Sri Lanka is becoming more prosperous over the past three years, according to an indicator introduced by the Central Bank to assess the overall status of prosperity in the country as a whole and in each of its provinces.
The Sri Lanka Prosperity Index (SLPI) introduced by the Central Bank in 2008 reflects the economic and social developments in the country and the provinces on an annual basis.
The SLPI consists of three sub-indices - the Economy and Business Climate sub- index, the Well-Being of the People sub-index and the Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index.
According to the data collected, the SLPI has shown a steady incline during the period from 2009 to 2011 with an improvement in all three sub-indices.
The SLPI rose by 4.1 percent in 2011 up from 3.1 percent in 2010 with the Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index showing the most marked improvement during the three-year period.
The Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index rose by 4.9 percent in 2011 from 3.7 percent in 2010 while the Economy and Business Climate sub-index increased by 4.0 percent in 2011 from 2.1 percent in 2010. The Well-Being of the People sub-index increased by 3.6 percent in 2011 compared with 3.7 percent in 2010.
The Western Province continued to have the top SLPI rank and was the only province above the national average. Notable improvements have been made in per capita GDP, reduction in poor households, vehicle ownership, telephone density and schools having English medium classes and computer facilities. However, number of reported crimes of the province remained highest of all provinces throughout the period of 2009-2011.
A notable trend was the decline in the disparity between the Western Province and the other provinces of the country during the period.
The Prosperity Index improved for all province from 2009 to 2011 and Western province ranked at the top with Southern Province maintained at second place followed by the Central Province at third place during the period.
The Northern Province has recorded the highest growth rate, moving its rank to 6th in 2011 from 9th in 2009.
The Uva Province however, dropped from the 6th in 2009 to 9th in 2011 while the Eastern Province which was at 8th in 2009 improved to place at the 6th in 2010 but dropped back to 8th in 2011.
North Western Province maintained its growth at 4th place over the three-year period while Sabaragamuwa Province maintained at 5th. North Central Province remained at 7th place during the period from 2009 -2011.
The Central Bank says the SLPI provides national policy makers, provincial authorities, business and community stakeholders an index to measure the prosperity of provinces in a more holistic manner.
The SLPI could also be used to identify the strengths and weaknesses in provinces and to formulate policies for attaining higher standards and to reduce regional disparities leading to balanced growth in the country, according to the Central Bank.