Ajith Nivard Cabraal
- Says govt. has been able to come up with some “exciting new trends”
- Pins hope on Colombo bourse to boost positive sentiment on economy
- Says SL in “comfortable position” as far as external debt is concerned despite rating downgrades
- Says investments into Port City, Hambantota industrial zone will boost economic growth
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Despite the doom and gloom forecasts by global rating agencies and the second wave of COVID-19 reaching community level, the government is optimistic that the best is within reach.
According to State Minister for Money, Capital Market, and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, the government has been successful in coming up with some “exciting new trends,” a departure from what was witnessed when the previous regime was in power.
“We think this is the beginning and not the end. With the blossoming out of new features that the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have in mind, I think we are in for some very exciting times ahead,” said the upbeat State Minister.
Speaking at the annual conference of Asia Securities held virtually, Cabraal justified his positivity by stating that despite the COVID-19 impact, the government has been able to generate a reasonable amount of interest, as well as some robustness within the markets.
He expressed that the ongoing developments are “very clearly felt” by a large number of people from across the world.
“I believe we are in the right place to take it forward and benefit by the new trends that will take place in the next few months and years,” reiterated Cabraal.
While Sri Lanka’s external debt remains one of the biggest concerns, the State Minister expressed a rather contrasting view where he said the country in fact is in a “comfortable position” where the debt is concerned.
Noting the economy can certainly be in a better place in this regard, Cabraal said that even with a fairly high degree of debt to GDP level, the government is confident it can steer through it without drastic implications to the economy.
On the area of economic growth, he expressed confidence in it picking up as well since the government has planned for investments to be pumped into the Port City, pharmaceutical sector in the Hambantota industrial zone, and the education sector. “We are confident that we will see quite a good growth happening. We are targeting at least 5.5 percent, which I think is quite achievable given the fact that our capacity is actually available for much higher growth than what we have planned,” said Cabraal.
Further, he stated that observed is a sense of optimism that has been generated among the Sri Lankan business community, which is of great value.
“I think the next year, we would see a large number of projects happening; a large number of new businesses flourishing, and we’re looking forward to supporting them as a government,” he said while stressing that the government has taken a firm decision to support businesses, the private sector, and creating an enabling environment. “You can be sure that going forward, Sri Lanka will be looking at exciting times, and we want you to be a close and very useful partner in that progress,” Cabraal concluded.