Lanka to be $100b economy by 2020 - Dr. P.B. Jayasundera
Sri Lanka will be a US$ 100 billion economy earning five billion US
dollars in tea exports by 2020 despite the sluggish global business
environment, said Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera. He was
addressing the 118th AGM of the Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA)
Dr. Jayasundera said Sri Lanka has crossed many critical milestones
such as defeating terrorism and achieving economic prosperity within a
The Per Capita Income (PCI) of the country has crossed US$ 2,000
today from US$ 1,000 in 2005. The PCI will cross US$ 3,000 by the end of
"We must have an open mind and be optimistic instead of being
pessimistic. Five billion dollars is an ambitious target.
Sound marketing strategies and enhancing the quality of production
will help boost exports and bring us ahead of competitors", he said.
CTTA Chairman Jayantha Keragala said that achieving five billion US
dollars in export revenue is an ambition or near impossible target given
poor promotion, inadequate subsidies, labour issues and the global
The tea industry is facing several storms that have impeded the
growth of the sector. Production and export competion have weakened due
to the high cost of production and inadequate funds for promotional
The industry solicits the support of the Government to boost exports
and retain the status of the industry in the global market", Keragala
said. He said unlike competing countries which have cheap labour and low
production costs the Sri Lankan tea industry has a huge production cost
due to the high labour and energy costs which are a burden on the
Dr. Jayasundera said that growth in India and China has slowed
despite the countries being the two power houses in Asia.
China is the second largest economy in the world and has successfully
brought its spacecraft to earth this week.
"It is a tough time for all countries and Sri Lanka has to respond
with corrections. High oil prices, exchange rate, bank interest rates
and subsidies need to be addressed," he said.
"Sri Lanka has a great advantage due to infrastructure facilities
such as electricity, good road network and communication which many
regional tea exporters do not have.
We need to be innovative with good cultivation practices and
enhancing the value addition to be ahead of competitors", Dr.
Sri Lanka's position in tea production and exports has dropped from
third largest producer to fourth and second largest exporter to third.
Dr. Jayasundera said that the Government is optimistic that Sri Lanka
will be an upper middle-income earning country by 2014 and added that
tea exports should target US$ 2.5 billion by that time and then reach
the target within the next few years.
The Export Development Board has set a target of US$ 20 billion by