Sri Lanka needs policy reforms to align with evolving digital economy: LIRNEasia Senior Research Manager Gayani Hurulle

Posted on April 3, 2024  /  0 Comments

Gayani Hurulle, Senior Research Manager at LIRNEasia, recently discussed the challenges facing Sri Lanka’s digital economy in an interview with Yarl TV. Gayani highlighted various policy challenges and opportunities pertaining to the digital economy, drawing on LIRNEasia’s research. She also highlighted the need for policy reforms to align with the rapidly evolving digital landscape.

One of the pressing issues she addressed was digital taxation. She underlined that the current tax laws are not designed to/being used to collect taxes from large technology multinationals that don’t have a local physical presence, creating an uneven playing field. “Current tax laws in Sri Lanka target entities with a physical presence, leaving a significant gap in revenue collection from digital enterprises. Therefore, some companies do not pay both direct and indirect taxes as a result. This creates an uneven playing field for local businesses,” she pointed out.

Gayani also drew on LIRNEasia’s work on gender and digitally enabled work, to comment on the transformative potential and challenges associated with remote and platform work. Gayani noted that the significant gender disparity in labour force participation, standing at approximate 70% amongst men, vs ~35% amongst women. “Remote and platform work have become attractive options for some, particularly women, to engage in the labour force while tending to various household and care responsibilities. However, this often creates a double burden on women, as they must undertake a disproportionate share of care work, alongside their jobs”.

She also urged that a comprehensive reform of the policy framework is needed to create an environment conducive to the digital economy’s growth. However, she underlined that simply making new policies isn’t enough; they must be effectively enforced.

Watch the full interview:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *