Sri Lanka is steadily becoming more prosperous over the last five 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.
Prosperity, measured by the Sri Lanka Prosperity Index (SLPI), which is a composite indicator that measures and compares the level of prosperity of the country and across its provinces, improved to 0.746 in 2016 from 0.685 in the previous year.
The sub-indices the Economy and Business Climate and Well-being of the People sub-indices have improved for the period of 2015 to 2016, while there is a moderation in Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index.
The improvements in employment rate, informal sector wages, industrial density and banking density have contributed towards the enhancement of the Economy and Business Climate sub-index.
With regard to the sub index of the Well-being of the People, high performance in availability of healthcare facilities, availability & quality of education, wealth of people and availability & usage of entertainment facilities were the key drivers.
The reduction observed in the Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index was led by reduced levels of pipe borne water quality, female participation in civic activities and available transport facilities.
However, the aspects of road coverage, availability of electricity, crime free environment and availability of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) facilities in schools have shown improvements within the Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index.
The SLPI and all its sub-indices demonstrate increasing trends over the last five years. The steep growth observed during 2012-2014 period has moderated thereafter due to low performance recorded in the Socio Economic Infrastructure sub-index.
When prosperity of the provinces is considered, the Western province remained at the leading position recording the highest value of 1.272, for the overall prosperity index, with an increase of 0.029 index points compared to 2015.
In comparison to the other provinces, the high performance of the Western province was driven by maintenance of higher standards in all three sub-indices.
Except for the Sabaragamuwa province, all other provinces recorded higher overall prosperity index values during 2016 compared to the previous year.
The overall prosperity index of the Sabaragamuwa province has declined due to the moderation in the Socio-Economic Infrastructure sub-index, partly driven by the impact of the 2016 floods on water quality and other socio-economic variables.
The Eastern province, although remained at the same level in the provincial ranking in 2016, recorded an increase of 0.072 index points in the overall prosperity index with enhancements in all three sub-indices.
The highest increase of 0.082 index points in the overall prosperity index was recorded from the North Western province.
The provincial rankings of the nine provinces in terms of the overall prosperity, remained unchanged from 2015 to 2016.