By Ranil Wickremesinghe –
I take this opportunity to clarify the current status of the economy and the way forward for our government and people.
I emphasized the need for rebuilding the Sri Lankan Economy when I delivered the Economic Policy Statements in 2015 and 2016.
The challenge faced by us today is to sustain what we have built, and strengthening the economy. This task has two prongs. The first is to stabilise the economy creating a country free of debt for our future generations. The second is to expand the economy giving all Sri Lankans the chance for prosperity.
Strengthening and Expanding the Economy
We inherited a plagued economy. Since 2015, our Government took a number of major steps to stabilise the economy. As I mentioned in the Economic Policy Statement last year, there is no use of holding the past responsible. We should try our best to go forward getting the past faults rectified.
Despite the reasons which are beyond our control and challenging domestic and global conditions, we were able to sustain a steady GDP growth rate of 4.4%. We were able to maintain the unemployment rate at 4.2% and to reduce the budget deficit to 5.4%.
Perhaps the most important thing is the change of our focus than the statistics. We focussed on a development based on tradable goods rather than developing on non-tradable goods. For years, the growth of the Economy of Sri Lanka was heavily reliant on huge public investments in infrastructure. Only the industries such as construction industry were strengthened by such investments. Concurrently, the exports share of the GDP of Sri Lanka was decreased gradually.
Managing the National Debt
We inherited the challenge of high debt with deficits in our current account balance and the government budget. Years of low government revenue paired with rigid expenditure flows led to financing the budget deficit from domestic and foreign borrowings.
In 2015, 90.6% of the Government total revenue was spent for debt servicing. This amounted to 80% in 2016.
It is an urgent need to draw our attention on spending more than the revenue. We have initiated a process of fiscal consolidation based on revenue generation by passing the Inland Revenue Act, which is already yielding returns.
Public finances have been strengthened and revenue has increased as a percentage of GDP during the past two years. The ratio of revenue to GDP in 2016 increased to 14.2% from 11.4% in 2014. For the first six months of 2017, revenue to GDP now stands at 6.7% of GDP from 6% in the corresponding period in 2016. It is expected to reduce the current debt which is 79.3% of the GDP to 70% of GDP by 2020. We expect to maintain the budget deficit below 3.5% by then. We will strengthen the Fiscal Management Responsibility Act affirming our commitment towards fiscal consolidation.
In the midst of all these, we have many other challenges in 2018 and 2019 in terms of public debt management and fiscal consolidation.
The domestic debt portfolio mainly consists of Treasury Bonds. Around 30% of the Treasury Bonds will mature by 2019. Similarly, Sri Lanka Development Bonds, which is a USD denominated domestic debt instrument, worth of over USD 2.3 billion will mature by 2018. In addition, the composition of the foreign debt portfolio was also changed considerably. This change was occurred mainly due to the increase of mobilizing commercial loans such as the issuance of International Sovereign Bonds. We have to pay USD 1.5 billion in 2019 for maturities of International Sovereign Bonds. Further we have to pay annually thereafter.
When considering the public debt service payments based on the outstanding debt as at end of August 2017, we have to pay Rs. 1,974 billion in 2018. We will have to pay Rs. 1,515 billion in 2019. It means we have to pay more than 3,489 billion in 2018 and 2019 for debt servicing.
In order to overcome these unprecedented challenges, the government has initiated a prudent debt management strategy. Our traditional approaches to debt management will have to change to cope with new risks and structural and regulatory changes.
Our policies will be targeted on forward-looking liability management strategies. Accordingly, the funds required by the government will be raised with transparency and predictability. Under the medium – term debt management strategy, the detailed strategies of government borrowings will be known in advance to the domestic and foreign debt portfolios. In addition, we will introduce a comprehensive secondary market trading platform and a liability management fund. These reforms and future reforms will come into effect under the new Fiscal Liability Management Act that provides legal framework for a prudent debt management strategy.
The changes we have made by introducing the new Inland Revenue Act have been commended by the international community as well as domestic economic actors.
With the reforms such as the new Inland Revenue Act, Foreign Exchange Act, Fiscal Liability Management Act, Corporate Intents of the State Owned Enterprises and close monetary-fiscal coordination, we will steer this country towards robust and judicious management of our financial resources and fiscal framework.
Maintaining Low Inflation
Our government is taking a two-pronged approach to address the price stability.
We expect to provide the opportunity of buying the food items at a lower price throughout the year in order to control the short-term price fluctuations resulting in hardships to the people. We will improve the domestic supply chains and distribution networks to do so. In the meantime, we will allow importing of food products and other essential commodities at reasonable costs within the competitive market framework. We have reduced taxes on food commodities substantially over the past three months. We urge domestic wholesalers and retailers to pass the benefit of these reductions to the consumers.
However, the government will provide the space to the Central Bank to carry out its monetary policy independently to maintain price stability on a sustainable basis. The Central Bank is moving towards a new monetary policy framework targeting a flexible inflation. The aim of this framework is to maintain a low inflation continuously while supporting the economic activities. With this change of policy, our people will get the opportunity to live comfortably with the security of stable prices.
Development under Vision 2025
As we emphasised in the Vision 2025 document launched in September, we want to transform Sri Lanka into the hub of the Indian Ocean, safeguarded by a knowledge-based, highly competitive, social market economy. Our ambition is to make Sri Lanka a prosperous country by 2025.
