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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

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‘Lanka to pass US$ 4,000 per capita mark in two years’

Sri Lanka per capita income would reach the US $ 4,000 mark in two years, said Governor, Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal.

Speaking at the ‘Moving Towards the US $ 4K Era and Beyond’ conducted by the Finance House Association (FHA), he said that it was targeted to reach this mark in 2016. “However, due to prudent economic management, healthy political and other positive factors, the county would be able pass the US $ 4,000 per capita mark in two years.”

He said that currently there were 106 countries that enjoy the US $ 4,000 per capita income and when Sri Lanka reaches this mark, the economy should be diversified with new themes and new ‘hub’ concepts to take the country beyond that mark.

He said that when the topic of $ 1,000 value economy for Sri Lanka was first discussed, several people said it was only a dream. “However, one cannot blame them since the country was at war, the financial system had cracks and there were also several other negative factors.” The Governor however said that they took up this challenge and by 2016, this target too could be achieved.

He said that the ‘Doing Business Index’ also had placed Sri Lanka in a commendable position from the 102nd slot and our aim was to bring this up to the 30th position within five years.

He however said that Sri Lanka needed more capital and to meet these objective, regulations were relaxed to allow foreign borrowing which would result in expanding of the capital base.

Chairman, FHA, Kithsiri Wanigasekera, said that at a time when the country was gearing up to a US $ 4K per capita income era and US $ 100 billion economy and beyond, Sri Lanka should not get caught in the middle income trap.

“According to statistics, non bank financial institutions contribute less than 10 % to the volume of the finance industry, but the actual contribution was not reflected in this figure.

They serve vast numbers of small time clients whose accommodation sizes wererelatively small when compared to banks.

These customers were not ready to go to a bank or were not accepted by a bank. We hold hands of these customers, help them to grow and make them bankable customers,” he added.

“General perception of a finance Co was that it helps in lease and hire purchase of vehicles.

This accounts to 72% of the business.”

Held under the ambitious theme of “Moving towards the US$ 4k Era and Beyond”, this year’s convention focused on the importance of growth momentum in propelling Sri Lanka to the upper middle income country category achieving per capita income of US$ 4,000 by 2016, and the significance of the opportunities and challenges that await the non-bank finance industry in its role towards realising this objective which was the forus of the “Road Map for 2013” presented by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

The event was attended by over 300 guests, Chairman, Directors and CEOs of financial institutions in the country as well as a large gathering of senior management personnel in the industry.

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