The Economic Development Ministry will vest with the people 54,600 completed development projects during the next 10 days (November 15-25), which would bring direct benefits to the masses.
The projects would be one among many initiatives in connection with the inauguration of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second term in office to supplement the Government’s development goals during the next six years, Economic Development Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said. The Minister yesterday predicted that Sri Lanka would emerge as one of the most developed Asian nations during the period. The Government would sustain and grow on its present economic growth of over eight percent and would increase the per capita income to exceed US $ 4,000, he added.
Pointing out to a statement made by the Singaporean Deputy Prime Minister, Abeywardena said even though the Opposition had failed to understand the magnitude of Government efforts to develop, the country the fact was not lost upon knowledgeable international sectors.
The media reported that Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Teo Chee Hean as saying “Sri Lanka has emerged from a decades-long war, and is enjoying an economic revival.
It is currently the second-fastest growing Asian economy after China, a fact not lost upon the IMF, which recently upgraded Sri Lanka to middle income emerging market status”.
Deputy Minister Abeywardene said that during 2006 to 2010, the Government under President Rajapaksa’s guidance had laid a solid foundation to develop the country, despite challenges in the form of terrorism, a world economic recession, sky rocketing oil prices, local and international detractors etc. Highlighting some of the gains, he noted that despite overwhelming odds, the Government was able to propel the economic growth to over eight percent and per capita income to US $ 2,053 from US $ 1,062 a few years back.
The Government was also able to initiate the construction of five harbours simultaneously Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee, Oluvil and Hambantota while mega power generation projects such as Kerawalapitiya, Upper Kotmale, Norochcholai and Trincomalee came to be. Ten multi-purpose irrigation schemes were initiated. Expressways such as Colombo-Matara, Colombo–Kandy and Colombo–Katunayake are under way. Sixteen fly overs in Colombo were erected. Fertilizer was given at subsidized rates with the Government spending Rs 107,537 million.
Over 9,000 Km of village roads were concreted, all main roads were carpeted and 360 bridges were constructed. Foreign reserves were upped to US $ 7 billion, the Deputy Minister added highlighting some of the notable achievements.
He pointed out that during the period the President was also able to bring about political stability and unity within the country. He was also able to garner international support for Government efforts, Abeywardena added. During the next six years, the Government’s focus would be on economic development in line with its cherished goal of becoming the wonder of Asia, he said.