For this vision to become a reality, our activities should join hands with the external world. Sri Lanka is a small island right in the middle of a large world. For thousands of years we have benefitted from being located strategically. Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten this competitive advantage of the location. Our vision is to reclaim that mantle of international connectivity. In here, we have to leave behind the decades of inward-looking policies that shrouded our capacity to grow.
For this vision to become a reality, we must encourage the entrepreneurs to diversify our exports. From that, our export basket will be improved with diversity. For decades, we have relied on the same exports products such as garments, rubber, and tea. These have been the giants of our exports economy. But now, we should diversify our exports by adding value added goods and services.
And also, we should integrate into the producer – driven value chains. If we enable our domestic businesses especially small and medium enterprises to create linkages with the international value chains, we will be able to see immense leaps in productivity and profits.
Further, we must provide the opportunity for the private sector to drive growth and investments. We have relied on the public sector for too long ignoring the private sector. We have scared away private investments with unclear policies and complicated procedures for too long. The effort of our government is to create an economy firmly based on foreign and domestic private investment, driven by a dynamic and forward – looking private sector.
A 3-Year Economic Delivery Programme
To kick-start this transformation, we will implement a comprehensive economic strategy over the next three years.
We intend to raise per capita income to USD 5000 per year.
We hope to create one million new jobs.
Our target is to increase foreign direct investment to USD 5 billion per year.
We plan to double the exports to USD 20 billion per year.
Enriched and Empowered People
The goal of these development strategies is improving the lives of the average Sri Lankans. Thus we will strive for two basic economic outcomes:
* Increasing and improving jobs.
* Raising incomes and expanding the middle class.
For this, our crucial need is to enhance education and skill development to enable all citizens to contribute to a knowledge-based economy.
Unemployment rate among the youth, those who have passed GCE A/L, and females, estimated at 18.5%, 39.9% and 6.5%, respectively. This illustrates the current structural deficiencies in the domestic labour market and the issue of skills mismatch.
Recognizing these shortcomings, the government will be initiating a number of basic educational reforms. We will guarantee 13 – years of education for everyone. After the GCE Ordinary Level examination, students will be directed to higher education, vocational education, jobs and training.
Furthermore, Information and Communication Technology, which is a need of the hour will be included in the school curriculum and the intake to universities in such disciplines will be increased. This also aligns with government’s broader objectives and effort towards a digitally empowered economy. This approach will provide the opportunity for the youth to engage in better jobs while getting their skills developed.
The Government will encourage the private sector to develop the skills of the market by investing on skills development and joining hands with the public – private sector initiatives. Recent estimates show that 23% of the population will be elderly by 2042. With the rapid increase of the aged population, skill development programs will also target older workers. And also, action will be taken to tackle the drop in productivity due to outdated skills.
The government is planning to formulate policies to have a balance between the needs of foreign employment and domestic labour market. As the first step, labour shortages in the market will be filled. Foreign employment will be promoted only when the earnings are high and, only when the earning opportunities are available for skilled workers.
With better working conditions such as improved public transport and flexible working conditions, there is a chance that Sri Lankans living abroad will actively contribute to the country’s growth process. We can expect their engagement for the development of our country and overall improvement in working conditions.
Currently, 60% of the employed population is engaged in informal and illegal economic activities. 40% of the employed population is engaged in vulnerable categories of jobs. We will take steps to uplift the standards of all jobs and to secure the social recognition and safety by providing internationally accepted certifications and licenses. This will result in minimizing the informal nature of the jobs. A contributory pension scheme will be introduced for those who are employed in the informal sector. This will result in minimizing the likelihood of poverty after retirement.
Trade and Tariff Reforms for the Growth of Export Targets
We were a trading nation since the era of ancient kings. Sri Lanka was the hub for transferring goods and knowledge from East to West, and West to East. We should learn from the history on exports and private sector growth which are key elements for becoming a higher middle-income economy.
People living in developed and developing East Asian and South East Asian countries such as China and Thailand have better jobs and higher living standards than the average Sri Lankans. I remember travelling to villages in these countries in 1979. They did not have many comforts or western foods enjoyed by Sri Lankans by then.
But today, the situation is different. How Sri Lanka lost its pace of development while other countries were progressing? This is a question that we should ask from ourselves. They embraced open economic policies focused on exports. Meanwhile, we looked inwards and adopted closed policies. Therefore we missed 30 years of valuable opportunities.
As I said before, Sri Lanka’s exports are still based on traditional plantation crops together with apparels and tourism. We still compete for apparel with lower income economies resulting in pressure to keep our wages low. Still our biggest foreign exchange earner is foreign employment sector. Yet all these foreign exchange earnings are insufficient to meet our import bills. This lack of export growth contributes to the pressure on the balance of payments. This results in the depreciation of rupee and affects the prices of goods.
On the other hand, other middle-income countries such as Thailand and Vietnam are exporting a more diversified range of high-value products such as automobile parts, machinery and electronics. They are leaving us behind. We will have to catch up to our competitors. We have to change all these things if we are to strengthen the economy and to create more jobs.
We have obtained good results from the steps we have taken to stabilise the economy. Therefore, we should now focus on adopting an export-led economical growth strategies and policies by providing high-value and diversified products and services.
A key part of this policy will be entering into Free Trade Agreements with partner countries around the world. We are making great progress towards mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreements with Singapore, China, and India. These deals will give our economy a massive boost by opening huge new markets to our entrepreneurs.
