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Explaining the Mirage of GDP Growth Optimism

The government estimates that by 2015 per capita GDP will quadruple from what it was in 2004. But this is a mirage: real incomes will not even double in that period. The mirage is created by counting in US dollars and effectively presenting nominal growth in GDP (increased prices) as real GDP growth (increased incomes).

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Parliament should have a formula for regulating cigarettes

Variations in the tobacco excise tax affects Rs. 10s of billions in government revenue. Taxation and pricing has been inconsistent. The lack of a consistent method allows wide discretion to officials in determining the tax. Parliament should adopt a formula to keep taxation in line with national policy, treat stakeholders fairly, and prevent discretion from being abused.

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USD 20 billion export target by 2020: Aiming to be mediocre

Sri Lanka hopes to increase export revenue to USD 20 bn by 2020. This target is perceived as ambitious; but, compared to the country’s growth targets and the performance of regional peers, it is mediocre. This Insight explains that to be confident of setting and achieving ambitious export targets, Sri Lanka must go beyond symptomatic remedies and address the root causes of underlying problems with its export strategy.

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