Economic renaissance in the
That the country’s
economy has taken flight post war is certainly a happy augury
for its future development and progress that had taken a back
seat during the past three decades.All signs are that the
country is on the road to recovery with the easing of
restrictions and hassles that were part and parcel during the
years of the war.
Today we see almost all the road blocks and barriers being
dismantled and bans lifted on hitherto no go zones gradually
transforming Colombo to the bustling Commercial hub it had
always been.The end to the frequent bomb blasts and mayhem has
also lent an air of free mobility and enterprise.
These changes are only reflective of the overall economic
renaissance that is taking place inspiring investor confidence
and galvanising the corporate sector. The emerging picture can
only make all Sri Lankans look to the future with optimism.
The statement made by Treasury Secretary that Sri Lanka’s
economy has made a remarkable turnaround is indicative of this
positive trend. That the country’s economic outlook had improved
during the last quarter of 2009 - only four months after end of
the war - is a pointer that the country is on the road to
recovery and the people could before long expect the fruits of
According to Dr Jayasundera there has been a recovery in
exports, imports, domestic construction, tourism and
manufacturing activities, plantation and agriculture. “Economic
activity has dramatically improved towards the last quarter of
the year following the military victory in the North in May last
year and the global recovery,” he said.
It is here pertinent to note that President Mahinda Rajapaksa
kept the economy on a steady course during the war. Had he
allowed it to collapse under the weight of the astronomical war
expenditure it is doubtful if this recovery would have been so
It is now upto the Government to see this steadied ship
coasts along majestically without allowing it to ebb and flow in
the choppy seas of the global economy. All opportunities that
have presented itself should be seized. Already we see the
tourism sector stirring up from decades of enforced slumber and
beginning to roar. There has to be new initiatives and
innovations in order to make the maximum capital out of the
Dr Jayasundera also said the recovery has also helped the
Government enjoy improved revenue collection in the last three
months of 2009. This is an area which the Government should now
draw its full attention to. The three decade-long war denied a
huge chunk of revenue due to the Government coffers be it taxes
or other forms of state revenue due to the disturbed State in
At the height of the war the entire North and East was cut
off from the country losing for it not only its revenue sources
but also its resources that would have been a boon to the
country’s economy. Now that the war has ended all this revenue
and resources could be plugged into the larger economic veal.
The Government should set the process moving without delay.
It should also look at ways to maximize revenue through
widening the tax net and ensuring compliance by those who
already pay taxes. It should come down hard on black economy
which is denying the State its due revenue. Existing laws should
be amended to deal sternly with tax evaders using legal
Different strategies should now be employed in the face of a
buoyant economy especially in respect of promoting exports. More
incentives in this regard to the export trade should be
While the Government maps up its macro economic picture in
the transformed scenario it should also provide all incentives
to revive the indigenous sector which had been consigned to the
limbo during the war period.All incentives should be granted to
put the Small and Medium scale entrepreneur back on his feet.
Dr Jayasundera also noted that the economic recovery would be
greatly aided by the improved performance of the public sector.
This no doubt should engage the serious attention of the
Government if it is to revamp and energize the economy. For, it
is no secret that the public sector today carries a heavy load
of dead wood of no productive use. De-politicization of the
public sector would be the ideal remedy so that discipline could
be maintained for maximum output.
At the time the economy is set to take off all sectors should
lend their shoulder to the wheel to ensure a positive outcome.