Export promotion has been a key policy objective of successive governments of Sri Lanka. The Government aims to double the value of exports to USD 20 billion by 2020. Currently, the government is taking measures to improve the investment climate and ease the bureaucratic burden for the private sector; investors and businesses. One such bureaucratic hindrance is the export registration process. This policy note finds that although the current registration process was introduced with the intention of identifying and supporting new exporters, its execution severely impedes the achievement of this goal.
Despite an increasing number of natural disasters in recent years, Sri Lanka suffers from a limited uptake of natural disaster insurance coverage. Sri Lanka’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are especially vulnerable to the impact of such disasters. While there are many factors that contribute to the limited use of natural disaster insurance in Sri Lanka, our policy note identifies the lack of accessible information, especially in the vernacular, to be one of the primary causes. Our findings revealed that information on natural disaster insurance is provided almost exclusively in English by private insurance companies as well as state provided welfare schemes. Given that the areas affected by natural disasters outside Colombo have an English literacy rate below 30%, provisions of such information in the vernacular can significantly help SMEs tap into the benefits of natural disaster insurance.
There are three false claims that have been prevalent in print media, in relation to the tax and price increases of cigarettes in the last quarter of 2016. The claims were that (i) tax revenue reduced, (ii) beedi consumption increased, and (iii) CTC lost economic value. The Insight provides analysis that contests all three claims.
Sri Lanka is a signatory to the International Treaty, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control since 2003. It has not yet implemented the provisions relating to protecting tobacco policy from vested interests. This Insight explores the consequences of not doing so and meaningful steps that can be taken towards mitigating the influence of vested interests.
Analysis of past tax and price data reveals two aspects of cigarette pricing that are hidden from media reporting: first, net-of-tax price grew at a faster rate than the tax per cigarette; second, that the government’s tax share of the cigarette price has fallen over time.
The Cabinet decision to withdraw Excise Notification No.02/2018 is unconstitutional. The Notification removes the ban on the sale of liquor to women within the premises of a tavern. This brief explains why the Cabinet decision constitutes an imminent infringement of the fundamental right to equal protection.
On 10 January 2018, the Minister of Finance and Mass Media amended Excise Notification No.666 of 31 December 1979. It is widely believed that by this act the Minister revoked a prohibition on the sale of liquor to women. The President and the cabinet responded by asking for the amendments to be reversed. This reversal is widely believed to have reinstated the previous prohibition on women purchasing liquor. Verité Research finds both these views to be poorly-informed.
Sri Lanka and China decided to enter into a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in August 2013 to further expand trade between the two countries. Technical negotiations, which officially commenced in September 2014, are still underway with five rounds of negotiations having been concluded. China is the world’s second largest economy, its largest exporter and its second largest importer. For a small market economy like Sri Lanka, an agreement with a country such as China presents exciting opportunities as well as daunting challenges. This briefing note provides an assessment of the challenges and opportunities that Sri Lanka is likely to face in operating under an FTA with China. Potential challenges and opportunities have been identified by analysing the key features of China’s existing FTAs with other countries.