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Tag Archives: Sri Lanka

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Yes to VAT, no to industry-specific taxes that treat telecom like tobacco

I was asked to comment on the Sri Lanka government’s decision to extend value-added taxes to the telecom industry. Below is my response. I have always taken the position that telecom services should be treated no differently from other goods and services. Therefore, I do not object to making telecom services subject to VAT. The […]

LIRNEasia as only source of demand-side data in Sri Lanka media assessment report

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Yesterday, a report entitled Rebuilding Public Trust was launched at a meeting attended by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, the Media Minister and his Deputy. I contributed to the report, primarily on policy and regulatory recommendations, not all of which were accepted, as is normal. My responses will be published shortly. But […]

LIRNEasia partners with UNDP on SDGs

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On 18th April 2016 LIRNEasia inked its Memorandum of Understanding with UNDP on areas of cooperation for the first national summit on foresight and innovation for Sustainable Human Development titled “Visioning Sri Lanka #2030NOW”. The summit will be held in Colombo from 24-25th May 2016. In addition to LIRNEasia and UNDP, other core partners for this two day […]

What Big Data tells: Where is everybody at Avurudu?

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For many, daily travel is a product of routines that have been established over time. From commuting, getting the kids to school and back home to the occasional shopping trip much of our movements follow a predictable pattern. Attempts to map human movement in different regions across the world using emerging sources of big data […]

Inclusion through platforms

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The only platforms LIRNEasia is currently studying are those used for micro work in the IT and ITES sector. There our focus is on inclusion. But, this article shows we should consider looking at more platforms. Deepthi, the single mother of a teenager, says she has tried other types of self-employment. She worked as a […]

Lessons from LIRNEasia’s Telecom Policy & Regulatory Environment work for other fields

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I spent the past two days immersed in a new subject: elections management. We have been engaged in one of the hardest public policy puzzles, that of improving Sri Lanka’s electoral system, since early 2015. As a result of that engagement, I was invited to participate in a vulnerability assessment of Sri Lanka’s election management […]

Who is telling the truth about the electricity crisis?

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That was the title of the two-hour TV talk show at ITN that I participated in yesterday. One does not expect new knowledge to emerge from a talk show, but this one was an exception. Illuminating information was disclosed by the Additional General Manager of the Ceylon Electricity Board in response to some statements I made. […]

Why does the government have to do everything?

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I am sitting here at a World Bank consultation on setting priorities for Bank lending in 2017-22. I was shocked by some of the comments, an example being: why isn’t there government-provided training for BPM? It seems that people are still stuck in government-centric thinking. What is the track record of government in providing training […]

How to avoid the recurrence of an electricity crisis

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The nationwide unplanned outage last Sunday has obviously got everyone upset. While some are trying to make political capital out of it, the responsible thing to do is to understand the causes and act to avoid a recurrence. This appeared to be the objective of the reporter who interviewed me last week for this article. […]

Thoughts on how data on the tourist industry can be improved

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We are aware that the UN has identified tourism data as priority area in terms of exploring the potential of big data to contribute to the work of national statistical organizations (NSOs). However, this was not something we took on, given our programmatic priorities which are urban development, improved socio-economic monitoring and epidemiology. When we […]

Economic impacts of planned and unplanned outages

In our teaching-focused comparative work on electricity, we found there was a fundamental difference in the way the problem of costs was approached in Sri Lanka and on the sub-continent. In Sri Lanka, the focus was on the costs of NOT having power. In India, the focus was still on the costs of inputs, per […]

How to identify the actual contributors to sector performance

We generally know how to measure performance in the telecom sector: increased connectivity in voice and data; lower prices; improved quality of service experience; and greater choice. Similar in electricity. In each of these cases we can also identify the factors that led to improvements in performance. Recently I was thinking about the healthcare sector. […]

Discussing consumer rights in the midst of an uproar over a nationwide blackout

I had been invited to moderate a panel discussion on consumer rights in electricity, in the context of a recently issued charter of consumer rights and obligations. This was set to be a ho-hum affair, until the country experienced its third nationwide blackout within the last six months. This resulted in the shutdown of the […]

Progress on SEA-ME-WE 5

Appears to have been landed at both ends, la Seyne-sur-Mer, in France and Tuas in Singapore. The contracts were let to different parties, Alcatel Lucent and NEC, for the France-Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka-Singapore segments respectively. It is not evident from the web that the landings have been made in Sri Lanka yet. SingTel has […]

Why telecom policy must be based on realistic notions of national sovereignty

The past weekend, I was quoted, not altogether coherently, in a piece on Google’s Loon pilot in Sri Lanka. LIRNEasia Founding Chair and Founder Director of ICTA, Rohan Samarajiva made a few comments about the Google Loon project. He said, “I am no fan of outmoded notions of national sovereignty. A fragmented Internet where local […]

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