ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s new administration had to defend the wicket soon after coming to power and strengthen state finance to be able to repay debt, but now stability has been restored allowing economic activities to proceed, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.
“We are now starting to collect runs,” Wickremesinghe said employing a cricket metaphor.
There were unpaid bills to contractors, SriLankan Airlines was making losses with debt raising Hambantota Port and Mattala Airport and national debt repayments were high compared to revenues, and he said.
Wickremesinghe was opening an exhibition Enterprise Sri Lanka in Moneragala.
He said the people will not have to bear the burden of repaying Hambantota port loans. An investor had been found.
A series of industrial parks will be set up creating jobs. An industrial park was coming up in Kaluthara followed by another two in Bingiriya and Mawathagama.
The areas of the total export promotions zones set up so far was 3,000 acres. It would be increased to 15,000.
Three tourist zones were being set up in Galle.
The GSP+ trade benefits had been restored and a fishing export ban lifted helping boost incomes of fishermen. Exports hit a new historic high in 2017, he said.
A number of expressways were being built including to Kandy.
Japan was helping in re-developing Kandy city. Colombo was being made into a modern metropolis.
Heart patients were now getting free stents and drugs were cheaper he said. A paramedic service was saving lives of people and was being expanded.
In Moneragala 7.5 billion rupees were being spent on developing irrigation facilities. Under Grama Shakthi and Moragahakanda project people were benefiting, Wickramasinghe said.
Under the Gam Peraliya program rural infrastructure was being developed. (Colombo/Aug31/2018)