ECONOMYNEXT - Prosperity, measured by Sri Lanka's Prosperity Index (SLPI) improved in 2017 from the previous year despite eight out of nine provinces seeing declining levels of wellbeing due factor like falling air quality, a central bank statement said.
The SLPI is a composite indicator that measures and compares the level of prosperity of the country and across its provinces, improved to 0.771 in 2017, up from 0.661 the previous, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka which compiles the index said in a statement.
The index has three sub-indices: Economy and Business Climate, Wellbeing of the People, and Socio-Economic Infrastructure.
The improvement in prosperity was due to gains in the sub-indices of ‘Economy and Business Climate’ and ‘Socio-Economic Infrastructure’,the Central Bank said.
"The Economy and Business Climate sub-index improved in 2017 due to the increase in per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment gains," the Central Bank said in a statement.
"With regard to the sub-index of Socio-Economic Infrastructure, improvements to the road network with the extensions to the expressways, construction of bridges and flyover projects, availability of electricity facilities and improvements in pipe-borne water quality were the key drivers," it said.
The sub-index 'Well-being of the People’ declined in 2017 mainly due to the reduced levels of purity of the environment and air quality.
"Improvements were recorded in the aspects of availability of healthcare facilities, availability and quality of education, wealth of people and their engagement in entertainment activities," the Central Bank said.
The Western Province retained its number one ranking in terms of prosperity.
The Southern province retained its second position and was the only one out of Sri Lanka's nine-provinces making a gain in the 'Well-being of the People' sub-index, the Central Bank said.
The North Western Province moved up to third positions from fourth the previous year. The Central Province moved down a notch to fourth position.
The Sabaragamuwa province ranked last in the previous year moved up two places to seventh in 2017 on strong gains in the Economy and Business Climate sub-index which increased to 0.527, up from 0.304 the previous day.
The Northern Province was unchanged at sixth position in the ranking with all sub-indices falling sharply, according to the Central while the Eastern Province fell one notch from the previous year to the bottom of the ranking at ninth position in 2017
Economic and Business Climate sub-index had improved in the Central, Sabaragamuwa, Southern, Uva and Western provinces "mainly due to improvements in per capita GDP, high employment rate and increases in informal sector wages," the Central Bank said.
"High provincial inflation rates, slight increases in unemployment levels, and decline in industry and banking density have been observed as key drivers for the subdued performance in Eastern, North Central, North Western and Northern provinces," it said.
The Southern province's improving well-being was predominantly due to increasing access to quality education, supermarkets and vehicle ownership, the Central Bank said.
The decline of this sub-index in the rest of the provinces was mostly due to the adverse impact caused by the dengue epidemic, and the low standards recorded in air quality.
However, access to healthcare facilities and quality education was seen across the country. People's level of wealth were seen improving in 2017 with entertainment activities observed picking-up, the Central Bank said.
Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index had increased in the Western and North Western provinces, mostly due to road development with the construction of the Central Expressway project, the progress of Rajagiriya, Ganemulla and Polgahawela flyovers, and the availability of electricity and telecommunication facilities, it said.
"Further, positive developments could be observed in the aspect of law and order as measured in terms of the number of crimes reported during 2017."
The deterioration of the Socio-Economic infrastructure sub-index in the other seven provinces were mostly driven by the declines in the availability of Information and Communication Technology, telecommunication and transport facilities, the Central Bank said. (COLOMBO, 19 November 2018)