22 August, 2018

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How To Transform Sri Lanka Into A Geo-Economic Center Of South Asia

By Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

My country Sri Lanka which has been ranked the highest in economic freedom in the region by the Heritage Foundation, which has been pioneering economic liberalization in South Asia. Yet today, in Sri Lanka we are also forging a fresh political initiative – a politics of convergence to consolidate democracy.

Text of the keynote address at the third South Asian Diaspora Convention, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe:

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Singapore, Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Distinguished delegates and Friends.

Let me thank you at the outset for inviting me to this, the third South Asia Diaspora Convention, hosted by the Institute of South Asian Studies in Singapore. This event underscores the strategic position to which Singapore has evolved in the last 51 years as a key intersection between the East and the West. That we South Asians are congregating for this event in a South-East Asian nation is testimony to Singapore’s vision and skill in hosting these events.

South Asian relations with this region go a long way back. The ancient historical chronicle, records that our people first came to Swarnabhumi 25 centuries ago. They were adventurers, sailors, traders, emissaries of Emperor Ashoka, astrologers, priests, and the like.

The best known is Kaundinya, an Indian Brahmin, who founded the kingdom of Funan. This kingdom was connected to the ancient Pallava Kingdom of South India. For centuries, the alliance between the Pallavas and the Sri Lankan Kingdoms dominated shipping in the Bay of Bengal. South Asia was the pinnacle of progress in the ancient world.

Today, with a population of 1.7 Billion and an impressive growth rate that the World Bank calls the highest in the world, South Asia is very much the place to be in. Supported by low oil prices and high domestic demand, growth rates are currently high in South Asia.

However there are limitations to domestic-based growth, especially for smaller South Asian economies.

South Asian Businesses need to respond to the new de-regulation sweeping global trade, taxation, financial management and business.

In order to sustain medium and long-term growth, South Asia Governments must focus on further opening the national economies and promoting foreign trade and investments. This requires a structured and consistent reform agenda, macro-economic stability, free trade, decreasing deficits, improving the ease of doing business and an increase in public infrastructure investment across the region from 3.5 % of GDP to 7.5 %.

My country Sri Lanka which has been ranked the highest in economic freedom in the region by the Heritage Foundation, which has been pioneering economic liberalization in South Asia. Yet today, in Sri Lanka we are also forging a fresh political initiative – a politics of convergence to consolidate democracy.

In 2015, the people of Sri Lanka voted twice for a national unity government that assured the country prosperity and stability, eschewing myopic political and economic policies that lacked long term focus. On January 8 th last year, the voters elected Maithripala Sirisena as President to execute this mandate. This was further strengthened in August after the Parliamentary elections when we formed a National Government consisting of the two main political parties. The national government, has resulted in political stability and a bi-partisan agreement to formulate consistent and stable economic policies. This, in turn, has set in motion long overdue smart and sustainable economic reforms to harness the country’s tremendous potential.

These include:
• Reducing the budget deficits from 5.4% of the GDP this year to 3.5% by 2020.
• Introducing a new Foreign Exchange Act – to remove restrictions on current accounts.
• Reforming the tax law to favour simplicity and cut red tape for business enterprises thereby offering a better environment for business.
• A new set of incentives for investments is being formulated in consultation with the IMF and the World Bank.
• The sale of non-strategic ventures such as The Colombo Hilton, Lanka Hospitals, the Hyatt Regency Hotel – amongst others – will herald investment opportunities. SriLankan Airlines with its diverse network of routes is a mature airline and is up for investment collaboration.
• With 13 years of compulsory education, Sri Lanka has scored high in the Human Development Index in the region for two decades. The regional average for youth literacy was 83% but Sri Lanka’s is over 98% as confirmed by World Bank.
• We recognize that poor infrastructure, obsolete policies and unfavorable business environments constrain the ability to do business across borders and act as a drag on competitiveness in South Asia.

In response, Sri Lanka has launched an ambitious program of physical infrastructure development to overhaul the sea, air, road transportations, the energy sector and telecommunications so as to form the backbone of the country. These efforts are intended to support government initiatives to develop Sri Lanka as a regional hub in finance, logistics and business.

Allow me to highlight our key sectors of interest.

Manufacturing and Service

The policies for the manufacturing and the service sectors will be based on Sri Lanka becoming a platform for comprehensive value addition and joining the Global Value Chain. We will focus on the industrial internet of things amongst new business models, innovations, skills development for the job market, the provision of industrial infrastructure and the promotion of private investments.

Digital Economy

Sri Lanka is ranked among the Top 50 Global Outsourcing destinations by AT Kearney, while Colombo is ranked among the Top 20 Emerging Cities by Global Services Magazine.
Our new policies seek to improve the network infrastructure the skills shortage and the digital divide across ICT services in terms of computer literacy so as to ensure that ICT4ALL is available in all parts of the country.

Tourism

Sri Lanka’s potential for Tourism has not been fully utilized. A new programme will include infrastructure for high value tourism and the further development of the hill country, the opening of the Eastern beaches and offshore projects such as yachting and cruises – stretching from the uninhabited small islands in the North to the historic Galle City in the South.

Infrastructure

The government has launched a large scale economic and infrastructure project – the Kandy – Colombo – Hambantota Corridor that will reshape the country’s urban landscape with two airports and two sea ports. This corridor will amalgamate five separate projects.

The Kandy Mega Development Project, 2) the Wayamba (North-Western) Industrial and Tourist Development Project, 3) the Western Megapolis, 4) the Southern Tourist and Industrial Project and 5) the Hambantota Economic Development Project – to be implemented over 15 years.

