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Monday, 24 May 2010

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Business rankings need upgrading

World Bank report not realistic due to loopholes:

With greater political and macro-economical stability in the country, Sri Lanka needs to upgrade its doing business rankings to attract more investments. Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa said despite the greater political and macro-economical stability in the country, Sri Lanka’s doing business ranking is 105 according to the World Bank report.

This World Bank report is not realistic due to some loopholes in submitting data by various institutions, he said.

Investors before coming to Sri Lanka look at these figures. As such the Government has to look into this matter and create an enabling environment to attract new business ventures to create employment and promote growth in increasing income for people. Action should be taken to formulate new rules and regulations for the identified issues by the Government to upgrade the business ranking, he said.

He was speaking at a seminar on ‘Improving Doing Business Ranking of Sri Lanka’ at the Central Bank on Saturday.

Rajapaksa said this is the best time to discuss opportunities available to doing business and address the issues that hinder business activities because the conflict has come to an end and the world economy is recovering from its worst situation. Sri Lanka needs to leverage on these new strengths and will have to re-position itself in this new environment. Hence, public sector activity should be focused on providing an enabling environment to strengthen the role of the private sector in the economy.

Central Bank Assistant Governor Ananda Silva said the Doing Business Index is compiled by World Bank. It ranks countries, investigating regulations that enhance business activities and those that constrain it.

Doing Business is compiled covering regulations affecting 10 stages of the life of business which are , starting a business, dealing with construction permits, employing workers, registering a property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.

He said that a number of neighbouring countries are already enjoying higher ranking and Sri Lanka needs to improve competitiveness, productivity, efficiency and labour quality.

The Government’s aim in the next five years is to double the per capita income. Overall a balanced and holistic approach to economic management has been designed to ensure the foundation for a strong economy and its competitive position in the global economy.

Many growth areas have now been identified, and there is a need to increase investment. In order to achieve the target the country has flexibility to introduce measures not only to support growth but also to improve the quality of growth and its long-term sustainability.

The Central Bank too has taken several policy initiatives to strengthen the financial system including the areas of regulatory and supervisory framework.

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