Sri Lanka represented at Korea economic forum:
Govt’s policy helped minimize external shocks - ICC chairman
Asian countries must work together to turn the challenges of the
global economic crisis into an opportunity by expanding intra regional
cooperation, trade and the influence of financial markets should make
the continent the economic power house of the 21st century, said
International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICC)Chairman Tissa
He was making a presentation at the first Asia Economic Community
Forum at the Songdo Convensi, Incheon, Korea.
The Forum from November 11-13 will deal with issues and pending
questions in political, economic, social and cultural areas under the
theme “Creating One Asia Together,” Jayaweera said.
Many economists are surprised that Sri Lanka was not affected too
adversely by the global financial shock. Is it good luck or did Sri
Lanka act right?
The Government policy of giving pride of place to the domestic
economy and prudent policies pursued by the Central Bank have helped
minimize external shocks on the domestic market. Stable interest rates
and exchange rates to protect and strengthen the domestic economy,
disciplined lending by banks, curtailment of foreign borrowings by
banks, increasing the risk weight for housing loans, opening Treasury
Bills and Bond markets to foreign investors and investing our external
reserves with highly rated international banks were some of the measures
that helped Sri Lanka to mitigate domestic turmoil, he said.
The prudential measures have yielded 1.8 percent growth in GDP on a
year-on-year basis in 1H 2009. Agriculture grew at 3.7 percent, Industry
at 2.4 percent and Services at 1.1 percent. GDP growth forecast for 2009
is 3.5 percent with a significant decline in the current account deficit
and improvement in balance of payments and forex reserves. Western
countries continue to be the main destination for exports while Asian
countries dominate imports.
Reforms and restoration of peace are contributing to a stronger
business environment, he said.
Sri Lanka is the region’s leading reformer of business regulation
according to Doing Business 2009 South Asia Review. Consulting giant T
Kearney Global which identifies leading outsourcing locations globally
has ranked Sri Lanka at 16 in 2009 compared to 29 in 2008. Global
Investment Promotion Benchmarking 2009 published by the World Bank
Advisory Service has ranked the Board of Investment (BOI) Sri Lanka as
the best in South Asia for investment promotion.