To unleash the Northern Economy by a joint initiative of the private and public sector was launched in Jaffna themed The Future
Minds Industrial Exhibition" which will have over 200 stalls by the private sector will be staged from the 27th – 29th December at
The Jaffna Central College and Vembaddi Girls Schools Jaffna. Major General Chandrsiri the Security Force Commander of Jaffna Said that the objective of the Exhibition was to develop partnerships between the North and South of Sri Lanka not only from an Economic development perspective but from a culture and unity aspect so that the People of Jaffna will begin to enjoy the same facilities that the south of the country enjoy.
The Industrial and educational exhibition is been organized by the Security Forces of Jaffna and the Secretariat For Co-ordinating the Peace Process with Mobitel being the principal sponsor of the event who will provide broad band facility to the people of jaffna so that will facilitate un interrupted internet access to the future minds of Jaffna. Research reveals that the average education levels of the students in Jaffna is one of the highest in the country while the per capita income also is very high which provides many business opportunities that the private sector must exploit and the response we have currently got is a reflection of the support of the private sector in economic development in the North and East said Rohantha Athukorala The Director conomics of the Government Peace Secretariat.
The recent research reveals that the Northern Province contributes only 3% to the national GDP of the country. With the liberation of the Northern Province which is in progress now, this geographical area has the potential to quadruple in the near future. The logic for the economy quadrupling in the Northern Province is based on the experience we saw during the period between 2002 and 2004 where the GDP grew increased by 12.6%. In fact by the end of 2005 the economy grew to by 14%. This growth was fuelled by the agricultural and fishing sectors that expanded the economy of the Northern Province by 32%. Many privates sector companies including companies like Haley’s Agro, D Samson, AMW, Coca-Cola, Dialog Telecom, Abans, Peoples Bank, took part at the launch in Palalay with companies like Munchee and Elephant House also coming in as sponsors of the event.
Jaffna currently produces 11500 metric tones of red onion, five percent of national fish production and Milk, around two percent of the Egg requirements of the country, 1300 metric tones of Chili and 17.5% of the tobacco out put. The areas of focus for future development can be Paddy and potatoes as well IT and Vocational skill due to the high educational standards. The Exhibition will help private sector companies develop links with the local suppliers as well the Derana North Star competition co sponsored by Munchee will provide an opportunity for the local talent to be displayed. Given that unemployment is around 13% in Northern Province, such initiaves can drive down the unemployment rate and also involve the female community in the economic expansion in the Northern Province.
This in turn can help arrest the falling social indicators like low birth rate of children from a current 25.7% which is way below the national average of 18%. On the other hand families with underweight babies which is at 46.2% in the North East has to be reduced to the national average of 29.4% within the 3 year time period.
Whilst the military advancement has taken place for the liberalization of the Northern Province, we need to have a parallel project so that development and military force is used to bring peace into Sri Lanka. Research reveal that economic development is the best way possible in developing war ravaged geographical area like the Northern Province, so that together people can enjoy the new found freedom with an enhancement on the quality of life of one’s family, said Athukorala.