(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –The main focus of the government of Sri Lanka is to face a new economy that will compete with a highly Developed Social Market Economy by year 2050 said President Ranil Wickramasinghe.
He invited the private sector to engage in four elements that will earn foreign exchange such as Logistics, Green hydrogen, Modernized Agriculture and Education with out of the box new concepts. President insisted that the government, private sector, trade unions and all other sectors of the country must take a serious effort to achieve this objective. He said we have to get up from the turmoil with a change in our mindset where politicians should not think of only protecting power and businessmen should not think of only protecting profits.
President Wickremesinghe told this when attended as the chief guest at the inauguration of the third session of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2022, held last evening at Shangri La Colombo. The private sector’s role in driving growth in an economic reset of Sri Lanka is under the spotlight of this summit, organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) which will explore the environment required for the private sector to drive growth, under the theme ‘Resetting to Facilitate Growth’.
President told the distinguished private sector gathering that “ if you want to survive in business you have to compete with the world thus compete with countries like China, Japan, Korea and India etc. I am ready to take that challenge” and asked the private sector “are you ready to achieve it by 2050 or go back to 1950?”.
Further explaining the vision, President said the mission is already begun. Private sector has been offered to operate higher education, over 20 acres of land has already been cleared in Colombo North and more lands have been identified for a mega logistics center, the Colombo port is to be extended up to Ja-Ela and have planned to improve Hambanthota and Trincomalee ports along with Colombo to place as best ports.
President Wickremesinghe also said that we cannot allow the small and medium sector to collapse and said “our main concern is to develop the small and medium enterprises”. He urged that large entrepreneurs should come forward to save them.
“Sri Lankan economy is going through a sovereign debt crisis as well as a balance of payment crisis driven by persistent fiscal and current account deficits. Presently, the government is pursuing an IMF program to stabilize the macro economy while in parallel it is seeking to restructure the external debt and needs an economic recovery plan in ensuring a swift revival in growth and implementation of reforms both in a short to medium term period” said a spokesman of the chamber.
He said the summit will focus on these key levers that will lead to macroeconomic stability as well as ensure growth led by the private sector.
The summit will look at how Sri Lanka can secure quick wins to reduce bottlenecks and facilitate investment and exports, as well as how task forces set up to improve the ease of doing business can further facilitate this. What Sri Lanka can learn from other countries that have taken progressive steps to improve facilitation of the private sector to create a Business Enabling Environment will also be discussed at the summit. The session will bring together the viewpoint of the export community, multinationals and key investment projects alongside the public sector officials driving the reform process.
Sessions will be presented by the Country Manager for the International Finance Corporation in Sri Lanka and Maldives, Mr. Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, with Mr. Vinod Hirdaramani – Director, Hirdaramani Group, Ms. Maud Meijboom-van Wel – Managing Director/CEO, Heineken Lanka Ltd., Ms. ChandanieWijayawardhana – Senior Additional Secretary to the President, Presidential Secretariat, Ms Renuka M. Weerakoon – Director General, Board of Investments, and MrThulciAluwihare – Deputy Managing Director, CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd. participating as panelists. MrDumindaHulangamuwa – Vice Chairman, The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce will moderate the sessions.
(BY CLAUDE GUNASEKERA)