We must ensure that both local manufacturers and export manufacturers are competitive through this export-led strategy. Businesses may have to restructure focusing on which aspects make them competitive. Only then Sri Lanka will become a highly competitive economy.
To ensure a smooth transition for these companies, the government will be formulating a trade adjustment package. We have already taken steps in that regard, enacting the Inland Revenue Act and the Foreign Exchange Act, and moving forward with the Anti-Dumping Bill. We are also formulating a new National Export Strategy and a new National Trade Policy. The government is also establishing a National Single Window for Trade facilitation, and creating a new development bank for development financing with an export-import window.
Strengthening our Capacity for Growth
For our export-led economic strategy to be a success, we must target and obtain much more Foreign Direct Investment and Local Private Direct Investment in high-value products. Foreign Direct Investments have been the engine of growth for East Asia and South East Asia, and Sri Lanka can certainly attract similar or higher levels of investments.
For this, it is essential that we improve the investment climate. We should push Sri Lanka to top positions in relevant global indicators.
We will simplify the hurdles that investors currently face in dealing with the large number of government agencies. The reform agenda and an organizational setup focusing on implementation and continuous review of progress are already in place.
We launched the eight-fold action plan on Investment Climate Reforms in July 2017. It was developed following in-depth key stakeholder consultations to understand the obstacles faced by business owners and investors. This engaging and transparent approach is the key to success of the reforms. We will contribute to raising Sri Lanka’s Ease of Doing Business ranking from 110 in 2017 to 70 by 2020.
Additionally, the steps are being taken to establish a Single Window for new business registration that brings more than 20 Government agencies together.
Comprehensive Industrial Strategies
Moreover, we will implement a comprehensive industrialization strategy that connects manufacturing with other sectors. Since economic liberalization in 1978, our progress in human development aspects have been on par with advanced economies. Yet our industries have declined.
The contribution of industrial activities and the manufacturing sector to economic growth has remained stagnant during the last two decades. Industrial activities contributed 27.6% of GDP in 2000 and only 29.7% in 2016. Inability to remain competitive, lack of value addition and lack of sophisticated technology are the main reasons for this situation.
We will revitalise the manufacturing sector by introducing a clearly defined industrialisation strategy.
Promotion of Tourism
In 2016, we have attracted more than 2 million international visitors generating an estimated revenue of USD 3.5 billion. The industry provided 320,000 local jobs in 2015. In the coming years, we will strengthen the tourism sector so that we can work towards our goal of attracting five million tourists to Sri Lanka every year.
Massive resort hotels dominated our tourism sector in the past. But current research shows that 90% of Sri Lanka’s hotels have less than 10 rooms. This is an Airbnb economy. This is an economy where every individual with a spare room has the capacity to earn cash. We will streamline the informal sector and ensure the quality and standards.
Tourists are not just coming to Sri Lanka for the standard hotel holiday. Therefore, the government will take steps to develop tourist attractions. Sri Lanka will be made a destination where tourists should come for unique experiences. Travellers have focussed on a number of sectors such as our culture, cuisine, traditions, wildlife, Ayurveda and meditation.
The contribution of all stakeholders in the public and private sectors is required to boost the tourist attraction. 4-year tourism development strategy which ws prepared consulting all relevant stakeholders will provide the base to achieve the tourism vision 2025.
China and India are our biggest and most rapidly expanding markets. We must shift our tourism strategies accordingly. We have to expand our connections with the countries from which the well-spending tourists are coming. We have to liberalise access to sea and air services. Therefore action will be taken to develop air access domestically and internationally, while facilitating cruise services and the establishment of yacht marinas.
Improving Opportunities for Housing
With all our focus on growth, we have certainly not forgotten the fundamental needs of our people. Our goal is to provide shelter for all in 2025.
The government is drafting a new national housing policy built on three key features. First, the policy is a people centric policy. People will engage in decision-making, actions, and responsibilities. Secondly, we are going to pursue integrated and inclusive urban housing development. Thirdly, we will ensure that housing development is sustainable.
We have allocated Rs. 75 billion to the National Savings Bank to provide housing loans at concessionary rates, and we have allocated Rs. 75 billion for the urban regeneration programme and other housing programmes.
The Government will not act as the sole owner. The Government will act as a delegated authority. The government will play the central role in setting the framework for housing development, but a lesser role in providing investment. We will enable the people and private sector to take control of investing on housing.
Market-driven Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)
We recognise the need for sustainable investments in socio-economic infrastructure such as education, health, electricity, roads and highways. It will contribute to Sri Lanka’s rapid transition into a middle-income country. Our aim is to utilize PPP to gap these investment opportunities.
Accordingly, the government will formulate a clear PPP policy with a well-defined legal, regulatory and institutional framework to attract private players with the requisite capacities. Potential areas for expanding PPP include healthcare, leisure, tourism, education, ports and aviation, transportation, highways, information and communication technology, and energy. We will prioritize expanding opportunities for alternate financing to support PPP programmes.
Strengthening Public – Private Partnerships in the Agriculture sector
We hope to harness the power and energy of PPPs to improve efficiency and productivity of agriculture. The agriculture sector is saddled with major issues such as low productivity, lack of diversification, inefficiency in water management, and poor management of weather disruptions. Weaknesses in the sector contribute to food insecurity and regional poverty.