The US $ 40 Billion Western Megapolis project aims to develop the Western Province as a Megapolis with metropolitan areas on a global scale. The Western Megapolis which will have an estimated population of 8.5 million by 2025 will establish Colombo as a business and financial hub to attract foreign investors to set up operations in Sri Lanka. The Colombo Port will be modernized with up-to- date infrastructure to accommodate Triple E-Class mega ships.

The Katunayake International Airport will be further expanded. It will include a Logistics corridor, Industrial clusters, a Science and a Technology City and the Financial City Project involving the reclamation of 269 hectares of land from the sea, will also be in this area.

The proposed Financial City is ideal to fill the vacuum for a financial city along the trading route between the cities of Singapore and Dubai. The financial city will function as a special jurisdiction area with its own economic and commercial laws to facilitate operations of global multinational corporations and grow as a business and financial hub.

The US $ 10 Billion Hambantota Economic Project, located in southern Sri Lanka, will invite investments to build oil refineries, power generation plant and industrial zones. We have already started discussions with a number of Chinese Investors.

Other initiatives are focusing on providing logistics support through better road connectivity. Indeed, expressways connecting the Western and Southern Provinces of the country will play a pivotal role in cross-border connectivity linking Sri Lanka’s two principal seaports.

A third Port Development is planned for Trincomalee in the East Coast. The Sri Lanka Government has entered into agreements with Surbana Jurong Private Limited to prepare the master plan for Trincomalee based on shipping, manufacturing and tourism. The area of 175 km to the South of Trincomalee will also be developed as high-end tourist resorts.

Trade

We recognize that small domestic markets are insufficient to sustain growth – therefore a shift to greater export orientation is required to achieve a growth of 8%. Hence, our trade policies will focus on gaining access markets for Sri Lankan exports.

We have already made the application to the European Union to regain the GSP+ facility for tariff relief. This facility will give Sri Lanka competitive edge in accessing the single European Market.

We are hopeful of negotiating this agreement by 2017, which will be a tremendous boost for Sri Lankan manufacturing, services and agricultural products.

We are also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with China under the One Belt-One Road initiative. This is necessary in order to make a success of the Chinese investment in the Hambantota Economic Project and the proposed Financial City.

In addition, Sri Lanka’s long standing economic cooperation with Japan will help us to further modernize our economy. These include planning the Kandy Mega Development Project as well as the Science and Technology cooperation.

We are cognizant that the economic asymmetry between Sri Lanka and India is going to increase in the future as the latter emerges as a major global player in an increasingly multi-polar world.

The India-Sri Lanka FTA between the two countries will be further expanded and deepened to go beyond trading goods to cover trade in services, investments and technology cooperation. The proposed ETCA will also remove all barriers to trade. We expect the ETCA to be signed by the end of this year.

The complementary economic developments in South India and Sri Lanka will be enhanced by ETCA, which will provide an impetus to the existing synergies.

As you are aware, South India is home to six key ports in India – the Chennai port and Tuticorin Port in Tamil Nadu, the Visakhapatnam Port in Andra, the New Mangalore Port in Karnataka, the Cochin Port in Kerala.

A significant share of Sri Lankan exports enter into India through ports such as Chennai located in Southern India and a significant share of the cargo are transshipped to ports located in the Southern India. The ETCA will provide the opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the two-port system – paving the way for an inter-related and integrated port system between the two countries.

With the proximate location of industrial zones and logistic and financial services along this strategic maritime corridor, Sri Lanka and South India provides attractive investment opportunities for a range of activities in industry, information technology and tourism.

India’s five southern states – Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telegana have a population of 250 million people and a combined GDP of nearly US$ 450 billion. With the addition of Sri Lanka US$ 80 billion GDP this sub-region will have a US$ 500 billion economy. The ETCA has the potential to promote a rapid growth of the US$ 500 Billion sub regional economy.

Finally we are also negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Singapore. As you know Singapore has a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India.

On the one hand, Sri Lanka’s close proximity to the fast-growing South Indian states offers a strategic economic advantage to the country.

On the other, the sub-region (especially India) also stands to benefit immensely from Sri Lanka’s uniquely positioned geo-strategic advantage – its location at the crossroads of major shipping routes connecting South Asia, the Far East and the Pacific with Europe and the Americas.

Maximizing on these factors will transform Sri Lanka into a geo-economic center of South Asia, dynamically and synergically engaged with the rest of region.

By next year the Singapore-India (CEPA), the Indo-Lanka ETCA and the Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA will enable the southern sub region of South Asia and Singapore to establish a tripartite arrangement for trade and investments.

Such a bold agreement posses the potential to enhance economic cooperation between our three countries that will also have a positive impact on the Bay of Bengal trade. At the other end, Singapore too will expand its importance and capacity for business networking in the region.

It is a vision of convergence that is inextricably interwoven with the future of South Asia as a whole. It is up to us then to be imaginative and bold in providing the political leadership to maximize on the potentials and opportunities of such a convergence.

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Latest comments

  • 22
    2

    “”My country Sri Lanka which has been ranked the highest in economic freedom in the region by the Heritage Foundation, which has been pioneering economic liberalization in South Asia.””

    sounds like rice from the moon. 78% GDP external debt- US$$ 50 billion.

    Another put together private charity- in line with your lankan education??

    Or It’s the Begging Bowl Freedom and BBS.

    • 6
      5

      Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

      RE: How To Transform Sri Lanka Into A Geo-Economic Center Of South Asia

      “Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Singapore, Ambassador Gopinath Pillai, Chairman, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Distinguished delegates and Friends.”

      It is very hard to Transform Sri Lanka Into A Geo-Economic Center Of South Asia. There are several reasons, and they are given below.

      1. The National Average IQ of Sri Lanka is 79, whereas the National average IQ of Singapore is 108.

      National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

      The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

      http://www.photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

      Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.

      Rank
      ——– Country
      ———————– IQ
      ————-
      1 Singapore 108

      28 Sri Lanka 79

      2.) There is a good correlation between National IQ and GNP Per ca pita.

      IQ and the Wealth of Nations

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations

      3.) Sri Lanka has Para-Sinhala “Buddhists” ans Para-Tamil “Hindus” and para “Muslims”, who generally believe that stupidity is a virtue.

      So, by educating the above and fetting them to reason, will be primary to
      Transform Sri Lanka Into A Geo-Economic Center Of South Asia.

      It could be done, but needs a lot of work.

      Make sure every person you appoint is qualified with good IQ, good critical thinking skills and have good ethics, not the ethics the undesirable characters in the land.

      Wish you all the best in this endeavor.

      • 6
        2

        There is a lot of good sense made out by our friend Amarasiri here.

        BEFORE we set out to Transform Sri Lanka Into A Geo-Economic Center Of South Asia, some fundamental attitudinal changes MUST take place.

        If you mix up religious practices as part of day to day governance, if our top two give patronage to religious practices and so called religious leaders of whatever faith as part of governance, then the Prime Minister is heading for trouble.

        There is far too much socio-religious thinking accommodated into the daily running of government. The Priests call the shots. Law and order falls into second place.

        Even though the President goes around the world inviting ex- Sri Lankans to come back to their motherland they wont. This place is far too complicated to their liking.

        Before you start thinking BIG Mr Prime Minister, please prepare the necessary groundwork to make your plan work.

        Like for instance making sure law breakers (INCLUDING PARLIAMENTARIANS!) and those who disturb the peace are dealt with firmly and equally, whatever their position, denomination, colour, creed and race.

        How about that, for a start, Mr Prime Minister?

  • 5
    16

    Ranil’s plans sound promising. Let’s see how it translates into micro-economic deals for the masses, before the macro-economics are realized.

    No mention of farming and agriculture and traditional way-of-life as micro-economic deals, so the macro-economics can be realized. (Are we to be GMO’d?)

    Glad the Chinese-String-of-Pearls also factor in (the One Belt-One Road initiative).

    Guess “the two-port system – paving the way for an inter-related and integrated port system between the two countries” means no land-bridge. What a relief!

    Global Value Chain is actually Dravidian-Common Market. All were Dravidian names mentioned in Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA (Singaporean-Chinese names would have been preferable), otherwise that is quite the risk, considering secessionists,partitionists, devolutionists et al.

    No mention of Hela race unique to Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka only! Everything didn’t come from India, and so we have to be strongly Lankan nationalistic.

    • 6
      2

      Ramona Fernando

      What Hela Race? Race does not exist. Try and burn your copy of false history and learn some science instead

      https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/mar/01/racism-science-human-genomes-darwin

    • 6
      3

      For God’s sake Ramona Fernando think straight.

      How much blood has been let, how much of chaos caused, how much of economic and socio ruin caused, all in the name of Hela Race?

      Think, for God’s sake think!

    • 3
      0

      ramona therese fernando mindset: All were Dravidian names mentioned in Sri Lanka-Singapore FTA (Singaporean-Chinese names would have been preferable), otherwise that is quite the risk, considering secessionists,partitionists, devolutionists et al.

      The Dravidian named are Singaporeans. ramona’s preference of Chinese names shows her mindset.

      Not a single Lankan name in ramona therese fernando!

      • 0
        1

        K.Pillai ,

        80% of Singapore is Chinese. Therefore they should have had Chinese names. It’s very strange that they have a bunch of Tamils overseeing Lankan deals in an exclusive Tamil banking segment……not that there is anything wrong with Tamils….it’s just that the poor Sinhalese had a 30 year old terrorist war with Tamils. What a strange way to do business for the Motherland.

    • 3
      2

      ramona therese fernando

      “No mention of Hela race unique to Sri Lanka, and Sri Lanka only! Everything didn’t come from India, and so we have to be strongly Lankan nationalistic.”

      There is no Hela Race. You are being childish. It is all Myths, like Buddhas vising Lanka 3 times, hovering above the Natives, and Flying to the Top of “Samanala Kanda”, Butterfly Mountain, etc.

      There is only a Para Race. The Para-Sinhala, Para-Tamils, Para- Muslims, Other Paras from Para-Lands AND the Native Veddah Race.

      Mitochondrial DNA history of Sri Lankan ethnic people: their relations within the island and with the Indian subcontinental populations

      Journal of Human Genetics (2014) 59, 28–36; doi:10.1038/jhg.2013.112; published online 7 November 2013

      Lanka Ranaweera1,3, Supannee Kaewsutthi1,3, Aung Win Tun1, Hathaichanoke Boonyarit1, Samerchai Poolsuwan2 and Patcharee Lertrit1

      http://www.nature.com/jhg/journal/v59/n1/full/jhg2013112a.html

      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.

      • 2
        0

        366 days 24 hours a day Pook of lanka from I_slam humanity.

