Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake addressed a cross section of the Sri Lankan business community at an exclusive forum organised by HSBC on the 2016 Budget highlights.
He outlined the proposed Budget with its underlying thought process and shared the government’s vision of growth and development for the country. Addressing the 350-strong audience, comprising of business leaders from corporates, mid-market enterprises and multinationals, which makes up the majority of the Sri Lankan business community, the minister invited the corporate sector to join the government in its endeavour to propel Sri Lanka towards economic growth.
“The government has opened up and given you the opportunity to grow with us. Now is the time for the private sector to make their contribution to the development of the country,” stated the minister. The speech was followed by a question and answer (Q&A) session joined by Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran.
A candid and constructive discussion that ensued covered a gamut of topics pertaining to the Budget and the economy of Sri Lanka. Simplifying the tax structure, digitalisation of the economy, promotion of ‘public-private sector partnerships’ to develop key areas of the economy, increasing foreign direct investments, changes to Exchange Control Act and the extended role of the government in driving private sector economic policies were some of the key points taken up for discussion.
The session paved the way for participants to raise questions and clarify doubts on specific areas of interest to them.
The purpose of the forum was to gain clarity and open a meaningful dialogue between the local business community and the policymakers at a time when making the right decisions based on factual knowledge is critical for the country.
As HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives Head of Corporate Banking Chamira Wijetilleke elaborated in his welcome speech, “The decisions we make today will have a lasting impact on the economy, the people and the destiny of this country.
So I would urge you to use this opportunity to clear any doubts, raise questions and make best use of this forum.” He further added, “For over 150 years, HSBC has always been linked to trade. Our purpose is to be where growth is, connecting businesses to opportunities, helping economies thrive. Sri Lanka has always been an important destination for HSBC. If you trace back our 123-year-old history with Sri Lanka, our commitment to the economic development and sustenance of this country is apparent.”