The summary results of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2006/07 conducted by the Sri Lanka Department of Census and Statistics make interesting reading.
According to the latest HIES, an average household spends LKR 539 per month on communication (2.35 per cent of the total). We know that there are no subsidies here. In contrast, the monthly spend on education, which is free from kindergarten to undergraduate degree and beyond costs an average household LKR 632 per month (2.75 per cent of the total). How come?
For us at LIRNEasia, obviously the 2.35% is the more interesting number, especially because we have seen that people seem to be spending quite a bit more than that on communication. But I am sure most thinking Sri Lankans will have to wonder why people are spending so much on a so-called free service? Is it that the free service stinks?
One more item to ponder: personal care and health takes up 4.27% of monthly expenditure (LKR 980). Even if we leave out half of that for beauty care, seems like healthcare is taking over 2 per cent of expenditure. This too is a free service provided by the government.