Spotlight: Econ Op-eds in Summary (Week ended 18th December '19)
1. Re-build brand Sri Lanka: Exports at +1%
By: Rohantha Athukorala
· Worrying export performance and low GDP indicates the vulnerability of the Sri Lankan economy. In such a context the latest brand Finance report has indicated that Sri Lanka’s external brand value has not kept up with the world. A country’s brand influences the quality of investments, tourists and export markets a country can attract.
· Our exports are strategically weak accounting for only 20% of GDP where 76% total exports are ‘Low Knowhow’ exports with many substitutes available. Low machinery and electrical exports are a key issue in this context. Hence the National Export Strategy (NES) with reforms on developing the export industry must be driven with absolute aggression.
· Sri Lanka has registered a 19.6% decline in tourists’ arrivals and the current visitor profile are the budget tourists due to the slashed prices. Sri Lanka needs to launch a thematic brand building campaign with an integrated communication drive to lift the profile of the country. This will be the key investment with positive ramifications across the sectors.
2. The gender dimension of remittances to Sri Lanka Who remits more
By: Bilesha Weeraratne
· Remittances are an important source of foreign currency inflows to Sri Lanka. However, in the recent years the country had experienced a decline in remittances most popularly driven by, geopolitical uncertainties in the Middle East, sluggish global growth and decline in departures for foreign employment.
· However, an underexplored reason for the decline in remittances is the recent changes in the composition of migrant workers. Where the share of female migrant workers is less than that of males. Despite the higher value of remittances made by male workers, the decline in female workers is especially a concern given that female workers often remit back 81-100% of their income compared to an 80% remittance by male workers.
· Given such a context, it is important to re-examine the policies related to foreign employment. This would include re-examining the remittance implications of restricting female migration, - especially of female domestic workers - encouraging males to remit a greater share of their income and the financial sector making remitting attractive by associating greater benefits for remittances.
(Compiled by: Promodhya Abeysekara & Asel Hettiarachchi)