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SL’s economy must be run just like the elections

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"We have to make Sri Lanka known to be the nation that beat terrorism and now, the economic tiger of Asia. Currently many are talking positive of Sri Lanka but this fan fare will last only for two year the most. Thereafter, another country will become a buzz nation in the world stage. We must make the best of it now".

Last week at the inaugural session of the first parliament after defeating the LTTE took place and it was great to see so many young faces in the system. Having served the country in the pivotal economic policy making body-NCED for two successive Presidents in the country and also chairing the premium export arm of Sri Lanka the EDB, I had the privilege of frequently visiting parliament for meetings but what I experienced last week was different. The enthusiasm, commaradie and youthful laughter of the young members of parliament sure gave me hope that Sri Lanka was poised for a 8-10% GDP growth in the years to come. All that was needed was for us to support the developmental agenda.

 

The challenge

Whilst being very optimistic, the reality is that the challenges we are up against are gigantic in nature and unless the private and public sector work in synergy, we will not be able to do justice to the hype that surrounds the country.

From the data that has been released by Central Bank in the month of January, imports have shot up by 70.1% to 1160.9 million dollars whilst exports has dipped by 3.9% to 472 million dollars which not very healthy. The trade gap has ballooned to 688.9 million dollars from the 191.5 million dollars the year before. What’s worrying is the declining Industrial exports by $16.9 million with textiles and garments dipping by 27.8% which indicates that urgent action required.

Election best Practices

The need of the hour for Sri Lanka is a robust and sharp development programme but on a strategic footing. The good news is that all the policy makers who took oaths last week to form the new government has publicly demonstrated the new competitive culture that is required to succeed.

Hence, all that is required is to ensure that an enabling environment exists so that together with the support of the private sector this same behaviour demonstrated at the elections can be extended to driving the economy. If this becomes a reality, I strongly feel Sri Lanka is not far away from being the ‘Miracle of Asia’. Let me capture the best practices we witnessed at the elections and why the economy needs to be run just like the elections so that we as a nation can be the new economic tiger of Asia.



 

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