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Sri Lanka plans development bank to boost industries

20 Jun 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • President Wickremesinghe says establishment will help facilitate funding to improve competitiveness of industries
  • Assures new bank aims to maintain low interest rates

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka is currently exploring the establishment of a development bank, a move that would facilitate the required funding to help improve the competitive capabilities of industries, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

He assured the new bank aims to maintain low interest rates.

In 1960, Sri Lanka saw the establishment of DFCC Bank, followed by the founding of NDB Bank in 1980. Post-privatisation, both banks have evolved into major commercial entities. 

“Notably, without these banks, President Premadasa’s success with 200 garment industries would not have been possible. Hence, there is a strong need to initiate a new bank,” he said.

Wickremesinghe made these comments while addressing the inauguration of International Industry Expo 2024.

To advance this initiative, among others, Wickremesinghe shared that an economic commission would be instituted. 

Furthermore, plans are underway to introduce a new entity called Enterprise Sri Lanka, to support the small and medium-scale entrepreneurs. This institutional framework is designed to assist all industrialists across the country. 

“We aim to progress steadily along this path over the next five to 10 years,” he said, noting that the government’s policy aims to explore opportunities for production in countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar in the future. 

“Concurrently, we are actively collaborating with India on these endeavours. I have already discussed this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and anticipate further discussions with the Indian Foreign Minister tomorrow,” Wickremesinghe said. 

The cooperation with India will focus on solar and wind power as well as acquiring green hydrogen. Sri Lanka aims to leverage these advantages, potentially even in the North Sea. 

“As the first step, Adani Company has initiated its presence in Sri Lanka. Embracing this new direction is imperative,” he said.

Wickremesinghe went on to stress that it is observed that some individuals in the country resort to legal action for every issue, primarily benefiting lawyers. 

“It’s imperative to understand that litigation alone cannot foster national development; instead, we must adhere to our national policies. 

I have instructed the Industries Minister to initiate discussions and formulate a new programme to advance industrial growth. We intend to present the Economic Transformation Law to Parliament to reinforce these initiatives,” he said.