Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 31 January 2010





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Mandate for accelerated growth:

Business community hails President’s victory

The business community has hailed the victory of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the recently concluded presidential elections as an opportunity to forge ahead with its development plan and bring about economic prosperity to the country.

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Management and Finance, University of Colombo, Prof. H. D. Karunaratne said the conclusion of the election will help restore stability and create a conducive environment for economic revival in the country.

He said sustaining political stability and ensuring a consistent foreign policy are essential factors for sound economic growth. Investor confidence depends on consistency and transparent policies.

“Steps taken to expedite resettlement, rural infrastructure and port development across the country will help achieve high economic growth”, Prof. Karunaratne said.

Bridging the language divide, ICT knowledge enhancement, professional training and utilising the unemployed labour force are vital components to increase productivity and efficiency in the manufacturing sector. Creating a vibrant export market and reducing imports are key requirements to spearhead growth”, he said.

Chairman, Export Development Board (EDB), Anil Koswatte said the election victory is a clear mandate for the Mahinda Chintana Idiri Dekma which envisages accelerated economic growth through a vigorous export market.

The EDB has already drawn up an integrated program with the Ministry of Finance to achieve an export turnover of over US$ 20 billion by 2020.

“The 2020 export development plan will be launched immediately with mega promotions and incentives for export oriented sectors”, he said.

The EDB has identified 14 sectors that have the potential to surpass US$ 1 billion export in revenue a year. Rubber based products, gem diamond and jewellery, electronic and electrical products, ICT, BPO and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), fisheries, spices and allied products, mineral products, food and beverage, professional services, footwear and leather products and boat building have been identified under the program.

The tea and apparel sector export turnover has exceeded the US$ 1 billion mark.

President, Sri Lanka Chamber of Small Industries Aloy Jayawardana said the Chamber congratulates President Rajapaksa on his election for the second term and added that it was a mandate to continue his development program for the country.

“Greater access to financing, simplification of the tax structure and incentives for SMEs will help enhance the contribution of the small industrialist to the economy”, he said.

Director, Financial Services Academy Dr. Dissa Bandara said political stability is a must for economic development. In-consistency would lead to loss of confidence of investors and productivity.

“Capital market growth depends on more companies coming on board to trade in a free environment.Liberal economic and trade policies are important for capital market growth”, he said.

“The thirty-year war hampered growth of the private sector which is the engine of growth of a country. Relaxation of taxation, incentives, sound monetary policies and utilisation of professionals for research and development irrespective of political affiliations are a key component for growth”, Dr. Bandara said.

President, Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, Srilal Miththapala said the Association was happy to note that there was no violence during the presidential elections and extended his warm congratulations to President Rajapaksa on his election for a second term.

“We will now look forward to continue and improve the close association we had with the President and build on that continuity”, he said.

State Revenue and Deputy Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the election victory is a clear endorsement of the development program of President Rajapaksa who had eradicated terrorism and now set the stage for economic growth.

“When President Rajapaksa took office in 2005 he had two challenges, namely eliminating terrorism and developing the economy. The first challenge has been overcome and now the economy is poised to take off’, he said.

“Despite waging a war, a six percent GDP growth was recorded consecutively, foreign reserves topped US$ 5 billion and inflation dropped to a single digit last year.

The decline in the unemployment rate to around five percent and revival in tourism were remarkable achievement despite all odds”, he said.

A top official of the Central Bank said it was now time for all communities to unite and develop the country.

An environment free from terror has been created and that would help build on the economic growth that has already been achieved in the past four years.

“Posting a GDP growth of six percent, foreign reserves exceeding US$ 5 billion and a sharp drop in inflation are indications that the country is poised to achieve an unprecedented growth”, he said.


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