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Government on track to strengthen economy - CB Governor

27 July 2016 09:44 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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From Left: National Policies and Economic Affairs Ministry Secretary M. I. M. Rafeek, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Prime Ministerial Advisor R. Paskaralingam, Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry International Affairs Vice Minister Hirofumi Katase and Japanese Ambassador Kenichi Suganuma
Pic by Nisal Baduge

Sri Lanka’s new Central Bank Governor stressed the time is now ripe to make up for lost time, with the government demonstrating commitment towards strengthening the country’s macro-economic fundamentals through greater discipline in fiscal and project management while liberalizing trade. 
“The time is now ripe to make up for lost time... The government is committed to strengthening macroeconomic fundamentals. 

The highest priority has been attached to fiscal consolidation,” Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said. His remarks came just a day after Economist and Institute of Policy Studies Chairman Professor Razeen Sally hammered the coalition government for derailing the economy with no credible reform plan and squandering the best growth opportunity in decades.


However, Dr. Coomaraswamy, speaking at the National Development Cooperation and Economic Policy Dialogue between Sri Lanka and Japan yesterday, expressed confidence that the government’s program would strengthen state finances, foreign reserves and contain
 inflationary pressures. 


When he was appointed as the Central Bank Governor last month, Dr. Coomaraswamy had said that he would remain independent, and any criticism of the government’s economic policies would be forwarded through the proper 
official channels.
Dr. Coomaraswamy, who had been an advisor to the International Trade and Strategic Development Ministry prior to being appointed as the Governor, yesterday added that Sri Lanka will most likely have access to a tariff free market of over 3 billion by this time next year.


 “I would just like to make one point. Great concerted efforts are being made to elaborate the trade-investment and trade nexus by signing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements,” he said.
He noted that an enabling environment has now been created to cultivate bilateral economic relations, which will lead to the signing of economic partnership agreements with India and Singapore, a free trade agreement (FTA) with China, and a reinvigoration of the Pakistan FTA.


Furthermore he said that the government has applied to regain the Generalized System of Preferences Plus from the European Union, and is preparing to launch a 5-year plan to increase trade and investment from the United States.
However, exporters recently said that there are too many ministers and government agencies involved in trade development, which is 
creating confusion.


Dr. Coomaraswamy also noted that there is now a positive shift in public infrastructure 
project management.


“There has been a slight shift in the way the government is approaching infrastructure development programmes. There are a series of major development programmes around the country, and the idea is to develop master 
plans,” he said.


He noted that countries with expertise in such projects have been given the responsibility of creating the master plans, the fruits of which can be enjoyed by Sri Lankan citizens in the 
future. (CW)

 

 

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