Waiting Game

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

The Banks country director, Peter Harrold, said the relatively peaceful run-up to the April 2 vote had been a blessing, but an outbreak of post-election violence would be a blow to growth prospects.rn

rn Sri Lanka had been set to record seven to eight percent growth rate this year, but the uncertainty associated with the elections could see a slower expansion of four to five percent, Harrold said.rn

rn “The acceleration that we were seeing in the previous quarters has undoubtedly stopped,” Harrold told AFP in an interview. “It is quite visible… but it has not gone into recession.rn

rn “There is still scope for bad things to happen. Election violence is something that can have an impact. We understand there can be post-election violence and if that were to occur it would not be good at all.”rn

rn The election was triggered by a bitter power struggle between President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that has cast a shadow over the islands fragile peace pro