Sri Lankans told no ‘free lunch’, urged to change attitudes

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

August 13, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lankans need to change attitudes that are holding the country back despite it being reasonably well endowed with human and natural resources, a top economic analyst has said. Anila Dias Bandaranaike, a former director of statistics at Central Bank who had gained widespread respect for her independent analysis of economic trends said everybody – citizens, private businesses, state organisations and political leaders – are responsible for the country’s present plight.

Sri Lanka was operating well below potential, she told the annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association on Saturday in a presentation on the causes and consequences of regional inequalities.

“We’re naturally endowed with a varied, nutritious diet – yet we have malnutrition,” she said.

“We’re busy killing each other when we could work together in unity in diversity,” she added, referring to the quarter-century long war for a separate Tamil state in the island’s north and east by the Tamil Tigers.

Free Lunch

Dias Bandaranaike decried the widespread attitude among Sri Lankan of a ‘free lunch’ – that the state was able to freely subsidise goods and services and bore resp