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Government Gazette

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 representation.

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 inter-regional conflicts.

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 conditions.

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 transportation.

Another proposal forwarded by the BPA is the introduction of an agricultural banking system to uplift the regional farmer and agri-business.

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.

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