ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 27

Empty bellies and inflated figures!

The two foremost financial wizards of the State, the Governor of the Central Bank and the Secretary of the Treasury, have, in recent times, made very up-beat statements of the state of our economy, which no doubt must warm the hearts of their political bosses. These statements, reported in the press, and not contradicted, maintain that the economy has shown a healthy growth rate, continues to grow steadily, and above all, will continue to grow. I am no financial expert; in fact my ignorance of both macro and microeconomics (whatever those terms mean) is colossal. But one does not have to be an economist to know that all is not well in the State of Lanka, from the point of view of the mass of the people, who are experiencing increasing difficulties in getting on with their day-to-day lives, finding the basic needs of daily living, in terms of essential (not luxury) foods, essential health care, obligatory travel to and from work-places — for those fortunate enough to find work — employment, educational facilities, protection from increasing natural disasters etc.

The much-lauded growth rate is not reflected in the lives of the mass of the people who are groaning under the burden of a burgeoning cost of living. People are naturally puzzled as to how and why, while, according to the experts, the economy has grown and continues to grow, daily living is growing more and more difficult. Is this a case of computer generated ‘virtual reality’ as opposed to actuality?

The mass of the people have a right to know from those officials who have made these heart-warming, yet non-belly-filling pronouncements, why there is this contradiction. If the wizards are too busy, computing the figures, then will some other economic expert kindly explain this anomaly?

~ By Mark Amerasinghe, Kandy

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.