Macroeconomic Policies, Crises, and Growth in Sri Lanka, by Prema-chandra Athukorala, S. K. Jayasuriya

By Prema-chandra Athukorala, S. K. Jayasuriya

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Additional info for Macroeconomic Policies, Crises, and Growth in Sri Lanka, 1969-90 (World Bank Comparative Macroeconomic Studies)

Sample text

This enabled British rule to be extended over the entire country and ushered in a period of rapid change that soon resulted in the emergence of a classic dualistic export economy (Snodgrass 1966). Coffee, and then tea and rubber cultivation spread rapidly during the 19th century, and modem plantations were established throughout the wet zone. Popular resistance to the plantation economy, which encroached on subsistence agriculture, erupted into armed rebellion in 1847 and was brutally crushed. The way was then open for the unfettered expansion of the plantations.

In 1950 and 1951 most of these restrictions were removed, aided by an improved balance of payments position due to the price boom. The remaining (and minimal) exchange and import controls were limited to transactions with countries in the nonsterling area, particularly the United States. At the time of independence in 1948, Sri Lanka had a fixed exchange rate and its currency was fully convertible with the British pound (through its link with the Indian rupee). The Currency Board System of the British colonial government did not permit any independent monetary policy, and deficit financing was impossible.

It granted a bonus of 20 percent in the form of transferable import entitlement certificates to producers of certain nontraditional export items, provided there were net foreign exchange earnings of 25 percent of (FOB) value. The vouchers fetched a handsome premium on the market (Dahanayaka 1977). The 1967 Devaluation Except for a partial devaluation against the dollar in 1949 (mainly to provide relief to the British pound) and some change in the rupee/dollar rate in the early 1950s, the exchange rate had remained stable for over fifteen years despite sustained pressure on the balance of payments.

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