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* Sri Lanka to receive GSP+ concession next week - President
Fri, Jan 6, 2017, 09:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 06, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena says he has received information that the country will regain the European Union's Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) trade concession that was suspended during the tenure of the previous government next week, marking a significant turning point in the industry and export sector of the country.

Speaking at ceremony to open the newly built bridge in Halloluwa, Dodanwala, Kandy, today (06), the President said that during the last two years the present government was able to build friendship with all the countries in the world, eliminating many hindrances which halted the forward drive of the country.

The President emphasized the need for the country to be debt free when mega development projects are launched.

"When we talk about our development works with a great pride, we also should pay our attention regarding the severe debt burden on the country," he said adding that his government is not ready in any way to launch mega-scale development projects obtaining loans, aiming popularity while ruining the future of the country.

"We should take into the consideration about the tragedies faced by various countries in the world due to their severe debt burden," the President added.

Expressing his views regarding the false propaganda carried out by some sections of the society regarding the Hambantota Port and the industrial zone, the President said that he is not ready to give the land rights of this country to any country in the world.

The President further stated though new industries and investments are needed for the country, the lands for them will be given according to the laws and regulations of the constitution of Sri Lanka. Though some groups say that the people are removed from their villages and destroy the temples of historical values, the government has never let any improper action like that.

"Our agreements with the countries, businessmen, investors and international organizations are very open. The current government is honestly committed to the development of the country", the President said.

"Though some groups issue statements saying that the governments will be changed, nobody canít put down the current government. Nobody has any space to change the government before a government will be elected in an election which will be held in 2020", he emphasized.

The 105-meter long bridge has been built at a cost of Rs. 374 million as a solution for the severe traffic congestion experienced in the central hill capital of Kandy which has been declared as a world heritage site and is frequented by many local as well as foreign tourists.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Highways Lakshman Kiriella said that although plans were drawn up for the building of the bridge about 50 years ago during the 1960-65 SLFP regime, no successive government was able to begin its work.

The construction of the bridge commenced under the present Government on January 20th in 2015, under the leadership of the Minister.

Minister Kiriella pointed out that for the first time in the country's history this government has entrusted the building of roads to local engineers. In the past all contracts of the country were entrusted to foreign contractors, he said.

Asgiri Maha Nayaka Most Ven. Varakagoda Sri Gnanarathne Thero, Ministers Lakshman Kiriella and Abdul Haleem, Chief Minister of the Central Province Sarath Ekanayake and the British High Commissioner with foreign representatives participated in this occasion.


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