Sri Lanka’s decision making could put it out of service

Policy analysis must begin from a realistic assessment of where we are and what we are. We are a small island nation in South Asia, home to the world’s largest concentration of poor people. We are about the size of greater Mumbai, one city in India, in population and we may be smaller than Mumbai as a market. Policy analysis must begin from a realistic assessment of where we are and what we are. We are a small island nation in South Asia, home to the world’s largest concentration of poor people. We are about the size of greater Mumbai, one city in India, in population and we may be smaller than Mumbai as a market. We do not have significant natural resources to use or to export; our agricultural products are not lowest cost, though the people who produce them are rewarded poorly. We do not have a significant industrial base; our biggest industry is apparel, currently suffering from quota-withdrawal symptoms.

By a process of elimination then, our future appears to lie in services, a sector of the economy that is even now the largest and which has been leading what little growth there is (7.7 percent in 2003, as against 5.9 percent growth for the economy as a whole).

The country has been living off the export of low-value-addition services such as housemaid services to the Middle East and East Asi