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Investments starting to pay off now - Dr Amunugama

Dr Sarath Amunugama

The recent floods has not only brought adverse impacts, but also advantages, a Senior Minister said. “The dams were full and the saving to the country on this will be Rs two billion with the increase in hydro power energy and Sri Lanka can cut down oil imports, International Monetary Cooperation Senior Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama told a meeting hosted by the Council for Business with Britain yesterday.

He said there is a 10 percent excess rice production from last year that is sufficient to fill the 10 percent rice reduction of the harvest this year due to floods.

“There are three elements Sri Lanka should look into when going for a double digit growth. The first is the secure region for business which Sri Lanka has been able to prove as one of the most safe countries in the region with improved security measures.

Good infrastructure comes next and new harbours, airports and a sound road network, are in the agenda. “The large investments in the infrastructure sector has started to pay off. It is now time for the private sector to take off the improvement in investments. In years to come we will have all the building blocks in place as far as infrastructure is concerned,” Dr. Amunugama said.

A World Bank study says that if the Sri Lankan railway system could connect the hill country with Colombo, it will alone add one percent to GDP growth. There are so many similar areas in which we can invest in, he said.

Getting the macro economic situation right is where country should consider next. A primary objective at macro economic level is to keep our savings higher than the inflation rate. The inflation rate is five percent currently which was at twenty five percent two years ago.

“Currently we are getting large amount of foreign exchange as expatriate earnings on our foreign account. We have consistently reduced the fiscal deficit and this year we will be confining it to 7.5 percent and next year we will reduce it to five percent,” he said.

“New developments in service oriented areas such as IT, tourism, banking and financial sectors for which we are equipped with man power. Compared to other competing countries, we are ahead of man power. Many growing markets can get the financial services from countries such as Sri Lanka,” he said.

 

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