BPA urges bottom-up approach to regional development
The Business for Peace Alliance (BPA), a network of regional business
chambers throughout Sri Lanka committed to promoting regional
empowerment and fostering peaceful co-existence for national unity, has
urged the Government to adopt a bottom-up approach in devising remedial
measures to address the existing regional disparities.
The BPA points out that there are grave regional economic and
development issues that call for immediate action by the Government.
The BPA urges the Government to adopt a more bottom-up approach
rather than a Colombo-centric approach in development planning in order
to foster sustainable regional empowerment.
The BPA strongly advocates that the top-down nature of policy
formulation does not adequately reflect the opinions and the needs of
the regional business leaders. The BPA requests that the regional
business players be consulted to ensure inclusivity and equal
The BPA points out that while investment is necessary for regional
advancement in order to attract investment and create employment
opportunities, such investments should be equally distributed to avert
further marginalisation of backward regions which may lead to
It is also important that the dividends of economic development are
extended to the conflict-affected areas as the populations in these
regions are struggling to survive under deteriorated economic and social
BPA proposes that special incentives such as tax holidays and tax
exemptions be given to investors willing to invest in conflict affected
areas and underdeveloped areas.
The relocation of the proposed Industrial Zone in Jaffna outside of
the High Security Zone is vital for attracting investment. The
introduction of a special insurance scheme for investors in the North
and the East to increase investment in the war-torn areas is another
submission made by the BPA.
The provision of electricity at concessionary rates for
start-up/pioneering industries in the North and East which utilise
locally available raw materials has been proposed by the BPA.
The development of a highway from Medawachchiya to Jaffna and the
reintroduction of the ferry service from Thalaimannar to India are among
other proposals addressing infrastructural issues aimed at improving
Another proposal forwarded by the BPA is the introduction of an
agricultural banking system to uplift the regional farmer and
Also proposed is the development of the Hambantota District as an
Industrial City to facilitate the implementation of proposed large-scale
development projects such as the International Airport, International
Port, the oil refinery, as well as railways and highways in an organised
manner to reap the optimal benefits of development.