        So ISIS is getting the jitters along with the enlarged EU.
        Amera the mulla tribe performer in the east of Lanka go teach the Bedouin.

        After all Bada Udin gave you admission to university of peradeniya (low standard british copy) with low score therefore your faulty towers IQ.

      • 0
        1

        Amarasiri,

        What about Ranil taking about Chennai Tamil being the father of Cambodia? He’s supposed to talk about Sri Lanka, and how the Sinhalese spread Theravada Buddhism to the whole of Indo-China.

        Who were in Sri Lankan before Vijaya, hey? (and Tamils came from Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan). Hela people are mentioned in all chronicles.

  • 7
    0

    Only when you eliminate corruption like Singapore with severe jail terms after nearly two years in office our thieves go to hospital not jail?

    • 2
      1

      ….or get postings in other top positions if they are friends of the PM..

    • 0
      1

      How? Is it like the reappointment of Arjun Mahendran? Or take “legal” actions through FCID against a selected few in the name of “justice”? :p

  • 6
    2

    There is one thing missing in this impressive list Mr Prime Minister. It is the promise of genuinely good governance. That means the strengthening of Institutions such as the Police and the Judiciary and adopting a policy of zero tolerance towards parliamentarians interfering with such Institutions.

    Unless and until you have those WELL ESTABLISHED, and until you have earned everyone’s confidence, this grand plan of yours will only be a pipe dream.

    By the way, what happened to that Deputy Minister who tried to hang himself in a school recently? Still in his job I presume.

    Better learn the basic lessons which Lee Kuan Yew taught Singapore first.

  • 4
    5

    Just to fool people.

    What is the track record since the yahapalanaya began.

    Central bank scandal, cost of living increased to general public but super luxury cars were imported to ministers.

    How much stolen money is recovered by FCID or Ravi Karunanayake or Mangala ? Ministers and bureaucrats are still busy plundering the country.

    How can one develop the country when VVIPs are stealing and bankrupting the country.

    did not change much in the country.

    All become just talk.

  • 7
    5

    Mahendran, who had to make an undignified exit as the country`s 13th Governor of Central Bank due to his alleged involvement in a Treasury Bond scandal, has been appointed by Wickremesinghe as the `Head of the Sri Lanka Five Year Development Plan` and is currently part of Wickremesinghe`s official delegation to Singapore.Ranil Mahendran

    Ranil Wickramsinghe is fooling who ?

  • 10
    6

    “India’s five southern states – Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telegana have a population of 250 million people and a combined GDP of nearly US$ 450 billion. With the addition of Sri Lanka US$ 80 billion GDP this sub-region will have a US$ 500 billion economy. The ETCA has the potential to promote a rapid growth of the US$ 500 Billion sub regional economy.”

    Ranil sorry to say; the above statement clearly shows you speak from a position of weakness. Sri Lanka is a country not a Province or “State” of India. Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are not independent individual countries, their $450 Billion economy is fuelled to a large extent by the expatriate work force domiciled in the Middle East. These four states of India have miserably failed to provide employment for their own citizens. My dear friend if you are not aware of, let me give you one simple example; Sultanate of Oman . The total population of Oman is 3,300,000 of which 40% represents expatriates. That is around 1,320,000. Of this expatriate population 70% is represented by Malayalis or citizens of Indian state of Kerala. That is a staggering number; Sultanate of Oman alone sustains 924,000 Malayalis. Practically, the economy of this Middle Eastern country has to rely on Malayalis. You may find these data in any public domain or in the UN data bases. Without any economic or cooperation pacts with Sultanate of Oman , the Malayalis have managed to achieve this. I will let you and Malik to figure out the volume of remittances (Revenue for Kerala) that these Malayalis make for a year only from one country. (by the way there are about 25,000 Sri Lankans in Oman which you and your predecessors have failed to feed , provide shelter and other basic needs) .Kerala, Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka have failed to provide employment or feed their population but you Ranil talk about a miracle in these neighboring southern Indian states. The expatriate population in the Middle Eastern countries includes large number of Doctors, Engineers, Teachers, Computer technicians, Accountants, Bankers. Entire health system in these countries is managed largely by the Doctors from these four Indian Southern states. No wonder GMOA and other professional organizations oppose your attempts to sign ECTA with India.
    You have tried to hoodwink the people with the help of this Dog and Pony show in Singapore. What are you trying to defuse, is it the pressure from the remnants of Prabhakaran Inc? If it is not for the mismanagement of economy and wide-spread corruption that took hold of my country after 1953, Sri Lanka would have been an economy of approximately $600 Billion. (Not puny 80 Billion)You and predecessors (except Hon. D.S. Senanayake) ruined our country and that is why we are in this dilemma. Your Concocted economic plans will make us the begging bowl of the world. I hope you will never succeed in this highly deceptive propaganda.

    • 2
      6

      Ranbandu, that was brilliant!

    • 2
      4

      Grand analysis!

      Indians are going to screw us up and this man is falling for it eyes wide open.
      We must develop our country independently of these trade agreements.

    • 6
      0

      ” their $450 Billion economy is fuelled to a large extent by the expatriate work force domiciled in the Middle East. “

      ‘If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.’

      When even the westerner does not understand India how can `hora oru` sinhalya understand but write cock and bull. you only heard of tea with froth from Kerala the commie state living of ME remittances.

      There are few major industries in Kerala, but the per capita GDP is higher than the national average. Remittances from Keralites working abroad, mainly in the Middle East, makes up a large share in Kerala’s Gross Domestic Product.

