‘Japan to support the new government on economic policies’

JICA Seminar discusses the way forward for Sri Lanka’s economic development


A two-day seminar was organized by Academy of Financial Studies (AFS) with assistance by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at Miloda on September 3-4, inviting a group of leading economic professors from Japan and eminent panelists from foreign institutions and private sector.

In the opening remark for the seminar, Kenichi Suganuma, ambassador of Japan said that the government of Japan has a strong expectation towards, and is ready to continue to support the new government’s policies to strengthen further economic development of Sri Lanka.

Dr. R H S Samaratunga, the Secretary to Ministry of Finance delivered the inaugural speech for the special session, which was attended by 400 participants from the government and the private sector.

The special session was devoted to the theme of "How to Improve Sri Lanka’s Investment Climate: Investors’ Perspectives", in which panelists discussed about what is needed to make Sri Lanka friendly for foreign investors together with Professor Kiichiro Fukasaku of Keio University of Japan as the moderator.

In the keynote speech entitled "Is an ‘Economic Miracle’ Possible for Sri Lanka?: What Lessons can the Malaysian Experience Tell Us?" DATO J. Jegathesan pointed out that the strong political will, the efficiency of the civil service, and the dynamism of the private sector are the three essential ingredients for success, citing how Malaysia became an export-competitive economy from a raw material-driven one in the 1960s. Jegathesan is an eminent Founder Member of the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) with over 35 years’ experience in investment promotion activities worldwide including in Malaysia, Zambia and Tanzania.

Other panelists included Yoshifumi Matsubara, Director SG Holdings Global PET. Ltd., Suresh Shah, CEO of Lion Brewery Ceylon PLC, Ajith Fernando, CEO of Capital Alliance Group, Murtaza Jafferjee, CEO of JB Securities Ltd and Dinesh Saparamadu, founder and chairman of hSenid Group,.

Oher topics of the JICA seminar included "Global Economic Outlook: Issues and Risks", "Economic Development and Infrastructure Deficit: Planning and the Role of Technocrats", "Construction of Public Pension in Developing Economies", "Revisiting Industrialization and Industrial Policy", and "Development Planning in Practice: How to formulate National Development Strategy?". They were lectured by Professor Akira Ariyoshi of Hitotsubashi University, Professor Hirohisa Kohama of University of Shizuoka, Professor Eiji Tajika of Seijo University, and Professor Shinji Asanuma of Hitotsubashi University, all world renowned experts in the field. 

This seminar series started in 2013 by the government of Japan as part of technical assistance to reinforce the Academy of Financial Studies (AFS), the training arm of the Ministry of Finance and Planning (then). A memorandum of understanding was signed between JICA and the Ministry aiming that the newly established AFS would quip an essential function for capacity development of officials of the Ministry. This week seminar was the last of five model Seminar Series.

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