Former Bank of Thailand Governor Veerathai Santiprabhob addresses a gathering of Advanced Level students at Royal College, Colombo
PIC BY PRADEEP DILRUCKSHANA
- Highlights Sri Lanka’s wealth in natural resources and educated talent pool, which is key to growth
- Emphasises significance of sticking to reform agenda
- Cites Thailand’s success in repaying IMF, due to adhering to reform plan
- Sees crisis as an opportunity for innovation; urges SL to capitalise on situation
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka will come out of the crisis situation it is faced with now, as it has the key requisites to steer the economy towards revival, according to former Bank of Thailand Governor Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob.
Santiprabhob, who is currently in Sri Lanka, stated that the island nation has come a long way since the economic crisis, which reached its peak around July, last year.
“I was here August, last year and saw how it (economic crisis) affected the livelihoods of the people. It is not the case now.
The government has taken many measures and adopted several reforms. I believe that if it continues to go ahead in implementing the reforms, Sri Lanka will come out of the situation it is in,” Santiprabhob said. He made these remarks in response to questions from Advanced Level students after delivering a lecture at Royal College. Organised by the Royal Thai Embassy, Santiprabhob’s lecture focused on ‘Cultivating New Generation for the (un)Sustainable World’.
He pointed out that the island nation is rich in natural resources and has an educated talent pool, both of which would help in its growth agenda, provided the right strategies are in place.
“It is the reform that it needs to focus on. The first few years of reforms are always difficult; this is the case for any country. It was for Thailand too. But strictly following the agenda will help recover faster,” he said.
He added that Thailand, which too was in a crisis situation akin to Sri Lanka at one point, repaid the International Monetary Fund (IMF) before the deadline, since its economy was progressing faster than expected, as the country strictly stuck to the reform plan.
He went on to note that with the crisis, there is always an opportunity—the opportunity to think anew and innovate—and the time is ideal for Sri Lanka to make use of the situation in its favour.
Further, Santiprabhob stressed it is important for the people of the country to not assume that the situation would continue to be bad, as it would not be.
“It may seem as if the grass is greener on the other side. But it isn’t always the case. Don’t assume the worst. The reality may not be so,” he said, referring to the brain drain Sri Lanka is experiencing following the economic crisis