Jan 04, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today unveiled the government's five-year economic development program, aimed at fast tracking development.
The Prime Minister launched the policy document entitled "Powerful Sri Lanka" ("Balagathu Sri Lanka") described as a Sustainable Development Economic Program to establish an economy providing opportunities to one and all in conjunction with the global community.
The plan was introduced in line with the program unveiled by President Maithripala Sirisena on building a Sustainable Development Era, where all parties will share its dividends.
Speaking on the unity government's development agenda at the end of the second year in office, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe explained that the program will deal with issues and plans of development and is aimed at enhancing the economic conditions of the people, generating one million jobs and expanding the medium class.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe stressing on the importance of increasing exports to facilitate job creation in the country said the government must address the imbalance in imports and exports as the state incurs a massive loss in revenue through imports. He urged all businesses to focus on an export based economy and help the government to develop Sri Lanka as an export-oriented economy.
The Premier said Sri Lanka being a small economy need to capitalize on the geographical location in the Indian Ocean which is fast growing in the region. The Prime Minister said the government is aiming to make Sri Lanka the center of communication for shipping and logistics and expand our markets through free trade agreements.
He explained that Sri Lanka market is limited and therefore needs to make trade agreements with large global markets such as India and China.
The Premier said Sri Lanka will get the GSP+ from the European Union and through ETCA with India and free trade agreements with China and Singapore the government hopes to expand into a four billion dollar market.
Talks have been held with Singapore, Japan and India for the development of the Trincomalee Harbor while a special program will be initiated to develop agriculture and industries in the North as a Post-War Economy, he said.
He revealed that two large separate zones will be created in the country after identifying Tourism, Business, Agriculture, and Fisheries sectors. One zone will be located in the south west where there are two airports and two harbors in the South West Corridor.
According to the Prime Minister based on the road system in the country a massive development zone will be created from Kandy to Moneragala and Wellawaya and the northwest including Kurunegala will be developed alongside the existence of the Central Expressway. Two more Industrial Zones will be created in Bingiriya and Kuliyapitiya and industrial zones will also be set up in Divulapitiya and Meerigama while a tourism sector will be created in Iranawila and Kalpitiya.
He said the Palaly airport in the northern district of Jaffna, will be developed as a regional airport, to serve not only Sri Lanka, but also South India.
The Premier commented that some will not be in a position to face the Local Government polls in the face of the government's development program and assured that there is no division in the government even though some are trying to create political instability.