ADB urges rapid reconstruction

By Gandhya Senanayake

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has urged Sri Lanka to move towards rapid reconstruction of the war devastated areas in the North and East in order for normalcy to be restored and for the people of those areas to experience the fruits of peace.

Speaking at a press briefing in Colombo the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Haruhiko Kuroda also noted that post war development in Sri Lanka should focus on inclusive and equitable growth.

Earlier this year, ADB approved a $150 million emergency assistance loan for Sri Lanka for the reconstruction of urgently-needed infrastructure and to restore essential services for people in the war-affected regions, he said

Speaking at the press briefing ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka, Richard Vokes said that the emergency assistance loan was given, so that development projects could be started promptly. They were able to secure the loan in matter of months and not the normal period of 12-18 months which would have delayed the reconstruction in several areas, he added. Moreover he stated that approximately 60% of the aid from the total of 450- 500 million was for the reconstruction of the war ravaged areas.

ADB President Kuroda further stated that because Sri Lanka had a small to medium size domestic economy, steps should be taken to reduce external shocks from outside factors during this development post war period and that diversifying the economy would be positive in this regard.

Finally he added that ADB would co-ordinate and cooperates with other aid giving institutions and United Nations agencies to assist Sri Lanka in its postwar development in the future as well.

Overall Kuroda stated that he was happy about the macro economic development of the country, but stressed medium term steps had to be taken to reduce the fiscal debt which was around 10% of the GDP. (Daily Mirror online)

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