President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in conversation with EU ambassadors
- Emphasizes need for new investments instead of new loans
- Directs EU delegation’s attention to projects such as renewable energy using solar and wind
- Expresses interest in focusing on IT-based education system
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this week met EU ambassadors at the Presidential Secretariat for discussions centered on rebuilding the Sri Lankan economy after passing the COVID-19 crisis.
President Rajapaksa explained to the envoys of the European Union countries that the country was able to quickly deploy the public health system to address the health threat caused by the pandemic and the Public Health Inspectors with the support of the Police and Security Forces were able to engage in contact tracing accurately.
He noted that it was not only those who were infected but also the associates of the infected were quarantined and these measures helped Sri Lanka to successfully combat the virus.
The next concern before the country is reviving the economy, noted the President. The current growth rate is very low and the national debt is high, he observed.
He stressed that Sri Lanka will not be a closed economy though certain temporary controls have been placed on imports due to the crisis.
At the same time President expressed his interest in developing domestic industries while modernizing agriculture.
Presently, about 40 percent of the agricultural produce gets wasted due to lack of proper storage facilities.
Therefore, underscored the need to increase facilities to store food products including cold storage.
He emphasized that instead of new loans Sri Lanka needs new investments to move forward. President directed the EU delegation’s attention to projects such as renewable energy using solar and wind. He also expressed his interest in focusing on an IT-based education system so that the youth are more exposed to new technologies.
The number of students currently engaged in online learning platforms has increased. The UGC is also amending its Act to allow more universities to enter Sri Lanka.
The EU delegation responded positively to President Gotabaya and discussed at length a number of ways their respective countries may be able to engage with Sri Lanka in these areas.