Sri Lanka’s lagging growth blamed on leftists, beggar mentality, big government: poll

July 15, 2007 (LBO) – Thirty years after Sri Lanka started to open its economy, a poll by an influential weekly has shown overwhelming approval for liberalization, with some saying reforms were not deep enough in areas like education. Respondents to the Sunday Times poll said while private sector workers had to work long hours and pay taxes, state workers got off earlier, received tax free salaries, tax free cars and subsidized loans from state banks which they re-deposited at higher rates. Meanwhile, a surprising number of respondents to a poll by The Sunday Times newspaper’s Financial Times supplement have said an accompanying civil war was not the cause for the island lagging behind more progressive nations.

Of the respondents, 94.7 percent agreed that the economic liberalization process started in 1977 under President Junius Jayawardene had brought benefits to the country. Only 1.75 percent disagreed.

Ninety-one percent of the respondents said Sri Lanka would have done even better if not for an internal conflict with ethnic Tamil Tiger guerillas that has a history just as long or longer. Only 5.2 percent disagreed.

Not War

But fully 21 percent of the respondents said Sri Lanka would never have achieved t