Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Saman Kelegama: Even the blood running through his veins is oriented to economics

logoThe bearded economist who saw shortcomings of Sri Lanka’s liberalisation move

27 June 2017

Untitled-2My association with
Dr. Saman Kelegama, Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies or IPS, dates back to the early 1990s when I had the opportunity to listen to him at an international conference on trade liberalisation. At that time, it was a cardinal sin to pinpoint shortcomings of the trade liberalisation experiment which Sri Lanka had initiated a decade earlier, but the bearded young economist who took the podium as a researcher from IPS surprised us all. He said that the trade liberalisation move initiated by Sri Lanka in 1978 was a necessity, but the timing and the steps taken were all catastrophic. What he meant was that Sri Lanka, instead of going for a wholesale trade liberalisation, could have done it in steps so that its adverse effects could have been minimised. Since then, I became a fan of Dr. Saman Kelegama, who is known as Saman to his friends. I had a very close rapport with him, personally as well as professionally.

An academic career at IIT and Oxford