ECONOMIC POLICY NEED TO FOCUS STRONG BALANCED GROWTH IN SRI LANKA
Posted on April 2nd, 2020

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

Short term performance of Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the president of Sri Lanka has proved that he is a capable person to launch the country to achieve the aspirations of people.  He has given strong leadership to control coronavirus pandemic and successfully coordinated the entire administration mechanism as a team leader of the country.  This environment gives a signal that people can trust him without political, social, ethnic and religious differences and no point maintaining divisions or dividing the country.  People need to unite with the president and give support to him giving a two-third majority at the next election to successfully launch the country to forward. When people watch reports in news media it shows the nature of a reasonably developed country as they show good buildings, houses and many other things.  However, the reality may deviate from the show-off or news reports.  In this environment policymakers need to focus a balanced growth idea throughout the country and in fact, rural communities are suffered from economic difficulties and economic enjoyment has gone to a limited group of people. How can change this situation?

The balanced growth could be applied from a different point of views and when it talks about the balanced growth it comes to our minds about theoretical arguments began from Ragnar Nurkse in the 20th century and Nurkse focused on the expanding the size of market and inter-industrial relationship.  When it refers to Sri Lanka the views of Arthur Lewis may vital than extreme ideas of Nurkse as the determinants of the size of market are not an issue except the productivity of employees in both public and private sectors. Nurkse focused intersectoral balance as a limited area such as industrial and agricultural sectors and from the point of view of Sri Lanka intersectoral balance expand to geographical areas. The real picture is uneven growth results in the country and this situation needs to change into a reasonably even level would be a priority task of economic policymakers.

 The productivity of employees compared to the salary and wage levels in the country seems many disparities in different organizations as well as in different sectors and policymakers need to identify and develop a parity to determine the expected productivity in various industries. When there is a standard productivity level individual institution can compare with own standards and could take management strategies to maintain productivity level. Productivity could be identified as a management-related problem. Many developed countries have developed productivity level for industries and individual organizations compare with the standards in the industry.  Trade unions in Sri Lanka have no idea about the expected productivity level and the government needs to educate trade unions about productivity.

During wartime (1983-2009) a considerable volume of government spending directed to war efforts and after the recovery period also massive investments located to Colombo and suburbs and rural areas less regarded and this situation has created the disparity in development and growth.  The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa attempted to reduce disparity focusing investments in rural area, however, the yahapalana regime failed to continue balance growth.

Sri Lanka is a small country and urbanization could expand to suburbs without harming investors’ expectations.  Expanding education in rural areas could begin balanced growth in the country because it would support the concept of skilling the nation pushing job opportunities in rural areas.  Education and training can change uneven growth creating an environment that encouraging more investments in rural level and reduce the difference of social status between rural and urban people.

When the government policy focuses on balanced growth, the market would be broadened as Nurkse stated and aggregate demand expands throughout the country

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