IMF cautions Sri Lanka ahead of upcoming elections

The The International Monetary (IMF) has cautioned Sri Lanka saying the country must ensure policy reforms continue ahead of upcoming elections in the country.Anne-Marie Gulde, Deputy Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund said that Sri Lanka must pursue a prudent policy mix in the runup to the elections. She was responding to a question raised on Sri Lanka during a press conference in Washington. She also noted that it is critical that market confidence is being maintained, and the economy’s resilience to shocks, which has been strengthened over the past couple of months continues to be strengthened.“As you know, there is high public debt, so market confidence is a critical element. Structural reforms are ongoing. They need to focus on trade opening, SOE reforms, and increasing competitiveness,” she said. “Yeah, let me come to your question on Sri Lanka and the context of the forthcoming elections. In that context, we really need to emphasize three messages. I mean we need to make sure that the authorities should continue to pursue prudent policy mix in the runup with sustained revenue-based fiscal consolidation and adequate vigilant monetary policy and continuing efforts to build reserves,” she said. Anne-Marie Gulde also said that unemployment in Sri Lanka is low, but in the forward-looking policies of competitiveness and looking at an ageing population, labor reforms in Sri Lanka are essential.One of them, she says, is to increasing the participation rate of women also, which is very low in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) read more

British Armed Forces have retention not recruitment crisis new figures show

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “We can’t keep resettling the family and we’re not prepared to do that anymore. The military is too inflexible.”I’ll always be a working mother, but when I went back after maternity leave whilst I thought ‘thank god’, it was written on their faces – why are you 10 minutes late? I couldn’t explain that I’d just spent 10 minutes on the way to nursery staring at a fascinating puddle.” Crew members from HMS Westminster exercise their "Freedom of the City" by marching past Nelson's Column and Westminster on August 07, 2019 in London. RAF personnel were pivotal in saving the Toddbrook Reservoir dam near the village of Whaley Bridge. Here a Chinook Mk6a helicopter is directed from the ground as it approaches the dam. Aug 6, 2019. Credit:Cpl Rob Travis/MoD/PA RAF personnel were pivotal in saving the Toddbrook Reservoir dam near the village of Whaley Bridge. Here a Chinook Mk6a helicopter is directed from the ground as it approaches the dam. Aug 6, 2019. The top factor influencing people to leave was ‘impact of service life on family and personal life’, which was cited by 62 per cent of service leavers’ as a reason for going. The second most stated reason, at 56 per cent, were job opportunities outside the service, a constant drain on military personnel when the country experiences high employment. The impact of service life on a spouse or partner’s career was cited by half of service leavers as the reason they ‘turned to the right’; the military expression for leaving.  Collectively the figures suggest the military, which is always criticised for being 20 years behind wider society, is experiencing changes the civilian workforce went through a generation ago and the MoD can no longer expect partner’s of service personnel to not have their own careers and to move every two to three years.Sasha Lilley, who served in the RAF for 12 years alongside her husband and has two children, both of which had been to four nurseries before the age of five, said: “I’m a very different woman from the one who joined the military. As I’ve got older I’ve changed and the military can’t accommodate me anymore. The British armed forces now have a retention crisis rather than a recruitment crisis, new figures suggest, as modern soldiers are no longer willing to move around the world.Government data released on Thursday revealed that the strength of the British military fell for the ninth year in a row.The figures also showed that recruitment is increasing but the Army, with 74,400 regular fully-trained troops, is over 7,000 short of the target figure of 82,000, a deficit of over nine per cent.The Royal Navy and Royal Marines with 29,090 “full-time trained strength” are under the requirement of 30,600, and the RAF, with 29,930 personnel, is six per cent under the MoD’s target of 31,840.A survey of those leaving the armed forces reveals that the recruitment crisis is largely down to personnel being unwilling to uproot their families to move posting. Most service leavers – 61 per cent – went for voluntary reasons, with just over a quarter reaching the end of their engagements and around 14 per cent leaving for medical or compassionate reasons, being discharged for poor conduct or dying whilst in service. Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith said: “Ministers are either in complete denial about this crisis in recruitment and retention, or they are actively in favour of cutting the Armed Forces to these historically low levels.  Crew members from HMS Westminster exercise their “Freedom of the City” by marching past Nelson’s Column and Westminster on August 07, 2019 in London.Credit:Leon Neal/Getty Images Europe Possible reasons for dissatisfaction with military service and the decline in numbers were shown in the recent Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey. “The new Defence Secretary should come clean about which it is.” However, the data show that Britain’s armed forces may actually be suffering a retention, rather than recruitment crisis.Encouragingly for the MoD, the figures show that recruitment is increasing, possibly indicating that controversial campaigns such as the Army’s ‘Snowflake’ series resonated with target audiences.The recruitment campaign – officially called  ‘Your Army Needs You’ – caused controversy when launched in January this year as it featured Kitchener-style illustrations of soldiers with labels such as ‘snowflakes’, ‘phone zombies’, ‘binge gamers’ and ‘selfie addicts’.  Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch, Commander Home Command, said at the time: “You may feel like the army is dumbing down on who it seeks to recruit as these ads are a change to the norm, [but] the army is open for business”.But more worryingly for the military the new personnel statistics suggest the trend for servicemen and women is against regular employment, with Britain’s reserve forces enjoying an increase in numbers as the regular totals decline.It is not possible to prove that the increase in part-time military service has been exclusively filled by ex-regular service personnel, but all three services have shown an increase in reserves and decrease in regulars in recent years.  read more