Rupee needs to be stabilized now – PM

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe while stressing the need to stabilise the Rupee, said the country’s foreign reserves has seen a drastic drop during the last two months.The Prime Minister said the government will take serious efforts to stabilise the Rupee.

The Prime Minister said Foreign Exchange Reserves stood at nearly US$ 8 billion in the period August to September 2018. But, that had diminished because all that money had been withdrawn during the last 51 days.The government which got startled spent more money to protect the Rupee but such measures only weakened the Rupee, he said.The Rupee could not be allowed to depreciate further because it would adversely affect the Cost of Living.He said the Cabinet had now fully discussed measures to strengthen the Rupee. Assistance could be obtained from friendly countries through discussions.

As this alone would not suffice. New programmes aimed at earning foreign exchange should be launched such as tourism and export industry.He said this matter was discussed with private sector entrepreneurs in June last year.

But all that changed during the last 53 days. They had to take this in to cognisance and restart that journey more vigorously.The Prime Minister said Cabinet ministers discussed on how the Rupee can be stabilised with the Finance Minister. He also stressed the need to introduce novel programmes under the tourism and export sectors to rake in more foreign currency to the country.

The Prime Minister said the most burning problem today was the increase in the cost of living due to the depreciation of the Rupee. The foremost thing therefore was to make the Rupee stable.Economic management was no easy task which could be handled by anyone without expertise, the Prime Minister said.

He said Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka and the Water’s Edge company have joined hands to introduce a new concept by launching the 50K Orchid project. I take this opportunity to thank all who have joined in this endeavor, the Prime Minister said when he opened the ‘50K Orchid’ restaurant at Water’s Edge Battaramulla on January 1.

He said the task of developing Colombo city into a megalopolis has been entrusted to Minister Ranawaka.Their objective in doing so was to transform Colombo into the biggest township in the Indian Ocean.

Although all work relating to the megalopolis development could not be launched within the last two or three years, work on the highway, railway project, the Kelaniya new bridge, Port City and several other programmes had commenced by now.

It would take some time for these projects to provide their benefits.Although similar development work was launched in Beijing city, it looked as an old city for a long period of five to six years until its full results were evidenced.Today Water’s Edge had been transformed into a profitable concern and he thanked the management and staff for making it possible.He said the new project launched by them had two main objectives. One was to introduce a bright future for Orchid cultivation and the other was to promote tourism and wedding ceremonies.

PM Wickremesinghe said the Government had already taken several action to develop the tourism industry. Another programme readied for launching last November crashed due to the political crisis. They have now planned to begin it from scratch, he said. The Prime Minister said discussions had been held with the private sector too on measures to attract more tourists. The agreements reached during these discussions would be implemented to the letter, he said.

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