December 06, 2019
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    PM predicts 7.5% economic growth over next few years Featured

    October 31, 2019

    Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday that Sri Lanka’s economy has demonstrated much resilience and the government has consolidated the economy through numerous development milestones to achieve a growth of 7.5 percent in the next few years.Speaking at a special media briefing held at Temple Trees, the Prime Minister detailed the salient features of the development goals achieved by the government in the spheres of construction, education, health, finance and housing achieved since 2015.

    “We faced immense challenge in stabilising the economy.When we took over, the country was not in a position to even borrow a loan. Today revenues have gone up, new laws have been implemented and investors are trickling in,” he said.“Despite the setback of the Easter Sunday attack, the economy bounced back within six months, demonstrating its resilience. The Chamber of Commerce has said that we are looking at an 8 percent growth but I’d say 7.5 percent.”
    When asked about prospects for a NDF victory at the presidential polls, Wickremesinghe said: “People wrote us off in 2014, but voted for us in 2015. We have been there before both in 2014 and 2015 and we will do it again.”“We went through a difficult time,” he said in his response to why the party’s voter strength had slipped after the victory in January 2015. “There were droughts and floods, fertilizers became an issue. This phase also affected those who did not get their nominations, personal votes mattered and many traded places.”
    “Today we are an upper middle income country but we need to keep the momentum to progress further,” he said.The Prime Minister also said that the development of the Palaly airport was a strategic measure. “While there are criticisms about Palaly airport one needs to keep in mind these airport weren’t done in a day. There was no landscaping when I saw it and so we decided to make changes. Palaly will connect flights to India and beyond. Palaly airport is rightly justified as it is a need, geographically.”
    The PM also spoke of the Batticaloa airport and said that a feasibility study was being undertaken to gauge how much the airport runway could be extended, so as to accommodate bigger aricraft. “We may look at using the airport during the day time during peak tourist seasons,” he said.Referring to the Hambantota port, he said that the government had recovered much of the expenses incurred but has found that there was a shortfall of Rs. 200 million. “When China Merchant (contracting firm) valued it, they found it to be Rs. 200 million less. I don’t know how that is but we were told it would take another 10 years to turn it around.”
    The Prime Minister also said that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement with the USA would be signed before the elections. “We will sign it before the elections. We are getting over USD 400 mn as a grant. Why do you then reject it?”

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