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Sunday October 1st, 2023

Sri Lanka service sector sees out migration

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is seeing a fall in service sector employment, with migration adding to a general economic downturn and demand contraction following the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank.

“Employment continued to fall in November due to increasing resignations, migrations and retirements though few recruitments took place in several companies,” according to a Purchasing Manager’s Index compiled by Sri Lanka’s central bank for November.

November index was at 37.4 points which indicates a fall, though it was a smaller fall than indicated by October’s index of 33.9 points.

November was slightly better due to a pick-up in tourism, the central bank said.

“Further, in line with the increase in tourist arrivals, business activities in accommodation, food and beverages sub-sector also increased,” the statement said.

“However, business activities related to wholesale and retail trade sub-sector declined further during the month amid the continued cost of living challenges.”

Sri Lanka is seeing an increase in migration because of the lack of economic and political stability, and low salaries, other says.

“Migration in Sri Lanka is driven by low per capita income, unemployment and/or underemployment, high inflation, indebtedness, lack of access to resources, instability and lack of trust in the system,” an economist said.

Sri Lanka’s outward migrants had topped 300,000 by the third week of December Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said on December 18 which is on track to being the highest on record.

Previous high of 300,000 came in 2014.

Sri Lanka is in the process of digitizing migration, in order to send skilled workers out of the country in a professional way, Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara said.

Sri Lanka’s construction sector is one of the hardest hit sectors in the current downturn.

Younger professionals in Sri Lanka’s construction sector are fleeing the country, an official said as the industry is in a deep downturn following the latest currency crisis triggered by the country’s intermediate regime central bank.

Real salaries have halved after macro-economists printed money for two years and busted the rupee from 200 to 360 to the US dollars and the inevitable stabilization policies that follow have pushed up interest rates slowing construction.

Other business leaders have also said they are seeing a migration.

“We are seeing a trend towards migrating. We have seen people go to Scotland, Ireland,” Krishan Balendra, Chairman of Sri Lanka’s John Keells Holdings told an economic policy forum on December 07.

“It has usually been the Middle East and Maldives. Australia seems like a red hot labor market at the moment.

“Something new we are seeing is that older people, even those in their 50s, which was a surprise, are looking at migrating.”

Businesses are trying to retain talent as real wages collapse by showing that there is path to progress. (Colombo/Dec30/2022)


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Sri Lanka National Christian Council opposes Online Safety Bill

ECONOMYNEXT – The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in a statement on the Online Safety Bill, said that the existing legal regime is adequate to deal with instances of harmful speech, making it unjustifiable to enact such “stringent laws”.

The Council called upon the government to withdraw the bill immediately.

The body expressed “deep concern” over the proposed bill, detailing its potential to curtail freedom of speech and how, according to the Council, the piece of legislature is inconsistent with the principles of democracy.

“The bill proposes the establishment of an entity named the Online Safety Commission without provisions to guarantee its independence and impartiality,” the statement said.

Chapter 3 imposes restrictions on online communication of certain statements, many of which are vague and overbroad, leaving room for executive control and the curtailing of legitimate criticism and dissent that are basic features of democracy, the statement said.

“The laws granting wide discretion to the executive and its investigative agencies with expansive reach have been misused in the past.”

The Council said that the bill was not drafted with the process of public consultation and discussion, which might have ensured the bill would be less draconian in nature.

“The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls upon the government to withdraw this anti-human rights and anti-democratic bill immediately.” (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lanka to implement new vehicle revenue licence issuing system

ECONOMYNEXT – A new system of issuing vehicle licences called eRL 2.0 is to be implemented in 5 provinces, excluding the Western Province, from 3 October onwards.

The new system is to be implemented beginning in the North West, South, North Central, Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces, respectively. The existing vehicle licence issuing system eRL 1.0 will continue to be used in the Western Province.

The issuing of revenue licences islandwide at Department of Motor Traffic head offices and regional branches will be temporarily halted on October 2.

The facility of obtaining vehicle permits online will also be temporarily halted on 6 October till midnight.

The Sri Lanka Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and the Provincial Motor Traffic Departments are working to modernize the current vehicle revenue license issuance system.

The implementation of the new eRL 2.0 system is expected to be an important step in the digitalisation of Sri Lanka. (Colombo/Sep30/2023)

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Sri Lankan Airlines flights cancelled as aircraft grounded

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines has apologized to passengers who were stranded as multiple aircraft were grounded at the same time.

The airline said it has strict procedures which requires aircraft to be grounded when technical issues are discovered.

“Unfortunately, in this case we suffered a number of groundings at the same time,” the airline said.

“We apologize for the disruption and inconvenience caused and assure all our loyal customers that we are working diligently to minimize such occurrences moving forward.”

The airline said it was booking passengers on other airlines while some have been accommodated at hotels. (Colombo/Sept30/2023)

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