Reviving the Economy
GR Frowns on Foreign Borrowings
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa wants to keep out foreign borrowing and rebuild Sri Lanka’s economy through investment opportunities.
Optimistic that the economy which has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 could be revived on a solid basis, he has instructed Ministry Secretaries to seek out investment opportunities, instead of depending on foreign loans.
A press release from the Presidential Secretariat states, that the President is keen to attract more foreign investment to the Port City and the Industrial Zone in Hambantota.
At a meeting held on May 6th, of the Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication to map out the modalities in preparation for the resumption of civilian life from May 11, the President has pointed out that the Apparel and Tourism industries, two sectors vital to the economy, must be revived in step with the changing circumstances.
According to the release the President also wants indigenous medical practices used to treat the COVID-19 infected persons highlighted in coaxing tourists to return to Sri Lanka.
The President has asked the Task Force to consider promoting Sri Lanka as a medical tourism destination. He is of the view, says the release that new opportunities will be opening up to attract tourists from countries where COVID-19 has subsided.
As well he wants to promote Sri Lanka to tourists as a winter get-away, where they can stay in the country for a longer period. He also wants domestic tourism promoted to save the local industry from collapse.
The Task Force which has been given the responsibility of preparing a new economic model will be concentrating on a ‘Multi-pronged approach to uplift tourism industry, Plans to stop foreign exchange outflow for higher education, Domestic production of medicine to be expanded and Steps to attract more investments instead of loans.”
Given that a large number of Sri Lankan are studying outside the country resulting in a huge outflow of foreign exchange, the President has instructed that tertiary education be expanded in the country, to save the foreign exchange and to also attract foreign students to study here.
As there had been many new innovations produced locally to combat COVID-19 the President also wants those products marketed globally. The release adds that the Task Force has been requested to prepare the groundwork to produce medicinal drugs locally and in a bid to save foreign currency.
Meanwhile, Head of the Task Force Basil Rajapaksa “has warned that no loss of employment should take place both in the state and private sectors while the country is moving forward” the release states. He has stated that the Task Force has the capability and new vision of fulfilling the President’s objectives. Mr. Basil Rajapaksa has stated that the Task Force will provide support to new businesses and will also ‘extend the fullest cooperation to already existing large, medium and small scale enterprises.” He has also stated that while the private sector is expected to start work at 10 a.m. ´industrial and production activities” will be allowed to adjust operational times to suit their needs.
The release adds that amongst those who participated in the meeting were Secretary to the President, P B Jayasundera, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Ministry Secretaries and several leading businessman