President tells Commonwealth Business Forum: ‘Clarity of economic vision powered progress’

Sri Lanka’s success in economic progress and development during the past six years was due to the consistency and clarity in its economy, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

Delivering the keynote address at the Commonwealth Economic Forum in this Western Australian capital yesterday on the sidelines of this weekend’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, President Rajapaksa said that the Mahinda Chinthana provided the much needed guidance towards Sri Lanka’s economic progress.

“Sri Lanka has been successful during the past six years, because of the consistency and clarity in our economy. Mahinda Chinthana, the policy agenda of the government clearly spelt out our vision and the programme of action that we needed to follow. We have acted quickly and confidently, in keeping with our culture and the aspirations of our people and faced challenges directly,” the President told the CBF attended by business leaders from Commonwealth nations, including Sri Lanka.

He said that Sri Lanka gave equal priority to the several macro-fundamentals of its economy, including unprecedented investment in infrastructure, resulting in substantial improvements in the recent past.

“It is worthy of mentioning that Sri Lanka’s economic growth went up from six percent to eight percent, unemployment was reduced from eight percent to 4.3 percent inflation down from 28 percent to six percent, debt to GDP levels down from 103 percent to 79 percent, budget deficits down from over 10 percent to 6.8 percent, foreign reserve levels up from one and a half months of imports to five and a half months of imports, Global Competitiveness Index improving from 79th position to 52nd position, doing Business Ranking improving from 102nd level to 89th level,” he said. President Rajapaksa added that Sri Lanka’s infrastructure development efforts are continuing without interruption and the level of poverty has decreased from 22 percent to eight percent. He said that political stability is being maintained in times of great political chaos in the world.

“We believe one of the reasons that Sri Lanka has been able to achieve these improvements was the clarity and confidence we provided to our stakeholders. We implemented balanced policies that embraced all vital aspects of the economy simultaneously,” he said.

“It is worth noting that these achievements were possible, in the context of conditions of peace and stability which we attained in Sri Lanka, after the eradication of terrorism. An end to terrorist violence was absolutely essential to move the country forward … along the path of economic and social development,” he said.

President Rajapaksa also mentioned the steps Sri Lanka has taken in its reconciliation and development after becoming the first country to eradicate terrorism. “Our initiatives today are multi-pronged. The spirit of inclusivity to which we are deeply committed, is the basis of all our programmes of reconciliation. Resettlement of those displaced during the humanitarian operation, re-integration of ex-combatants, a political dialogue with representatives of all communities and strengthening of electoral mechanisms, especially at the grass-root level, are aspects of this process,” he said. The President pointed out that the economy of the North and the East, previously affected due to terrorism, is growing at a rate of 22 percent. “We await the submission next month of the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, a home grown institution which I appointed to help leave behind us, the pain and anguish of the past and guide the nation towards an era of peace and prosperity,” the President told the CBF.


Courtesy: Daily News