NO PAIN, NO GAIN? Sri Lanka has certainly been among the nations that have so far succeeded in mitigating the spread of the deadly coronavirus – albeit that there are no guarantees until a vaccine is readily available to quell COVID-19. But this has come at the cost of unprecedented economic hardships from which the nation now needs to rise. Among the foremost indicators of the strife it faces is the fact that the crucial export sector contracted by a whopping 26 percent in the first half of the year although this has been by and large offset by less imports (due to temporary restrictions imposed by the government) with the trade deficit narrowing to its lowest level in more than a decade.  In addition, there was a bonanza of sorts in July when exports rebounded by 20 percent (to US$ 1 billion) compared to the same month last year. Meanwhile, the corporate sector is set to suffer massive top line contractions in financial year 2020/21, according to Fitch Ratings; and it is projecting the shortfall to be as high as Rs. 30 billion. Amid the twin crises, Sri Lanka was the first nation in the region to hold an election and the people responded by voting in large numbers despite the obvious risks that came with doing so. They and businesses alike will now expect the strength of government to deliver the economic tonic that is the need of the hour – the people need a thumbs-up rather than a painted little finger.