Students received Computer Tablets from the government. This photo shows, students in a school in suburban Colombo, examining the Tablets.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasised that the realisation has dawned upon us that rapid economic growth is only achievable through digital transformation. In today’s world, the 21st-century economy cannot compete effectively with outdated 20th-century bureaucratic systems. To stay competitive, Sri Lanka must embrace change and modernise bureaucratic processes. By doing so, the nation can significantly reduce the time taken for administrative procedures, providing much-needed support to the people.

With the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC), Sri Lanka has successfully launched a crucial aspect of the new economy. The challenges that have been faced have underscored the importance of transforming into a competitive and export-oriented economy. To achieve this, it is not only essential to restructure the economy but also to empower and facilitate the private sector, particularly in the realm of trade. Trade plays a pivotal role as the essence of economic growth. Through trade facilitation, Sri Lanka can bolster its prospects for growth and advancement. The service that has been launched today is a vital component, contributing to both the restructuring of the economy and enabling digital transformation, the President said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks while addressing the launch of key trade facilitation initiatives in Sri Lanka today (August 8) at the Hotel Shangri La, Colombo.

The efforts to streamline processes are just the beginning; the implementation of the new economic commission law will further expedite applications, be they for investments or trade, within specific timeframes. This transformation requires a comprehensive overhaul of regulations and perspectives, going beyond the establishment of a one-stop centre. Embracing change across the board is crucial to Sri Lanka’s success in today’s dynamic economic landscape.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further mentioned the importance of trade facilitation and digital transformation and said that it has become evident when considering the effectiveness of a one-stop centre. Without these essential elements, progress stagnates, hindering our restructuring efforts. Simultaneously, Sri Lanka is actively exploring new markets and has already signed free trade agreements.

The President further mentioned that an application to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) reflects the pursuit of vast opportunities in a significant market. However, gaining access to such markets hinges on trade facilitation and digital transformation. Engagements with India to upgrade trade arrangements highlight the advantages of trade facilitation. It has proven beneficial in dealing with major players like the European Union and American markets, enhancing the nation’s trade prospects. Trade facilitation and digital transformation are vital for propelling Sri Lanka into new markets, streamlining processes, and maximising economic opportunities on the global stage.