An effective vaccination strategy is a necessity for countries to move beyond COVID-19. However, it also requires careful policymaking to balance the financial cost of purchasing and delivering vaccines while stimulating economic growth. This article, based on a recent IPS analysis, provides an overview of the approximate costs associated with the COVID-19 vaccination rollout in Sri Lanka and evaluates policy options to finance the initiative. The authors argue that the government is best off pursuing a medium-term self-financing option through targetted tax interventions and if required, through external financing.
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.
This blog, based on a forthcoming IPS publication, discusses the impact of tobacco spending on other basic needs. The findings of the study show that spending on tobacco results in households foregoing other critical expenditure.
Non-communicable diseases – primarily caused by poor eating habits and inactive lifestyles – claim the largest number of Sri Lankan lives, accounting for 83% of all deaths, compared to a global average of 71%. This blog takes a look at how food environments influence eating habits and highlights the need for examining and regulating Sri Lanka’s food environment to combat the NCD epidemic. Some best practice country examples which could help inform the policy agenda in Sri Lanka are also discussed.
At a juncture when government finances are tight, policy solutions such as taxing tobacco which can be leveraged to boost government revenue, without threatening economic growth, are essential. However, Sri Lanka’s 2021 Budget does not specify any tax increases on cigarettes. Instead, it proposes a simplification of taxes across a variety of sin goods and other goods. Details on how such a complex proposal is to be implemented across an array of industries are yet to be revealed. This blog dissects some of these issues pertaining to cigarette tax proposals in Budget 2021.