fact that inflation rates hit a peak of 22.6 per cent in only 2008 before settling to single digit levels from February 2009. Despite five years of a moderate inflationary environment and higher average economic growth during that period, private investment trends have been modest. The monetary authorities are struggling to revive credit appetite in spite of signaling the end of a tight monetary policy stance way back in December 2012. Credit growth to the private sector was extremely sluggish at 7.5 per cent in 2013. It has continued in the same vein so far in 2014, recording a growth of only 4.4 per cent year-on-year in February.
A new report prepared by the IPS and UNFPA titled, ‘Investing in the Demographic Dividend: Successes, Challenges and Way Forward for Sri Lanka’, launches at a special side event on the final day of the World Conference on Youth 2014 today. It suggests measures for Sri Lanka to get ready for a post-demographic dividend phase in the country, and makes recommendations on where critical investments need to be made. In this blog, IPS Research Economist Chatura Rodrigo (CR), lead author of the report gives Talking Economics (TE) a quick overview of the report and how its findings can be used in future policymaking.