March 19, 2019

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    Govt geared to change direction of economy

    February 04, 2019

    The government has taken up the challenge of changing the direction of the major economic indicators of the country, Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister for Finance and Media told the 60th AGM of the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka recently.He said despite all the setbacks, the basics of the economy was doing well in the past two years. Inflation has come down from a high 8.8 % in October 2017 to 1% in November 2018. Even though the trade deficit has widened, exports have slightly picked up and the trade deficit has reduced

    .Meanwhile the people should come to grips with the real economic situation in the country which has happen over a period of time.“Unless we correct this and give primacy to exports we will really have a problem in maintaining our living standards,” he said. The Minister said the government was up to it and has taken up the challenge of changing the direction the economy. He said this year the country would be paying the largest debt in its history which is 5.9 billion in foreign currency.

    Wickramaratne said the Government revenue which stood as 27% of the GDP in 1988, by 2014 had plunged to 11.5 % and any country which plunged below 15% has a big issue in it. This is because government revenue is needed to maintain the basics of defence the judicial system, infrastructure, basic education, health etc. The government is trying to correct this very peculiar situation, he said.

    Exports as a percentage of GDP which was at a high in the eighties and in 2000, gradually began to dip from 33% to 13.6 % by 2015/16, and was still struggling in 2017. The Minister said that there is a slight upward movement at the end of 2018. The minister assured that the country has never defaulted on its debt and will never default until they were in charge. He said they made one of the biggest debt payments in January and has made all arrangements to meet all the country’s debt obligations.

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