Lanka records highest economic growth in 30 years
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka has been able to record the highest
economic growth rate in 30 years in 2006, the first year since the
implementation of Mahinda Chinthana, while facing serious economic and
President Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that the 7.4 per cent
economic growth in 2006 was achieved as a result of proper planning and
efficient implementation of such plans.
He said this remarkable achievement would make 2006 a landmark year
in the history of the country as it could successfully face a host of
daunting challenges during that period.
President Rajapaksa who deviated from the usual practice of accepting
the Central Bank Annual Report from the Governor at the Ministry of
Finance yesterday visited the Central Bank at the invitation of Governor
Ajith Nivard Cabraal. The President also launched the new website of the
Central Bank of Sri Lanka.
The President said that the country should maintain at least an eight
per cent growth rate in the next five years and the Government’s 10 year
plan would enable the country to achieve that target.
“The main challenge before this country today is to find a solution
to the terrorist problem in the North and East which has been there for
about 30 years. At the same time we have to face challenges such as
increasing oil prices and natural disasters.”
He said the strategy of the Government last year had been to move
ahead with development activities despite the threat of terrorism.
“The progress and the achievements of our actions towards defending
the country is no secret. Likewise, the data in the Central Bank annual
report reveals the country’s economic achievements,” the President said.
He said the higher economic growth rate should be complemented by
reducing poverty levels.
“It is encouraging that the poverty level has reduced to about 20 per
cent of the population. According to the latest figures the country’s
per capita income has increased from US$ 1,197 in 2005 to US$ 1,355 in
2006,” President Rajapaksa said.
He said while shouldering the burden of military expenses the
Government has implemented several development projects in the fields of
power generation, road development, port and airport development.
“By implementing these projects we have laid the foundation for
sustainable economic growth which would not be limited to only one area
of the country. Our plans are to extend the benefits of economic growth
to all the areas of the country while eliminating economic disparities
among the regions.
Maga Neguma, Gama Neguma which includes 4,000 villages, the 300
factories programme and Moragahakanda are among the key projects which
can achieve this goal,” he said.
The President said he set up the National Economic Council early this
year to discuss and solve main economic issues faced by the country.
“This council meets every two weeks and we have already held eight
sessions. We have taken effective measures to control inflation though
this council. We expect the results of these measures would be evident
within the next two months,” the President said.