      Tamil Nadu’s net state domestic product is the second largest in India. It ranks third in foreign direct investment (FDI) approvals (cumulative 1991–2002) of Rs.225,826 million ($5,000 million), next only to Maharashtra (Rs.366,024 million ($8,100 million)) and Delhi (Rs.303,038 million ($6,700 million). The State’s investment constitutes 9.12% of the total FDI in the country.[29] According to the 2001 Census, Tamil Nadu has the highest level of urbanisation (43.86%) in India, which accounts for 6% of India’s total population and 9.6% of the urban population.
      Tamil Nadu has most number of engineering Institutions in India. Chennai is referred as the Gateway of South India. Chennai is the second leading Software exporter in India. Companies such as Cognizant, Covansys, Xansa, Verizon, iSoft, Invensys, Schneider Electric and many others are Chennai based companies in India. Infosys has set up India’s largest software development centre to house 25,000 software professionals at an estimated investment of Rs 12.50 billion (Rs 12.5 billion) in Chennai.[30] Coimbatore is growing as a preferred IT destination in India and ranks among the top 7 IT exporters in the country. Chennai has become the most preferred BPO hub in India and South Asia. Chennai is sometimes referred to as the Health Capital of India or the Banking Capital of India, having attracted investments from International corporations and the World Bank and it is called as Detroit of Asia.
      Tamil Nadu has a network of about 110 industrial parks/estates that offer developed plots with supporting infrastructure.[31][32] Also, the Government is promoting other industrial parks like Rubber Park, Apparel Parks, Floriculture Park, TICEL Park for Biotechnology,[33] Siruseri IT Park, Agro Export Zones among others.
      The heavy engineering manufacturing companies are centred around the suburbs of Chennai. Chennai boasts presence of global car manufacturing giants like Ford, Daimler, Hyundai, BMW, Mitsubishi, Komatsu, Yamaha, Nissan and Renault as well as home grown companies like MRF, JK Tyre, TI Cycles of India, Ashok Leyland TVS and Mahindra and Mahindra. Chennai is also home to one of the Indian Institutes of Technology, IIT Madras. The Koyambedu Bus Stand (Asia’s largest bus stand) operated by CMDA is the first bus stand in India to get (The Global Positioning System) which will use sensors to track vehicles on the move.Kalpakkam nuclear power plant, Neyveli Lignite Corporation, and the Narimanam natural gas plants provide sources of fuel and energy for the nation. 55% of electricity from wind power produced in India from wind mills comes from Tamil Nadu. The Kalpakkam Mini Reactor(Kamini) is the only U-233fueled operating reactor in the world.
      Coimbatore, also known as the Manchester of South India, is one of the fast developing cities in India and the second largest city in Tamil Nadu. It is the largest city in the Kongu region, which contributes to more than 50% of the state’s GDP. Now, most of the Indian Software companies have started their development centres in Coimbatore and it is already among the leading exporters in the field.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_South_India

      Mark Twain put it well .. “it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to talk and remove all doubt.”

    • 1
      0

      Ranbandu: Sri Lanka is a country not a Province or “State” of India. Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu are not independent individual countries, their $450 Billion economy is fuelled to a large extent by the expatriate work force domiciled in the Middle East

      Thanks for pointing out the irrelevancy of Ranil plucking Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu off the Indian map. A red herring?

  • 3
    2

    Very well said Ranil. Congratulations.
    However, your people are starving and
    have nothing to eat. VAT is high while
    you all go for duty free bullet proof
    vehicle. Give us your lunch and dinners
    first. We will pay but the prices that
    are prevailing is unaffordable. You
    can have your five course meals.

  • 3
    1

    Perfect job for Ranil is to become an economic anchor under a good leader who can deliver without just talking and wasting everyone’s lives. He has missed that job under MR. I am not sure he can be that next time around.

  • 1
    0

    The current government lacks people with a proven track record to implement any
    development plan. Unless they rope in genuine Sri Lankan entrepreneurs of the calibre of the Amaleans and the Omars , this project will remain a day dream . Then again, will the aforementioned gentlemen risk their reputations being associated with our very honourable politicians ??

  • 1
    4

    Team
    =====
    With what team are you planning to implement this? The current lot of MPs, You must be dreaming!
    Mr prime minister, Look into the business sector and get great managers to your team, Not your school mates.
    Reduce Achcharu ministries. come up with a small cabinet with intelligent ministers.
    Reduce the cost of government. Stop political appointments, Select candidates by merits.
    Create a council of genuinely talented people advice government, not lobbyists

    Poor logistics, infrastructure
    ===============================
    Transport expensive, High tax on import of utility vehicles like Vans, buses
    Poor road network.
    Ancient railway system.
    Poor public Transport
    Cost of basic food, things are way cheaper in UK than Sri Lanka, I mean everything from TV to clothing to chicken
    Terrible Waste management

    Give route permits to anyone who can import buses, Promote small bus companies instead of individual owners.
    Make buses/ Lorries and Vans tax free.
    Come up with an accelerated plan to improve Roads and railway.
    Create a separate financing for Road and rail network development, Bonds, Lottery, Foreign partnerships.
    Involve our blue chips.
    Separate the railway track management and the train running.
    Again separate companies to run trains, (UK: Virgin, Chiltern)

    Electricity most expensive in the region
    Higher cost of construction

    Promote small scale solar generation to come out from the energy mafia, Give land for small solar wind generate companies.
    Encourage domestic investment of solar panels and buy from them.
    Create big LPG power stations for future demand.
    BOI/BOT with foreign partners.
    Tax exemptions/breaks.
    Long term, split power generation and selling, Promote competition via an energy exchange.

