Harvard economist: GMOA strike misses the point


A senior government advisor said the state doctors’ strike opposing Sri Lanka’s free trade agreement with Singapore was misguided.

“I think they’re just plain wrong about the economics,” said Professor Ricardo Hausmann at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute in Colombo on Wednesday.

Hausmann is the director for the Centre for International Development at Harvard University and an advisor to the Sri Lanka Board of Investment.

The Government Medical Officers' Association launched an island-wide token strike Thursday morning. They argued that the Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA would allow foreign medical professionals to take Sri Lankan jobs.

But “the people who should be making that argument are the doctors in Singapore,” said Hausmann.

“Because if the doctors in Sri Lanka are good, and they’re cheaper than the ones in Singapore, and you allow trade in these services, well, medical tourism is going to come this way, not the other way,” he said.

In his opinion, the FTA would “be a huge expansion in the demand for their services,” he said.


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