Analysis

Analysis

Classic text reporting, backed up with data, exploring the how and why. Best consumed when you have thirty minutes to spare and a cup of tea on hand.

From currency board to Chinese loans - How accurate are the claims about Sri Lanka’s economic crisis?

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Sri Lanka is currently going through the worst economic crisis since its independence and defaulted foreign debt repayment in April 2022. This crisis is the result of a series of policy mishaps that have steadily weakened the economy over the last few decades. Decisions made contrary to the advice of experts in 2020 and 2022 exposed the extent of the damage. Consequently, the country was compelled to default its debt and seek IMF support. While there roots of the crisis constitute long lasting policy and governance issues, certain global ‘experts’ and politicians have offered their own takes on Sri Lanka’s economic crisis. We’ve had a comprehensive look at some of these claims and laid the facts out here.

@October 18, 2022

Gota Go, Gota Gone — Sri Lanka’s Bastille Moment

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As Sri Lanka trundled into its worst economic crisis since Independence - partly due to corruption, terrible policies, vampiric politicians, and mismanagement - the public rose with one main demand: for its reigning (former) President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa to leave immediately. In this piece, we follow the birth of the protests, the runaway ex-President, and what it all led to.

@September 26, 2022

Oddamavadi: no rest for the dead

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Two years ago, the government passed a compulsory cremation policy for those who died of COVID-19, with no clear reason for it other than hyper nationalism and xenophobia. After months of campaigning and pressure both locally and internationally, the gazette on the subject was revoked. Instead, families had to bury their dead in a far-flung village in the East, and supply funds and labour - despite the government sitting on billions raised by the Itukama fund.

@August 29, 2022

Going “Organic” - The Farmer’s Tale

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We spent a week on the road in April (before the fuel crisis hit particularly hard) speaking to farmers across the five main agricultural districts in the country. These are the people’s stories spanning an island, which have been ignored for way too long.

@July 18, 2022

Hambantota: fertiliser, fuel, and man-made disaster

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In this series assessing the impact of the fertiliser ban on farmers, Watchdog travelled across five major agrarian districts. Here, in the first of five pieces, is our update from Hambantota — of drastic drops in yields and the farming community’s fears for the future.

@June 24, 2022

7-Billion Rupee Software: The Monstrous Idiocy of the State Pharmaceutical Corporation

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What does the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation want, exactly? We read the documentation so you don’t have to. Welcome to one of the stupidest software requests we’ve seen.

@June 17, 2022

Fertiliser - Broken Promises & Policy Blunders

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Sri Lanka is facing its harshest food crisis in recent history. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s blanket ban on fertiliser can be attributed as the direct cause for this crisis. In this piece we’ll explore the history of the fertiliser subsidy, the timeline against which Sri Lanka’s fertiliser ban was set, the cost so far, and a glimpse into its impact.

@June 10, 2022

Anonymous #OpSriLanka - Hackers & Gatecrashers

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If you invite strangers to a party, you have to deal with the consequences. In this piece we try to establish a timeline of events for Sri Lanka’s most recent outing with Anonymous. We assess the impact, and give you some insights into the movement’s modus operandi.

@June 8, 2022

Sri Lanka’s future with the IMF

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Following our series on Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, we take a look at what the IMF can do for us, and how we need to step up — by reforming taxes, legislature, and policies.

@May 19, 2022

The Attack on GotaGoGama: The Aftermath

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It’s been an incredibly long week — from vigilantes setting fire to things, the Central Bank Governor threatening to resign, the Prime Minister actually resigning, to swearing in a new (but old) Prime Minister after days of chaos. Here’s the breakdown.

@May 13, 2022

The SLPP Attack on GotaGoGama: a Timeline

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A record of what happened on the 9th of May, 2022, told with images, video and the occasional map.

@May 11, 2022

Crosses and Curses — the legacy of the Easter Sunday Attacks

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@May 1, 2022

Sri Lanka’s road to IMF, explained

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@April 16, 2022

#AskWatchdog: where do we go from here?

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Explainer: What is this state of Emergency?

@April 2, 2022

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Incident report: The Mirihana Protest, summarised

@April 1, 2022

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What exactly is the Special GST and Surcharge Tax Bill?

@March 31, 2022

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Fertilizer: a Sri Lankan Tragedy

@March 26, 2022

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The Myth of the Agricultural Nation

@March 24, 2022

The Sri Lankan Foreign Debt Problem

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Oddamavadi: no rest for the dead
Gota Go, Gota Gone — Sri Lanka’s Bastille Moment
From currency board to Chinese loans - How accurate are the claims about Sri Lanka’s economic crisis?