    Create couple of big farms (Dairy too)using private sector to produce high yields at lower cost, Get technology from countries like Israel

    Bureaucracy
    ===========
    The public service is geared not to let anything happen. Somehow they will come up with something to stop you.
    Expensive and laborious to start up, run and wind up businesses
    Complex cooperate tax structures.
    Inefficient judiciary

    Improve the rule of law. – This will solve thousand problems, Tackle white collar crime.
    Create separate commercial courts, arbitration boards to solve trade disputes.
    Simplify business registration process, (In UK you can create a plc in 30 minutes)
    Simplify the Tax.
    Simplify export procedure, Fast screening and clearing.
    Simplify import procedure, Fast screening and clearing.

    Foremost, Be careful with trade agreements, Most of the time they are not for our benefit, They are for their benefit.

  • 6
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    Your uncle JRJ’s “Market Economy” plan created more than ONE MILLION SLAVES working all over world. The slave trade is the brain child of JRJ and Inc. You were an active partner of that Inc. These are our brothers, sisters , mothers and fathers and they have been sent to slavery. What are you planning now; make our children to beg on the streets or turn our country into a brothel house. You or any politician in your government do not have courage or knowledge to make our country prosperous again. You are neither a strategist nor a tactician. Just another opportunist planning to survive as a political leader.

  • 3
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    JRJ uncle of Ranil wanted to make this another singapore. In his endeavour he has Left a SL with a massive debt, socialy disrupted and with a public service that is putrid. Lets not talk about the corrupt political class he has left behind. Now Ranil wishes to make SL an economic centre. RW before you talk about these grandiose visions of yours please clean up the country.Police is corrupt to the core, Police commission is not good enough to monitor a toilet, JSC does not even acknowledge a letter, Professional services are disintegrating even your cabinet ministers have to go to singapore for medical treatment , lawyers don’t talk about them and so are the politicians. All right thinking professionals have migrate away from the country and unfortunately are serving the foreigners. Even Muralidaran has decided to coach Australia. This is the legacy of JRJ and RW was a participant of this exercise.
    Before you talk about the vission of yours clean up the stables. Minimise political interference and corruption, enlist a administrative set up even from the diaspora, enlist the retired expatriates to enliven a infrastructure that is virtually collapsed , enforce the rule of law , see that the children get a decent education etc. Once you stablise go for any vision. If not this country would collapse. The damage your uncle JRJ did is bad enough we do not want the wijewardena extended family to be cursed by every Sri Lankan.

    • 1
      3

      vas

      “JRJ uncle of Ranil wanted to make this another singapore. In his endeavour he has Left a SL with a massive debt, socialy disrupted and with a public service that is putrid. Lets not talk about the corrupt political class he has left behind. Now Ranil wishes to make SL an economic centre. RW before you talk about these grandiose visions of yours please clean up the country.Police is corrupt to the core, Police commission is not good enough to monitor a toilet,..”

      What they keep forgetting is that the Average IQ of Sri Lanka is 79 while that of Singapore is 108.

      About 50 of the Singaporean population will qualify to do a science degree, while only 2.1% of the Sri Lankan population will qualify.

      IQ and the Wealth of Nations

      The book includes the authors’ calculation of average IQ scores for 60 countries, based on their analysis of published reports. It reports their observation that national IQ correlates with gross domestic product per capita at 0.82, and with the rate of economic growth from 1950–1990 at 0.64.

      The authors believe that average IQ differences between nations are due to both genetic and environmental factors. They also believe that low GDP can cause low IQ, just as low IQ can cause low GDP. (See Positive feedback).

      The authors write that it is the ethical responsibility of rich, high-IQ nations to assist poor, low-IQ nations financially, as it is the responsibility of rich citizens to assist the poor.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IQ_and_the_Wealth_of_Nations

      • 2
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        Amarasiri,
        The low IQ you portray is because you have excluded the SLankan expatriates.Take them into account and our IQ will be more than Singapores. Forget all that who made Singapore. It was the lankans who left this country. Even with all that who wants to be Singaporean except for the illiterate politicians. Singaporeans like to be Lankans. Potential is there but SL has no leaders

  • 4
    8

    Dravidian race feels they are the blueprint of cultural civilization throughout India, in Sri Lanka and South East Asia. They are definitely the blueprint of India, and somewhat in Sri Lanka.

    But to try and tell Cambodians that they founding father was a Tamil from Chennai?

    Cambodians are going to get riled up and say that they have been Buddhists for over a million years.

    They’d say that one upon a time, a statue of the Hindu god Vishnu, was brought from Chennai to Cambodia.

    Then one of their own Pure Cambodian people took on a Hindu-like status. He gained temporary delusional powers (away from Buddhist precepts), and built places like Angkor Wat.

    It was a fleeting moment of madness, in an otherwise egalitarian Buddhistic state.

    After the temporary foray into Hinduism, Cambodians reverted to being Buddhists. Hindu caste-systems were not palatable to their higher evolved mindsets.

    Ranil thus has killed any FTA-Singapore golden-goose, in trying to connect Chennai with Cambodia.

    He should not have attempted to claim relationship to South East Asia in historical and racial ways.

    South East Asians are going to shake us off like when the shook off Ranil’s uncle Jayawardena, when he tried to join ASEAN. That FTA-Singapore deal is going to fall flat too soon.

