A ‘People-Centric Economy’ to improve the living standards of the most vulnerable people will take priority when it comes to the new government's economic policies, Finance, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said yesterday.
He said the government would also have to address the dwindling of Foreign Direct Investment, drop of exports, depreciation of the rupee against the dollar, weakened industrial sector and the huge debt burden. These national calamities are a legacy left by the yahapalana government while COVID-19 has further aggravated the situation.
The state minister, who is a former governor of the Central Bank, assumed duties at the Finance Ministry last morning after religious observances and the chanting of ‘Seth Pirith’ by the Maha Sangha.
He told the media that the SLPP and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa were given a clear mandate by voters and it was now up to the government to deliver.
“The people will not take ‘no’ for an answer or failure as an excuse. Therefore, Cabinet ministers and State ministers will have to work with dedication and commitment to develop the country, raise the living standards of the people, increase family income and reduce the cost of living. To do that the entire system of governance, economic and finance policy, industrial policy, followed up to now has to be fully reviewed and changed. Only then will the President's vision of a ‘Saubagyaye Dekma' will be achieved, the state minister said.
He said his ministry would have to rebuild the confidence among investors to strengthen the capital market and the industrial sector, enhance the profit base of the state ventures and rebuild loss-making state ventures.
"The Finance Ministry will have to review the policy on finance companies and if necessary introduce new regulations to prevent their collapse and explore the possibility of rebuilding some finance companies where thousands of unsuspecting clients have deposited their hard earned savings," the state minister said.
He said the future of the industrial sector remained in high tech products and value addition to our domestic industry.
"Local products have to be of high quality on par with those in the global market. Only then can Sri Lankan products penetrate foreign markets. The Finance Ministry will create the environment necessary to achieve this goal by introducing tax reforms, monetary and banking regulations and financial back up,” the state minister said.
State Minister Shehan Semasinghe, Senior Presidential Advisor Lalith Weeratunga, Treasury Secretary S.R. Atygalle and several officials were present at the ceremony. By Sandun A. Jayasekera