July 13, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government is determined to turn the country's economy from a consumer driven economy to a producer-driven economy, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development Dr. Harsha de Silva says.
Speaking at a seminar on the GSP+ tax concession organized by the United Youth Professionals Association at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute in Colombo today.
He said regaining the European Union's GSP+ tax concession was a team effort and a big win for Sri Lanka and added that it is now up to the exporters to "take this ball and run".
The Minister pointed out that 34 percent of GDP was from exports in 2000 but when this government assumed office in 2015, the exports were only 14 percent of the GDP.
"So where did the growth come from?" he asked pointing out that the so called growth recorded during that period came from constructions that were not needed and indebted the country. "It was never sustainable," he noted.
Into the future we must look at more technology-based industry, the Deputy Minister emphasized.
"We need to create entrepreneurs in this country," the Deputy Minister said that everyone looks for a job in the government office and get paid a lowly amount because they are not willing to take risks in fear of failing.
"If you don't fail you cannot succeed. If you don't take risks you are never going to success, so we have to change that culture," he told the youth professionals.
"If you don't realize and don't create a culture of entrepreneurship, if you don't create a culture of leadership, if you don't create a culture of risk-taking, we are never going to create a great country we are destined to become. This goes beyond GSP+ it goes to your DNA," Dr. de Silva said.