July 10, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Prime Minister says the foundation has been laid to achieve Sri Lanka's goal to become a fully developed nation by the year 2050.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said while it is a challenging task, Sri Lanka must proceed with patience and vigilance amid a wide range of opinions of different stakeholders to achieve its goal.
He expressed these views participating in a Sri Lanka-Singapore Business Forum organized jointly by the Singapore Trade and Industry Ministry and the Singapore Business Forum today at Jen Tanglin Hotel in Singapore on the sidelines of the World Cities Summit taking place along with the International Water Week and Cleanenviro Summit.
A Q&A session was also organized at the forum with the Premier on the Sri Lanka-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and the Singapore's Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations S Eswaran also participated in the session.
At the forum, Premier stressed that Sri Lanka has well realized the significance of its geographical location in the Indian Ocean and the long term goal is to develop Sri Lanka as an economic, financial and social hub. Sri Lanka is committed to create an export-oriented social order using the latest technology, he emphasized.
Pointing out that Sri Lanka's policy is to cooperate with all countries in the world, the Premier said Sri Lanka is working hard to strengthen relations with Asian countries such as India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Korea, Japan and China.
He also talked about the economic, industrial and tourist zones expected to be built locally and pointed out investments that could be made targeting the 9 million people living around the proposed Expressway connecting Colombo, Kandy and Hambantota.
In response to a question on plans for entrepreneurship development in Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister responded saying that a culture of entrepreneurship is being created for the youth community in the country.
A program should be prepared to free the banks and financial institutions from traditional methods and create opportunity to strengthen entrepreneurship, Mr. Wickremesinghe pointed out.
On a question regarding the Colombo Port City Project, the Prime Minister said that the port city planned for the development of real estate has been transformed by the present government into an international financial hub. There is also a plan to compete with other financial cities in the Indian Ocean.
The Prime Minister also stated that a cabinet paper will be submitted within the next two months to establish a Finance Commission for the Port City Financial City Project.