We will revitalise this sector through investments in agricultural research, extension services, water resources, and infrastructure facilities. We will facilitate the shift from traditional low value to modern high value agriculture. We will encourage scientific farming, promote agro-based industries and initiate commercial agriculture with the participation of farmer organisations and the private sector.
We will encourage the small and medium scale agri-businesses to invest in commercial agriculture and value chains through the agriculture modernization project. Further, we hope to see the modernization in the plantation sector.
The government will also promote information and technology enabled agricultural extension services to farmers by encouraging mobile phone-based services. This will turn the farmers who are depending on the on subsidies into agri-businessmen.
Supporting SMEs through Swashakthi
Another key feature of our support for the small businessman is the Swashakthi loan scheme. The government launched Swashakthi with the intention of supporting small and medium scale entrepreneurs to start self-employment projects and industries to strengthen the village economy. We have seen high demand for this scheme. That means we have deep wells of entrepreneurial capacity just waiting to be tapped. We will extend this scheme further to support the entrepreneurial skills and ideas of the youth.
We are in the process of launching several new schemes to support technology based SMEs. In order to improve the efficiency of government loan schemes and refinance schemes, we will also continue efforts to consolidate such schemes. We urge financial institutions to keep intermediation costs low, so that the whole country can benefit from reasonable interest rates on loans.
We aim to create an environment where all citizens have the opportunity to achieve higher incomes and better standards of living. Therefore one of our main priorities is creating safe working conditions for women.
Women participation in the labour market remains low in Sri Lanka compared with majority of advanced and emerging market economies and the region. The present Women Labour Force Participation Rate is less than half of that of males, lingering around 30%-35% since 1990s. This participation is not enough to sustain the high growth momentum of the economy.
We should improve the public transport systems enabling women to travel comfortably to their workplaces. We are introducing the Light Rail Transit (LRT) with this purpose. This will greatly ease the current passenger congestion and provide a convenient and a safe mode of transport.
Furthermore, the National Child Day Care Centre Guidelines as already approved by the Cabinet will assist in creating more affordable and transparent childcare centres across the island. People will have the opportunity of obtaining their services at a reasonable rate.
Archaic labour laws which restrict females from effectively participating in the labour force, contribute to lower participation and lower productivity levels. Therefore, the government is committed to introduce new legislation. The present situation in the private sector on maternity benefits and access to tertiary and vocational education facilities will be improved.
We will encourage and strengthen the Small and Medium Enterprises. Women can play a major role in these enterprises.
Building a Stronger Economy
A number of projects which accelerate our journey towards a stronger economy are being implemented. We are building a well-planned expressway system from Hambanthota to Kandy. We have obtained funds for that. We started a joint venture in Hambanthota Port this year. Discussions are being held to start a joint venture in Mattala Airport as well. We have started working on Hambanthota economic zone. Millaniya Trade Zone has been planned already. Wayamba Industrial Zone has also been planned. The constructions of those zones will commence next year.
The construction of the first stage of the port city which will be developed as a Financial City is nearing completion. We will develop the Kandy City by joining hands with the Japanese government. India and Japan are extending their assistance to construct LNG plants. Tourism Zones in the Southern have been planned. Acquisition of lands is taking place now. We will start working on tourism zones in Iranavila and the Eastern Province soon.
The Budget 2018 which will accelerate these programmes will be presented in Parliament next month. The Budget will provide the opportunity to extend the development which was limited to the Western Province, to all over including Southern, North-Western and Central Provinces.
Those who can develop with skills and effort will be encouraged by the Budget. Others will also be supported.
This is a very challenging journey towards prosperity. This is a plan to enrich the country by 2025. This is an effort to make Sri Lanka again, the economy and trade hub of the Indian Ocean. I urge all of you to join hands with me in this challenging journey towards prospering our motherland.
*Economic Policy Statement made by the Prime Minister – 20.10.2017
max / October 20, 2017
2.5 years in power. 7 economic plans so far! Mr. PM, you’ve become seriously a joke!
Amarasiri / October 20, 2017
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,
RE: Economic Policy Statement
“I take this opportunity to clarify the current status of the economy and the way forward for our government and people.”
“We aim to create an environment where all citizens have the opportunity to achieve higher incomes and better standards of living. Therefore one of our main priorities is creating safe working conditions for women.”
Good talk, but action and tangible results are needed.
Right now, for now, Amarasiri is focusing on the Sri Lanka Muslim women who are treated like cattle and chattel, courtesy of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, (MMDI) which the UNP passed, that took the rights of the Muslim women away, and gave it to the Qazis, and Muslim men. The ACJU will not change it? Why should they? They are sitting pretty.
Will the so-called Yahapalanaya Govt,. at least , give relief for these abused women and legally raped 12-year old girls? Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, what is your excuse , sir?
Realizing Muslim Women’s Rights – When Is The Right Time?
MMDA is a law like any other law enacted by Sri Lankan Parliament and any judgments made by the Quazi court system is enforceable through our judicial system. More importantly the MMDA is part of our colonial legacy and no longer reflects current realities of Sri Lankan Muslims nor the advances made in the interpretation of Muslim personal law in Muslim communities and countries across the world.
Jagath Fernando / October 20, 2017
We would had three budget speeches by next month and three economic policy speeches from you. We need action on the ground.
