Sri Lanka faces a challenge to emerge from the continuing crisis. This background note argues that domestic debt restructuring (DDR) provides four benefits critical for the economy and country to emerge from the present crisis stronger and more resilient than before. First, DDR provides a pathway toward solvency for the Government of Sri Lanka. Second, it provides the foundations for the stability of the economy (macro stability). Third, it reduces the likelihood of needing subsequent sovereign debt restructuring, and fourth, it facilitates the equitable sharing of the burden of the costs of the crisis.
As Sri Lanka’s crisis continues, up to 50% or more of the population is likely to need state support, however current targeting through Samurdhi reaches just about a quarter of all households and only 40% of the poorest individuals. As such, this background note by the Verité Research Sri Lanka Economic Policy Group recommends household electricity use as a determinant of eligibility for welfare benefits.
This note by the Verité Research Sri Lanka Economic Policy Group estimates the additional revenue that can be collected from reinstating in Sri Lanka two methods of efficient tax collection that were discontinued in 2020. That is: the withholding tax (WHT) and the pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) methods of tax collection. Without any change in the current, reduced, tax rates, and a WHT of 10% the additional revenue that can be collected is estimated to be 0.70% of GDP (which is LKR 184.2 billion in 2023).
Since December 2018 Sri Lanka has been subject to three notches down in rating by S&P, Moody’s and Fitch Ratings. This situation is a historical first for Sri Lanka. While many of Sri Lanka’s key macroeconomic indicators have, in the past recorded more negative levels, Sri Lanka has never in the past, been evaluated as being at such a serious level of risk, in terms of defaulting on its debt.
Sri Lanka introduced a ban on chemical fertiliser importation, and a shift to organic fertiliser starting April 2021. As existing stocks were beginning to deplete Verité Research conducted a survey in July to capture the views of the farmers on the policy and its impact on them. The farmers were broadly supportive of the policy; but expected a much reduced harvest due to the lack of knowledge and time to make the transition.
In 2014 a data dissemination policy was introduced by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) in Sri Lanka. The DCS is the primary agency responsible for the collection, compilation and dissemination of official statistics.