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Editorial

Policy challenges in mitigating the economic fallout from COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka

Author:

S. S. Colombage

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
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Abstract

The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has severe consequences on the Sri Lankan economy, which had already encountered multiple economic setbacks including low economic growth, fiscal imbalance, balance of payments deficits and foreign debt burden even prior to the pandemic. Poor households who are mostly working in the informal sector with irregular income sources have become extremely vulnerable in the present crisis situation. Hence, the government has taken steps to provide pandemic-related relief measures to the affected households as well as to distressed enterprises. The expenditure incurred for such concessions is an additional burden on the government budget which is already under stress. Meanwhile, the government has imposed lockdowns, curfews, business restrictions, travel bans and various other precautionary measures from time to time, to tackle the health crisis relating to the pandemic, as per globally-accepted health guidelines. While such regulations have become inevitable to contain the spread of the virus and save lives, they encompass varying economic costs including production setbacks, job losses, livelihood disruptions, household income decline and low consumer demand. Hence, striking the right balance between health safety and economic sustainability is a formidable challenge faced by the government amidst the pandemic. The government, together with the Central Bank, has implemented a series of unprecedented relief measures and large-scale policy stimuli to help households and businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.

How to Cite: Colombage, S.S., 2020. Policy challenges in mitigating the economic fallout from COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 43(2), pp.57–59. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v43i2.8268
Published on 31 Dec 2020.

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