Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has emphasized the need for disaster-resilient infrastructure in the face of climate-related calamities, such as the deluge Sri Lanka experienced a couple of weeks ago.
Samaraweera said this during his first official visit overseas, when he attended the Board of Governors’ meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) that was held in Jeju Island in the Republic of Korea, recently.
Having attended the opening session, the minister took part in the Governors’ round table discussion on financing Asia’s infrastructure priorities. During the discussion Samaraweera spoke about Sri Lanka’s economic growth, which has been driven by large infrastructure projects. He noted that developing physical infrastructure must be done along with administrative and legal frameworks to ensure the required policy or regulatory support to streamline and boost public and private investments.
He said the government’s plan is to make Sri Lanka an export-driven economic and financial hub of the Indian Ocean, while creating unprecedented opportunities in many sectors.
In order to achieve these objectives, the government has set out a high-level reform agenda in several key sectors of the economy, facilitating and empowering the private sector as the principle engine of growth, he said.
Samaraweera noted that formulation of a new trade and investment policy, tax reforms and various other measures to improve the investor climate are also being implemented.
On the sidelines of the AIIB conference, Samaraweera had opportunity to hold bilateral discussions with Korean Deputy Prime Minister and Strategy and Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.