1 FDI s have come to a grinding halt.
2 Your Ministry Secretaries 50+ have no capacity for execution
3 Afer 2 years SAITM is still not resolved.
4 No new FTAs signed todate.
5 No high profile investor todate.
6 Took 2 years to give out Hambantota Port. Mattala yet to conclude.
7 Sri Lankan has lost Rs 50 billion in three years under your govt
8 Key reforms such as pensions, SOEs, Labour laws, education etc not done
9 No new Public Private Partnerships todate
10 no difference in corruption compared to MARA regime
11 Appointments to key stare institutions have been appalling.
12 Need a much more responsive law & order infrastructure.
Hire capable people to come and serve govt. Hire 10 outstanding people for your key ministries.
Hold people accountable for delivery. Get rid of politicians and officials charged with corruption.
People are waiting and please don’t disappoint them.
Native Vedda / October 21, 2017
“Hire capable people to come and serve govt.”
Almost all capable people have already left this island. Not many likely to return. Where do you find them? How do you attract them if the working and political environment is not conducive for their return?
The local “not fit for the purpose” gang is ever ready to oppose imported far superior skills.
You cannot have the cake and eat it.
Amarasiri / October 20, 2017
This is called Katta Katha…. Katta Katha.. Katta Katha..Katta Katha..Katta Katha..
What is needed is Weda Katha…..Weda Katha…Weda Katha…Weda Katha…..Weda Katha.
Richard / October 20, 2017
You are perfectly right to the point. He is just joking. He won’t understand what are the essential criteria for a Country to develop. He is still with his old ulterior motive and not doing anything correct. The Country will never go past its criminal record the way it is managed. He is not seeing what all other can see!
Jimsofty / October 21, 2017
Ranil Wicramasinghe’s Priority right now is hang onto the parliament somehow without getting arrestd, jailed. So, you got a question in which you can lie and hide. What a way to develop the country. Why you are so scared to resign and allow a fair investigation.
Native Vedda / October 21, 2017
“PM, you’ve become seriously a joke!”
Please do laugh.
Being a joke is far better than being a crook, war criminal, ……………….. or their b***s carrier.
Jimsofty / October 21, 2017
Lot of talk every where, some times one way here, another way in another place. When it comes to work only the holes just like Central bank thefts for more than twice.
Paul / October 20, 2017
High aspirations from the PM who cannot even keep the streets clean. Its another the 100 day plan. It will all amount to nothing because of corruption and lack of political will to do anything about it..
Percy / October 20, 2017
Imagine PM talking of a way forward! Ever since he took office the country has been going backwards! He is a living joke! What can the country do with a PM like this? Even D B Wijetunge would have done better.
Raj / October 20, 2017
I had faith in you despite the criticisms but you have been a great disappointment so far. Of course, having a spineless, uneducated (as a leader of a country) yokel with a questionable past from an opposing party as the head of state may not have helped but you have considerable clout as PM & you failed to stand up for the truth. Instead, you tried to cover up the sins of your mates which has brought you down & in fact, questions your integrity. Which is more important, your mates or the country you have pledged to serve?
Your cabinet may have a better proportion of intellectuals than the previous regime of yobs but they have turned out to be crooks nevertheless. You will never be able to implement your vision for the country as long as you turn a blind eye to the dodgy dealings of your mates. So, first of all, start cracking the whip & get your party members to toe the line. You need to clamp down on corruption fast & restore law & order with justice for all citizens of SL before you talk of economic reforms.
Ratnam Nadarajah / October 20, 2017
It is indeed a joke . Almost 3 years down the line zero progress in anything at all; except corruption.
Give us a break and do something practical to solve the nation’s woes
Amarasiri / October 21, 2017
“It is indeed a joke . Almost 3 years down the line zero progress in anything at all; except corruption.”
What do you expect in a country where the average IQ is 79, and those with higher IQ’s have already left the shores, and what is left is a bigger faction from the bottom of the IQ distribution.
Lion / October 20, 2017
Face Reality in the AM…..
Dream in the PM…
But when one dream in the AM
Try to fix things in the PM
Everything is in confusion ….
nalmen / October 20, 2017
as usual big plans but no action
next time you speak tell us what you have done not what you are going to do
N Wimaladasa / October 20, 2017
In the spite of Sri Lankan fundamental Economy is weak and that Rural Agriculture depend on poor methods of cultivation and out dated technology. Which has taken place in the hundred years that under an occupation of British colonial era. At that time colonial governances of British rules were that only interest of Tea, Coffee Rubber and Coconuts plantation that initiated by vested interest British Sterling Companies .
The 75% of Rural population depend on that life-line Paddy Cultivation had been totally neglected by colonial rulers. The full of resources of Rural landmass and food supply of potentially useful water were NOT developed by British domination over 150 years.; after Independent two major political Parties unfriendly to the Peasant cause.
On the rural Peasant cultivation however the REAL ISSUE of much of last several decades was the Debt traps has turn into debt crisis the risky of forced land to be sell to Rural Rich?
These are: rule peasants has challenges
1 It has low rate of rural productive growth.
2 It has a inflexible products of crops.
3 It has an intentionally abandoned wide range of rural base productions ,which not suited to growing World market .
4 Land and Labor-Peasants which are cheapest, but it was under- utilized or not Utilized at all.
5 Capital and technology was scarcest and costliest resources.
But Funding by Banks and other institution has not created for platform to support for vast rural, Population by during colonial-era and even post Independent governments. has not provide sufficient funding to rural Framing.
