By Yohan Perera
Warning that Sri Lanka’s economic growth is bound to go down to -3.5 percent, former Prime Minister and UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday urged the government to formulate a long term plan to revive the economy battered by Covid-19 pandemic.
“I request the government to make an accurate assessment of the Sri Lankan economy and to formulate a long term plan to revive it,” Mr Wickremesinghe said in a special statement.
“Several industries which could play a leading role in reviving the economy seemed to be going down. Many countries which had identified such industries have allocated large amounts of funds to revive them. Many countries have allocated 10 percent of GDP to revive such industries. Sri Lanka seemed to be allocating only two percent of GDP for the same. It will take years for the economy to become stable if proper focus is not made on industries which had the potential to support the overall economic growth,” Mr Wickremesinghe said.
He said those who depend on daily revenue including three-wheeler drivers, labourers and artistes have been affected by the economic downturn. “It is also estimated that jobs in the private sector had become uncertain and nearly 500,000 jobs will be lost,” he said. Mr. Wickremesinghe said printing money worth Rs.200 billion and releasing it to the market will result in more problems where the economy is concerned.
“It is estimated that global economic growth will go down to -3 percent as a result of the current pandemic situation. Sri Lanka’s economic growth is expected to go down to -3.5 percent while the local apparel industry will go down by 60 percent. Sri Lanka’s foreign remittance is expected to go down by 20 percent. In addition, the retail industry and local production will also be affected with import restrictions. This is because retail trade depend largely on imports while local production industries import their raw materials,” Mr. Wickremesinghe also said.