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

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