What ever the proposed Economic planned by Primer is not viable under prevailing situation is that Rural land -production by current policies , it is not possible achieve sustainable of Rural Capitalist agriculture ?
Douglas / October 20, 2017
Dear PM: In your “A3 Year Economic Delivery Programme”, the key words are: “Intend”; “Hope”; “Target” and “Plan”. For the last two and a half years in the “Driver Seat” of the economy of this country, we have found you miserably failed the “TEST” and all the “Intentions”; “Hopes”; “Targets” and the “Plans” of the People of this country have been shattered. Your start with the taking over of the Central Bank and the massive scale robbery that took place under your GUIDANCE is a LIVING example that speaks volumes of your “Intentions”; “Hopes”; “Targets” and “Plans” of the past and the future in dealing with not only the economy but also the Administrative Machinery of the Governmental affairs. So, please retire and allow a new generation to take over. We are fed up with your preaching.
Muthal Ganesan / October 20, 2017
I suggest some sort of political union with India that would allow underused highly-skilled Sri Lankazns to gain on the continent, particularly through the large research organizations and universities that it has.
I am firmly supportive of an economic union along the lines of the EU. I remember correctly that Nepal has freedom-of-movement with India, so I think Sri Lanka could offer a visa-on-arrival akin to the Trans-Tasman agreement in Australia.
This would allow both countries to control immigration to their advantage. I think Sri Lanka should join the IPL too.
old codger / October 20, 2017
“I suggest some sort of political union with India that would allow underused highly-skilled Sri Lankazns to gain on the continent,”
Yes, especially the Jewish ones.
K.Pillai / October 20, 2017
No need for any form of union with India. We can help India though by teaching Indians of the dangers of the rise rise rise of Hindu bigotry.
Native Vedda / October 21, 2017
“We can help India though by teaching Indians of the dangers of the rise rise rise of Hindu bigotry.”
Does it matter whether it is Hindu bigotry or Sinhala/Buddhist fascism? The people of South Asia is doomed not because of bigotry but because of enough liberal voices not challenging both fascism.
Nosey Parker / October 20, 2017
Can you explain why we need to borrow billions at commercial rates for the Kandy highway when we are so heavily in debt ?
What are the economic benefits to the nation apart from being a convenience to the affluent, bearing in mind that motorcycles and three wheelers aren’t allowed on the highway?
K.Pillai / October 20, 2017
Economic growth in a corrupt atmosphere will only benefit the corrupt elites. We, the silent majority want every Lankan to enjoy the benefit.
Ranil, this implies bridling corruption. You are not even trying Ranil!
Jimsofty / October 20, 2017
PM behaves blind and extra deaf and pretends that the Sri lankan public is forgetful, don’t understand anything and shameless to vote corrupt Politicians again. What can people say if the central bank has a hugh hole, when the big employee funds and state banks have bigger holes, when private banks are sold under the table to foreigners what is the use of these economic plans. These plans would just like what was said just before 2015. If we don’t know how to hold the water in the bucket, we are talking about filling ir more. who are stupid and should people keep on listening to this crap ?
Jimsofty / October 20, 2017
What is the difference between vision 2025, this economic plan, Economic vision describd during the 100 day giovt and all the school buddies gang up and empty the banks. Why PM is so scared to quit politics or Resign and give space to law enforcment to conduct the investigation proper. Instead all these carp that is very contrary to actually what is happening. Every govt institution is a den for VVIP thieves. If the country can not hold it Central bank properly, states banks properly (they gi bank evert now and then). Where do we hold money. Country will be bank the day those women working middle east stop sending money. On that day, all the scholl buddies gone Voters keep on cursing.
Jimsofty / October 20, 2017
Why Ranil Wikramasinghe is silent about curtailing the american aids (his and avamangalas beloved friends) drastically instead Fundings are increased for various CIA programs. What percentage goes to country’s development and the two leaders are silent about it ?. How soon the country become useful to noone except for those who play geopolitics in the region?————— Another complain is Ranil is using others air plane tickets for his trips.
Singhalese pundit / October 20, 2017
I’m.sri Lankan academic.
In have been living in the UK for the 27 years..
I agree with all what you say .but practically there are many issues in Sri Lanka that government needs to change.
1).first and fore most is that we need enrich our human resources/man power?
How do you need it .I think most of Sri Lankan universities still follow outdated teaching methods in most facilities .
There is less creativity in teaching and look at the quality of education in.sri Lanka still copying and dictating ..
So could you enrich man power.
80%A/L students who dropped out from schools or who do not have placements in universities..what do they do?
Go abroad for odd job.
Go to go works in Sri Lanka.
End up doing nothing .
So; allocate money for these people for skill developed projects .
Today thousands of courses for these people.
No Sri Lanka child born in Sri Lanka should be deprived of opportunity to develop.his or her skils…
So ; come up with plan for this..
Secondly; one million Sri Lanka today in Europe make use of their knowledge; skills; talents to develop Sri Lanka in all fields..
I have a lot to say…but ..