    • 4
      1

      Mama Sinhalam thinks Ramona is always right. She is Hela, no. Must be right. Maybe she is as pretty as
      Helen of Troy. She being Aryan must be white skinned, not like the Sri Lankan cricketers, all black like the Dravidians. Maybe she can launch a few thousand more CTB buses and solve our transport problems, what with a dreamy name like Ramona and looking like Helen. Demils have tall stories like karate being taken from Chennai to China. We must cook up stories too. We are good at that. What with the lion fornicating with our Kuveni and producing our lovely race. Mama Sinhalam is proud of us. We gave civilisation to the world. It is recorded in a very ancient book called the Mahavamsa. We had a new King called Rajapakse but the West got rid of him. Otherwise we would have gone back to our ancient roots. Mama Sinhalam is proud of us, as Ramona is. We killed only one and a half Tamils and see how the world is trying to get at us.

      • 0
        3

        huh?…..nice thought…..(I wish).

        Well, some of it might be true……Tamil Prince Kauninya, went to Cambodia …..Tamil Prince Parameswara went to Malaysia… Brahmins come from a long line of Hindoo eugenic-practices.

        Now the South East Asian people and Hela race people, being of higher evolved Buddhistic states(some turned Muslims), shared their genes with each other. In Hindu society, for every one pyramid builder, is a mass of humans crows pecking at garbage on the streets.

        Amongst Hindu society you’d find 1 person having an IQ of 180, and another 100,000 having IQ’s of 69. SE-Asian people all have an IQ of around 100. Hence the success of ASEAN.

        The key to Sri Lanka’s success is Buddhism! Yes, and that involves providing decent buses for the masses, and not becoming drunk on ancient scripts and providing luxury cars to ministers.

        It’s very easy live like the pharaohs of Egypt. But for human society to coalesce and integrate with each other in egalitarian form, now that takes a higher evolved intellect.

        Stealing of Buddhist bonds to coalesce with Hindu bonds(via Singapore)…….Aren’t we burning with shame!

        • 0
          2

          Mama Sinhalam,

          On the other hand, Sinhalese spread their egalitarian Theravada Buddhism far and wide.

  • 2
    3

    Boru talk, no work.

    Soma

  • 4
    6

    Ranil you are on the correct track and you are our nations last hope to make this island truly “A wonder of Asia”. You could end up being the “Mahathir Mohamed”of Sri Lanka as your integrity is beyond doubt and you have the country at heart.
    Carry on PM and ignore the critics and take the bold steps and continue with your good work. The nation now needs You and the nation will be behind you.Your Royal College upbringing will help you to forge ahead as at Royal they believe that the best man will get the job irrespective of race or religion.
    The best of luck to you

    • 5
      3

      “”You could end up being the “Mahathir Mohamed”of Sri Lanka as your integrity is beyond doubt and you have the country at heart.””

      Here, here! NO politician is EVER…EVER well-meaning. IF YOU believe that, then you are very naive. Money, power, and ulterior motives are the ONLY things that drive a politician to get out of bed each morning.

      Ranil the Tao that leaves it to the gods…but there is no god except a stupid school tie for school drop outs.

  • 1
    0

    Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies is a brilliant progressive civil servant. Just listen to his interviews.

    Singaporeans continue to be very polite about the status of Sri Lanka and will not say anything undemocratic, but they must be laughing at our government.

    • 4
      0

      With over 3200 billion China’s Xi refused Ranil $ 1 billion
      With over $500 billion of China’s 3200 placed with broker Singapore Ranil and Mangala are trying to lure the Tamils to `give` like they did with the `boat people tiger` tamils of UK for vote. Ha ha.

      Singapore has a Public debt: 105.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
      Singapore: GDP (official exchange rate): $292.7 billion (2015 est.)
      Singapore : Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: – $262 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
      Singapore. population- Chinese 74.1% of the resident population- Ceylon Tamils less than 5%.

      China: Public debt: 16.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
      China : Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $3.217 trillion (31 December 2015 est.)
      China: GDP (official exchange rate): $10.98 trillion (2015 est.)

      If they give they go to jail. so the boat people call like calling the vietnamese.

  • 1
    0

    Most of the comments here look like they are from the “retired gentry” of Sri Lanka who have been living on their grand-parent’s wealth and have basically done nothing for Sri Lanka except complain.

    Myself, being part of the currently active business community of this country are fully supportive of Mr Wickremasinghe’s vision and will support it in every way we can…

  • 4
    0

    Ranil got nothing from Xi as much as Modi nuclear got a kick from Xi.
    A large portion of Chinese sovereign fund is available via Singapore so Ranil wants to impress with his lies.

    Just before Arjun left his post he was inviting former CB staff to take up positions and the retired persons were overjoyed.(his last article on CT)
    Then in came the present governor a former CB staff. Now Ranil plays the non-racist non anti-Tamil because of his Muslim business connections.

  • 1
    1

    The official Poverty Line is Rs.4123/= per month, for basic needs of living, per person, in June 2016.

    http://statistics.gov.lk/poverty/monthly_poverty/index.htm

    Most Sri Lankans live below the poverty line.
    Maybe, Ranil does not know.

    • 0
      0

      He knows it pretty well but is like Mahinda massaging the results-
      Rosy, Arjun et al is proof enough.
      He is the new alibaba getting new flock.

      “Most Sri Lankans live below the poverty line.”
      The more the merrier for politicians to buy the vote with 1/2 bath parcel and 1/2 kassipu.

