Sri Lanka as an emerging economy
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce organised a seminar on ‘Sri Lanka as an emerging economy’ at its headquarters, last week. Professor Hilton Root, a specialist in political economy and development lead the seminar which was then proceeded by an a open panel discussion with leading Economist Dr Harsha De Silva and senior officials of the central bank of Sri Lanka.
During the discussion it was highlighted that the present emphasis in Sri Lanka economy is to reduce poverty by steering investment to disadvantaged areas, developing small and medium enterprises, promoting agriculture and expanding the service sectors. Speaking on the seminar topic Professor Hilton Root stated, "The private sector is the lead to growth, not the government. Sri Lanka needs an effective government, if you have social conflict people will not invest in the long term"
Sri Lanka has seen some new developments recently such as the construction of four major expressways, which will improve existing road networks. Also with the aim of integrating port development with regional development, a comprehensive consultancy study on the development of harbour facility in Hambanota is in its final stage. This port of Hambantota is planned as a service industrial port and subsequently it is seen also as trans shipment port depending on the increasing cargo volumes.
With regard to foreign investment, Sri Lanka today is ranked as the most liberalized economy in South Asia. Investors are provided with preferential tax rates, constitutional guarantees on investments, exemptions from exchange control and 100% repatriation on profits. Total foreign ownership is welcome in almost all areas of economy, with only a few areas limited or restricted to foreigners.
In Sri Lanka there is a scheme of industry specific incentives, which has been in operation to roll out new business.