Sri Lanka

The COVID-19 Crisis and Innovation: Why Intellectual Property Rights Matter

This blog highlights the importance of intellectual property rights (IPRs) in the commercialisation process and suggests some strategies to advance the commercialisation process in Sri Lanka.

Urban Solutions: Building Pandemic Resilience in Sri Lanka’s Cities

Sri Lanka is experiencing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cities and urban centres have become the hotspots of vulnerability. With their relatively favourable economic conditions and extensive transport networks, cities attract migrants from rural areas, frequently resulting in overcrowding and greater vulnerability to external shocks such as COVID-19. Hence, strengthening resilience of cities and urban settlements to meet health emergencies is a critical part of the national response strategy to pandemics. This blog explains why cities should be focal points of pandemic response planning, and discusses ways to build pandemic resilience in Sri Lanka’s urban areas.

A Win-Win Strategy: Why the Government Should Increase Tobacco Taxation in the Forthcoming Budget

A recent study by IPS projects that government tax revenue can be boosted by LKR 37 billion by 2023, if taxes on cigarettes are streamlined and raised in line with inflation. Although the government assumed a policy stance of cutting taxes across the board when they came into power, excise taxation of sin-goods such as cigarettes is one area where it is still politically feasible to raise taxes in order to boost much needed revenue. This month’s budget is therefore an opportune moment to increase tobacco taxation, which will simultaneously help raise revenue at a critical time for the country, and generate significant and positive health benefits that would flow from reducing smoking.

COVID-19: a wake-up call for Sri Lanka’s tea industry

By the time COVID-19 hit, Sri Lanka’s tea production and export earnings had already been on a declining trend. The adverse weather conditions and long-term structural issues such as labour shortages and lack of technological application have affected production levels over time. With the first wave of the pandemic, the vulnerabilities of the tea sector were exposed. Now, Sri Lanka and most of the main tea buyers are experiencing a second wave which can have far reaching negative consequences than previously anticipated. This blog discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on Sri Lanka’s tea industry and the different mitigation strategies that the government can adopt to revive the industry.

Tobacco Economics: How Reduced Consumption Benefits the Household and the National Economy

Implementing tobacco control policies to reduce smoking prevalence will enhance the economic well-being of people, particularly the poor, as it would free up more resources for basic needs such as food and education, resulting in a positive gain for the whole economy. For a developing country like Sri Lanka, it is essential to integrate tobacco control measures into poverty alleviation policies and programmes to benefit the individual, the household and the national economy.

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