  • 0
    0

    hon.PM RW,
    if we take all the present srilankan political leaders i cannot think of anyone to reach your standard in respect of a vision, understanding of the economic, social, political and multicultural situation. i have been observing your behaviour for a long time and found you have the potential to develop as a statesman.try to study about mahathir mohamed and the former singapoor leader- take only their positive policies and adjust them to the SL situation-do not bother about their passion for one party rule. singapoor is a little too much. take the malasian example. anyway there are short- comings because of the bhumi putra concept which wont’ suit us.get rid of mahindha supporters who hinder progress.appoint only professionals to key positions.do not go by ethnic consideration. promote reconciliation by taking concrete steps to get rid of the grievances of minorities.
    -DAYAL

  • 1
    0

    Transforming Sri Lanka into a geo-economic centre need not remain a dream.

    On 08 January 2015 Lankans mandated the government to address the prevalence of corruption, nepotism and the culture of impunity. Lankans accept that corruption will take time to bridle but nepotism, impunity, rule of law and order can be addressed without effort. The new government is not doing that.

    Indications are that the government continues to pamper the MPs with perks (another form of bribes) to get them to direct the pee outside. International community can easily see through.

    In early 60s Singapore had aspiration to become an economic hub and the then Ceylon was one of their role models. But our politicians buggered the country by creating the language divide. Is this mindset on the way out?

  • 0
    1

    Read that the whole stock of UNP-Ranil W… address of New theories of gambling vision of Political and Economic of future an Island,.
    I have to say rational reserve of real cause of the economic cycle has been dodge by UNP visionless leader blindly following in Singhoporean model of Secret Rebate and deferred rebate of the Path of Capitalism.

    All in all the UNP proposed economic proposals by certain random samples are out of range of mutual benefit to our nations economic developments.

    1 What is sources of the national Capital Formation are comes first.

    2 And an investment of rate of substitutions of the originated capital is range of indeterminateness; the very reasons are quite impossible for that without revitalization of Agriculture and local Industries base which that cannot be shifted to the rationalized ongoing economy into new era.

    UNP-Ranil.W… has lost his eye of Three factors;

    1 Rate of Growth of GDP, National Economy.

    2 The Rate of Exchange of National Currency of Rupees.

    3 Rate of Interest by CB

    If UNP is not going to address all these an issues of Three In One as ,the Rate of Return of National Economic development will having total deficiency of that will be badly effects whole path and model of growth of Sri lanka.

    The UNP proposed model and Path against sustsnibility and sustain to be recovered national economic sovereignty will NOT leads to an investment and Trade in an Island.
    It is ugly state of neo-liberalism .

    Back to 2002 to 2004 UNP label smug with US stuck to the tiger economics in Asia but ever there was a corny capitalism by current USA policies.
    The policies of proposed UNP not created wealth of nations but end of day that decline development and growth; this is no doubt concentration of wealth into the hands of few a Singhoporean and other US monopolies .

    In fact leads small minority and the expropriation of mass of people in the society by UNP set of leaders that including many national capitalist class of bourgeoisies in Sri lanka will disappear.

    What will happen UNP-Ranil W… policies USA and other monopolies companies are still in our early stage of capitalist development would become system of swindling and cheating entire population of
    Sri Lankan.

    Ranil W.. talk of FTA CEPA and ECTA and other trading agreements with other countries will not boost at once an economy. We want to that acknowledge such move by absolutely terms of politics of UNPs.

    We are not an opposed Free Trade and Barrier Free exchange of Commodities with any country, nation and people in Globe.
    We are working for the narrow gap between and Freedom and Necessity, which every sphere of life. That is major role and part play by democracy in board sense of politics . But UNP trade and investment policies towards the widen masses and social capital.

    Between the rich and Poor is also social problem. It is dire poverty and many are starving. Neo com capitalism of that UNP historically responsibility for the immiseration of our people, leaders of ‘Comprised government’ of UNP Ranil.W… CBK and MS is incapable of finding a solution to acute problems in Sri lanka.

    That is urgent task of day in our development and democracy agenda.
    Indeed UNP economic agenda is different, however pre-emptive talk and address to justifiable neo-com Liberalism as an act of on behalf
    self-defence Of UNP that promoted US back crudest form of economic unilateralism of hegemonic in South Asian region.

    By UNP leader want economic tyranny in new form political-economic crudestlism.
    Such economy in Sri lanka that destroy country, nation having NO RULES to RELY upon except US govern by War Rules.

    What Marx said…” Its established a monopoly in certain sphere and thereby required state interference. it reproduces a New financial aristocracy, a new variety of parasites in the shape of promoters. Speculators and simply nominal directors; a whole system of swindling and cheating by means of corporation promoters, stock issuances and stock speculations….” (Capital vol. 111 part V chapter 27.)

    In fact is decay of Neo-con Capitalism system promoter by UNP Ranil W…..!

  • 1
    0

    Mah country, tis of thee, sweet land o’ liberty
    Of thee I sing

    COME ON Ramona Therese, join in:

    LET THE parliament flood
    LET THE duty free permits come in
    LET THE gmoa go on strike

    GOD SAVE THE KING

  • 0
    0

    “How To Transform Sri Lanka Into A Geo-Economic Center Of South Asia”

    No transformation will take place until you do the labour reforms.

    http://reports.weforum.org/global-competitiveness-report-2015-2016/competitiveness-rankings/

    • 0
      0

      in the index i have given above,go to labour efficiency and see our ranking.

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