Chanuka Wattegama, former Senior Research Manager and Broadband Specialist at LIRNEasia, will be one of three speakers at a pre-budget “sanvada” organized by the Pathfinder Foundation, on 14 October 2010 at the BCIS Auditorium, BMICH premises. Chanuka will make a presentation on “ICTs and Telecom: Opportunities, Challenges and Recommendations”. The sanvada will be chaired by Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne, Professor of Economics at the Universitity of Colombo. For more information on how to register (admission free), click here.
Rohan Samarajiva made a presentation entitled, “Improving transport and transportation policy: lessons from telecom” at the recently concluded Seminar on the Draft National Transport Policy of the Ministry of Transport. Held on 23rd of July, the seminar was organized by the Pathfinder Foundation in collaboration with The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport. Drawing on the similarities between the telecom and transport sector, including opportunities for private sector participation and availability of new technologies for market structure transformation in both sectors, he stated that while telecom sector has flourished under market reforms, the transport sector may, in fact, have worsened. As cited in The Island and Lanka Business Online, Rohan argued that “the draft policy appeared to perpetuate existing inefficiencies, poor service and waste of public funds”, as well as that “the national transport policy does not allow for adequate private participation, and where there was, such as in bus services, regulation was lacking”. Click here to download slides.
Update: Media coverage – ‘Prudent Trade and Policy Strategies with India will benefit Sri Lanka‘, The Island, 15.01.09 — This work was outside LIRNEasia‘s core research program, but is still relevant because it addresses questions on services trade and investment between two countries LIRNEasia works in. The forum was Sanvada, a policy dialogue run by the Pathfinder Foundation. One of the key claims is that a framework agreement with some disciplinary force would be of greater value to Sri Lanka as a small country in its relations with India, and that this is even more true for services trade.
Yesterday, I spoke to a large and restive crowd (made so by lack of air conditioning and a delayed start) in Matara (main city in the South of Sri Lanka) at the launch of the Pathfinder Foundation’s first book, a Sinhala translation of Janos Kornai’s Toward a free economy. I was asked to talk about globalization and the relevance of Kornai’s ideas for facing the challenges posed by globalization. In this talk that I pieced together thanks to time zone differences that caused me to wake up at 3 in the morning while in the US, I illustrated the issues referring to Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), a broad area of service exports for which efficient, flexible and low-cost telecom is a pre-condition. I think the talk provides the "big picture" of the necessity of telecom reforms of the type that we at LIRNEasia are involved in. If we are to go beyond simply giving people phones, to giving them "money in the pocket and hope in the heart" this big picture is essential.