Jimsofty / October 21, 2017
Ranil wickrasinghe is saying high unemployment rates among youths and has given figures. Yet, he wants to sign ETCA and give more Indians to Sri lanka for employment. Talk about empowering female. What did your govt did in the north. One School girl was killed savegely just for pornography purposes and two MPs, one is vijayakala Mehaswaran the other is sivagilingam I suppose, but no one was arrested. when the govt is not capable of prosecutting criminals, what empoweirb of females. You are talkng about debt and one JO ministers /imf money is availavle abour S 770 billions unused. So, it is looks govt is very disirganized and ministers do what ever they want as they can pulfer more into their accounts. YOu just escape to some country every time the country has some serious problem. when you are not doing your part to solve the Central Bank same what else we can talk. JUST PLEASE LEAVE.
N. Wimaladasa / October 21, 2017
The ‘New’ vision of “Strong Economy” is very positive an Idea by Premier proposal, but problem remain silent without answering an Ills of Economy last 70 years has not been an address by Two Major political parties of UNP and Old SLFP’s. Of cause that Primer has silently admitted On Nation Economy Structure of Sri Lankan is fundamentally not Sound at all, the basic foundation of Economy more weaker than 2015 January 8th?
Well by shifted into Sound Economy an Island is not possible by short period of Time…. is NOT that even possible within 2025? Economy Ills are that I have diagnosed, it suffering from Cancer, it has penetrated into system of the every sphere of the social institutions and widely spared an unknown areas of societies.
It is/was that problem of not an Isolated Economy ,has extend to Democracy Governances and enter into deep social conflict in various forms has be reflected since 2015 January 8th?
After 1948 that last 70 years of Independence of Ceylon of that Seven decades by an Economic growth and development of both sides of the positive & negative experiences, which past Lessons has NOT been learn by Ruling Parties of UNP & SLFP (Old). Or not take into account by ruling Parties leadership of Helmsmen.
They were blind an identified Real issues of Political- Economy-Social problems and its polemics of dialogues has Not that choose what type Capitalist Path and Model is/was not that Good at.
It was not suited to ground reality of People of Sri lanka?
ramona therese fernando / October 21, 2017
Ranil, ranil, ranil…..sigh…….So! You’ve laid out economic course 101. First and foremost, you have to realize that Obama/Clinton is no longer in the Whitehouse. Now is the golden opportunity to get away from their busy-bee plan of creating unnecessary consumer item upon consumer item.
There are 3 choices, and only 3 choices to be made (we’ll leave out your Indian alliance – Tamil Nadu, Singapore, Colombo triangle plan).
1. The Rajapaksa way, with China taking over monetary concerns. (We can pay the US not to attack us for that). Farmlands and heritage will be saved.
2. The TRUMP way, with an air-base to reconnoiter the region for forces hostile to US interests. It will be a flourishing of monetary possibilities. Farmlands and heritage will be burst into accolades of poetry and song.
3. Sirimavo’s non-alignment plan. Burma, Veitnam, Cambodia, North Korea are doing that, and Trump is negotiable.
But first and foremost, I must tell you this, whatever you do: The masses of Sinhalese will not buy the Bengali tale. They know that once they succumb to that again, their Island rights will be halved to none in gradations within the next 100 years. Ahema kerrana baah, ah. Better that Sri Lanka unites with that which unites us, than separates us viz. Kuveni’s Dravidian genes.
Amarasiri / October 23, 2017
ramona therese fernando
“Better that Sri Lanka unites with that which unites us, than separates us viz. Kuveni’s Dravidian genes.”
Kuveni’s Genes, are all lies in Mahawansa,. The Native Veddah are the Original Natives, and the Native Veddah Aetho genes are not contaminated by Dravidian, Bengali, Bihari, Kalinga genes. .
The evidence is there for the DNA and genetics of the Native Veddah Aethho and the Para-Sinhala and Para-Tamils.
The data confirms that the Sinhala and Tamils along with the others, except the Veddah Aethho are Paras.
Reference and Full Scientific Human Genetics Article.
Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: Their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations
Through a comparison with the mtDNA HVS-1 and part of HVS-2 of Indian database, both Tamils and Sinhalese clusters were affiliated with Indian subcontinent populations than Vedda people who are believed to be the native population of the island of Sri Lanka.Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 7 November 2013
K A Sumanasekera / October 21, 2017
With 6 % plus , Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan and Bangladesh are growing a lot faster than Srilanka, which is struggling to reach 4 % this year. ……. This is according to the ADB….
FDI is an all time low according to the WB…..
Rice production down 53 %….
Srilanaka got 84 th place in the Hunger Index…
Debt to GDP is an all time high, close to 90%….
Garment Industry is decimated by the competition from Bangladesh….
And Dr Ranil is talking Bull Dust about doubling the Exports to 20 Billion USD next year…. And promising Lankans being debt free in 2018……….
Dr Ranil will have to borrow USD 2.5 Billion next year to pay the maturing Treasury Bonds…
That is good news for Malik Samare and Kabir Hussain , the Money bags of the UNP…
Looks like Bangladesh will be the ” Economic Hub ” Nation in South Asia before Dr Ranil’s Yahapalana Lanka……….
Wonder whether his mate, Dr Mahendran made this Report for Dr Ranil……..And persuaded the ex Tiger Suren to bring in that USD 4 Billion , which he promised Mr Mangalan , when they signed the UNP , TNA / Diaspora MOU in 2014………….
sinhalese buddhist / October 21, 2017
blah blah blah. Less talk more action. Giving up our assets such as the harbours, air and sea ports and letting foreigners build and occupy the best real estate is NOT a way to develop a country and bring prosperity to the masses.
