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President calls for bold investments from pvt. sector

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  • Urges private sector to live up to its ‘engine of growth’ reputation
  • Promises full govt. support to unleash private sector’s potential
  • Says all efforts must be guided by shared central vision
  • Ceylon Chamber chief calls for public-private shared vision for economic revival and social sustenance

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As Sri Lanka explores avenues for greater economic prosperity amid pressing challenges that stem from the global front, in addition to those locally inherited, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa called for an enabling private sector, one that is bold and has high-risk tolerance to take the country to the next level.


Reiterating that the government has embarked on a series of proactive measures to improve the country’s economic status, the President asserted that the private sector must expand its role in the economy. 


“It has often been pointed out that the private sector is the engine of growth. However, for the private sector to truly live up to this reputation, it must make bold investments that can potentially realize outstanding returns, instead of continually adopting conservative, low-risk strategies,” said 
President Rajapaksa.


The President made his comments while addressing the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2020 organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), held virtually yesterday.


Rajapaksa pledged the government would play its part to “unleash” the full potential of the private sector so that the interests of the people will be best served. 


“The Budget for 2021 contains a range of initiatives designed with this in mind,” he pointed out.


Rajapaksa highlighted that setting the platform for a robust economic revival requires both the public and private sector to work in partnership. 


“We must ensure that all our initiatives in various sectors are guided by a shared central vision and driven by clear objectives and actionable plans. All initiatives undertaken by both the public and private sector must contribute to uplifting our growth trajectory,” the President added.

Speaking on the side of the private sector, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Chairman Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya shared that an accelerated post-COVID recovery will be predicated on the effective execution of a public-private shared vision for economic revival and social sustenance. 


Further, he noted that a quantum acceleration of the economy would require a synchronisation of public and private sector inputs. 


“The application of policy levers will proxy to needle-moving government contributions to the acceleration of the economy. Infrastructure investments will remain foundational,” said Dr.  Wijayasuriya addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Summit. However, he noted that the prevailing fiscal challenges would call for the deployment of innovative and optimised financing mechanisms, including, but not limited to, public-private partnerships and specialised infrastructure financing instruments.


According to Wijayasuriya, the motivation and upscaling of private sector risk participation will also be a pivotal ingredient in enabling growth, and should be facilitated via appropriate partnership mechanisms.


In moving forward to meet the growth aspirations set out by the new regime, the CCC chief said the private sector is looking forward to the recommitment of government’s focus towards the recalibration of public sector expenditure, the empowerment and upskilling of the civil service, a concerted effort towards SOE reform, and public-private partnerships as modalities of capital mobilisation.


Meanwhile, calling for an improved collaborative effort between public and private sector players, State Minister of Money, Capital Markets & State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal stressed all economic stakeholders have a vital role to play in Sri Lanka’s recovery process.


Cabraal said the need of the hour is to develop the real sector i.e. to revive local industries, expand local businesses, and shift the focus away from imports 
whenever possible.


“This will contribute to not only the recovery of the economy but also strengthen its resilience to shocks like these,” he stressed.


Cabraal noted that while the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 appears to be a stumbling block to the economy’s rapid recovery, the government believes that with its containment, the economy will record a sharp rebound in the near future.


“We are facing a unique window of opportunity to shape the direction of our economy. These unique circumstances give us an opportunity for alternative thinking through retrospection and introspection,” 
he added. 

 

 

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