Icon Our WorkTackling the COVID-19 economic crisis in Sri Lanka: Providing universal, lifecycle social protection transfers to protect lives and bolster economic recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a truly global economic crisis. The IMF (2020) estimates that the global economy will contract by 3 per cent, much worse than during the 2008/09 financial crisis, and estimates will probably be revised down. Sri Lanka’s economy is likely to be hit particularly hard, while the human cost is significant. The crisis is universal, affecting families across the welfare distribution, including those with breadwinners working in both the formal and informal economies.

This paper from the United Nations in Sri Lanka, summarises findings from a series of Policy Briefs that aim to provide evidence to support the Government of Sri Lanka in its social protection response to the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper examines the impact of the crisis on Sri Lanka, assesses the effectiveness of the Government’s initial response and proposes introducing a package of social protection transfers for children, people with disabilities and older people as an even more effective solution to reduce the severity of the impacts of the crisis. Furthermore, If Sri Lanka uses the proposed schemes as the basis of establishing a modern national social protection system and invests at a similar level annually, this will promote much strong economic growth, thereby enabling Sri Lanka to fully recover economically from the crisis and promote future economic growth.

We believe that the findings from the paper hold important lessons for other low- and middle-income countries as they seek to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and bring about an economic recovery while providing important financial support to their populations.

Watch this film from UNICEF Sri Lanka here

FILM: COVID-19 Caught in the missing middle.


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