It is a way to make the tropical island of ours a play ground for the wealthy (domestic and foreign) and make politicians, their families and henchmen into oligarchs.
What do we mean when we say the Portugese and the Dutch colonized us, if it was not their CONTROLLING our ports and roads?
Isn’t that what you are trying to accomplish on behalf of the Chinese, Indians and the Japanese?
Jimsofty / October 21, 2017
Ranil wicramasinghe talks about debt management. How about billions of rupees of excessive profits bribes involved with private investment firms.Why poor voters, because they were cheated not because they were dumb, has to pay that debt. Talk about foreign investment increasing. Some professionals with the knowledge in banking industry, this year along some 2-3 billion of investment was withdrawn because corruption in the most important banking industry, mostly investment dealers and banks etc., So, who are the dumb politicians who had been bribed with excessive salaries, luxury cars, who listened to these crap ?. Why people have t listen to these. there should be end to this cheating and frauds. It is not law enforcment. justice, AG’s department and voters. It is the crooked legislators making laws while they themsselves breaking laws, not anything but the financial industry.
Ad / October 21, 2017
“This task has two prongs. The first is to stabilise the economy creating a country free of debt for our future generations. The second is to expand the economy giving all Sri Lankans the chance for prosperity”
After taxing citizens so heavily to pay for, committing crimes such as bond scam, wasting funds at all the levels, allowing the criminals enjoy their spoils, causing so many deaths due to improper economic discipline, how can citizens believe that PM is capable to achieve the said targets? Just words words words.
Ravi Daniel / October 21, 2017
Although I left Sri lanka 34 years ago .I was always interrsted in motherland politics.when i was a young boy i have been to sirikotha a couple of times with my uncle Mr.Sundram from Balangoda who worked there in the 80 ‘s.I really was a great fan of you untill 8 th of January 2015.You from the first hours of the regime changed .
You have disappointed the people utterly.Up to now you have not delivered what people really asked for.
You had a golden opprtunity to deliver but you lost it.
K.Anaga / October 21, 2017
It is not lack of intelligence buy lack of honesty and sincerity. We are in this state today due to Bribery and corruption. Ranil and Maithre came into power with a promise of punishing the corrupt and recovering the loot. But it appears from the word Go(8/1/15)
a red carpet and carpet roads were laid for the new corrupt to go on their limousines smoothly.
Jimsofty / October 21, 2017
The amazing capability Of Mr. Ranil wickramsinghe is trip to findland when the Country was burning with Central Bank robbery – not just one for several – scandle, you took the bank under you which made us believe you do not trust GALLEON ON RAVI who is not yet arrestd for money laundering – now, you neglect that and pretends there is no such central bank investigation and preach this crap economical platforms which are lies. IF you did not do anything for three years, next teo years won’t any be different.
Tamil Question / October 22, 2017
Mr PM, in your report, you mentioned that 80% of the revenue is now being used to pay the loans that SL has taken before. Ouch! Then you said that government of SL is hoping to increase the revenue so that by 2020, only 70% would be used to pay back the loans. Here you assume that you can generate more income from X,Y and Z. Good luck with your assumptions.
Whatever economic plans you wish to propose and more loans you take, at the end of the day you need dedicated staff in thousands to carry out your vision. Here I refer die hard staff that have the history of producing 10X with minimum maintenance. But according to the reports you are surrounded by showboats that would prefer to live in penthouses and roaming in luxury cars with freely provided gas. If I were an investor then I would run away from you to provide further loans.
So come back to the reality. You need dedicated staff. You are not going to get them until you fix the Tamil question. Otherwise you can only get “smart loans” from China to pay back the interests on the loans taken before. If you chose China loans then you would eventually lose the South to China and North to India. Why don’t you openly discuss this situation with your masses in South?
You mention the following: “How Sri Lanka lost its pace of development while other countries were progressing? This is a question that we should ask from ourselves. They embraced open economic policies focused on exports. Meanwhile, we looked inwards and adopted closed policies. Therefore we missed 30 years of valuable opportunities.”
Really? Is this the main reason SL lost its pace of development?
Sarrij / October 22, 2017
The PM and his sidekicks have no problems spending the country’s money, a very high proportion of which is sent by poor exploited Sri Lankan maids in the middle east, on frequent jaunts abroad at the slightest available opportunity, buying very expensive cars etc. The country is in a dire financial crisis. The Central Bank was taken to the cleaners by his appointed friends. The AG’s department and the Supreme Court is dysfunctional. The so called new constitution making process is a joke. The Universities, Medical schools and other institutes of learning are in a state of chaos.
The economic policy statement, in view of his performance is very irrelevant.
It’s time for a younger generation to manage the affairs of the country.
Native Vedda / October 22, 2017
A very good observation and summary of what had happened to the country since 1956. Pancha Maha Balavegaya is not working.
edwin rodrigo / October 22, 2017
Please, my fellow commentators, do not waste your time and effort commenting. Our PM may not be a good leader but he is a world class comedian. He can turn anything in to a joke.
As usual, he is does not mean anything in this article that someone must have written for him. So don’t worry. Just watch,
Economics of a country is a thing that no one can control to any appreciable degree. It is influenced by so many factors. Governmental intervention only makes thing worse. So if he just talks and leaves it alone it will be fine. The people in their natural way will collectively take corrections. Things will go on.
So My dear PM. We enjoy your jokes. Make them. But don’t take them seriously. We don’t.