‘Anti-corruption drive in any country could have an impact on growth’


Ravi Karunanayake

When corruption is tackled anywhere in the world, there will be a reduction in growth, and Sri Lanka is no exception, Minister of Finance and Planning Ravi Karunanayake told the Oxford Business Group last week.

"There is no more massaging of accounts, and overall we are taking steps in the right direction. While there will be an automatic reduction, this does not mean the country is not growing. We are expecting 7.2% growth for the year." The minister said.

During an interview given to the global publishing, research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG), Karunanayake said that while the country faced challenges, including a huge public debt, the outlook for Sri Lanka was bright.

"We believe that Sri Lanka is on the threshold of a major period of sustained growth, especially when compared to other countries in the region, and the country's fiscal policies will be spelled out soon which are aimed at achieving national growth targets," he added.

The Minister seeks to highlight Sri Lanka's potential to the business community high on the new administration's agenda, as well as the issue of addressing several of the anomalies found in past reporting.

He added that a three-pronged plan to tackle the issue of high debt servicing, crafted as part of the interim budget, would see the new administration focus on creating a longer tenor, reducing the interest rate and ensuring adequate revenue structures were in place to cover the basics.

The full interview with Ravi Karunanayake will appear in The Report: Sri Lanka 2016, OBG's first report on the country's economy. The landmark publication will contain a detailed, sector-by-sector guide for investors, alongside contributions from leading personalities, including President Maithripala Sirisena and the Governor of the Central Bank Arjun Mahendran. In the wide-ranging interview, Karunanayake told OBG that while a review of infrastructure projects had inevitably produced a lull in construction, he was confident other sectors of the economy, including industry, financial services and tourism, would maintain growth momentum.

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