Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the new regime could finally heave a sigh of relief, as it will be presenting its four-year economic plan to Parliament in a month’s time. “There are a number of strategies we will follow. Very soon, in another month, the government will present its four-year development plan.
At least we can breathe now, which we couldn’t do for some time in 2015 and 2016,” Wickremesinghe told Sri Lanka’s first National Summit on Foresight and Innovation, jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs.
He also said that a proposal will be placed before Parliament for a sustainable development council, for which a committee would be appointed to make sure massive development work planned ahead is carried out in a sustainable manner. In the backdrop of the theme of his address being ‘Reimagining Governance: An Opportunity for Sri Lanka’, Wickremesinghe said his government had to adopt a slow and steady approach in stabilizing the economy due to the inheritance of a debt-laden economy and severe global headwinds.
He noted that when the budget 2016 was conceptualized and presented to Parliament, it was done with the belief that the global economy would improve.
“That went the other way. But we are confident now that the global economy can sustain itself,” said the Premier, perhaps in an attempt to justify the ad-hoc policy changes the business environment witnessed this year. According to him, the only remaining concern is the outcome of the United Kingdom’s EU referendum for which a decision would be made on June 23rd. PIC BY PRADEEP PATHIRANA
Wickremesinghe noted that if the outcome of the event is positive—if Britain decides to remain an EU country— strategies are in place to capitalize on the development. Dismissing concerns, Wickremesinghe said: “All are used to the era of large projects, which were greatly promoted by the media. That is what the public is used to. This resulted in ministries competing with each other and we want to depart from that.” He went on to say that “must have” is a programme or project that will be accepted by not only the main political party of the government, but also by what is based on a consensus.