Lanka full of resources for ‘Wonder of Asia’
Sri Lanka has resources and the leadership to convert the country as
the Pearl of the Indian Ocean and truly a wonder of Asia. Economists say
that the island also has the capability to have a better economy than
Thailand and Indonesia in four years time.
One of the main reasons Sri Lanka can look at being the wonder of
Asia is ending of the war also its natural and human resources, sound
economic management and the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The President promised to end the 30-year conflict in Sri Lanka and
he did it as promised and all ingredient to lead Sri Lanka as one of the
top nations in Asia is spelled out in the 'Mahinda Chinthana'.
Former President of the Federation of Chamber of Commerce and
Industry and Chairman Hotel Developers, Nawaz Rajabdeen the owning
company of Colombo Hilton said that tourism too would play a major role
towards leading Sri Lanka to be the wonder of Asia.
"No where in the world can you find a country where you could travel
from one climate to another within a few hours. In addition the smiling
Sri Lankans too are an asset to tourism."
"This has resulted in all hotels in Sri Lanka being overbooked after
June 2009, and the revenue multiplied four times in the second half of
2009." He predicted this trend would continue in the future as well.
The Peace dividend is reflecting healthily in the leisure sector with
many international events being hosted in Sri Lanka giving high yields
to the industry and the staff as well.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa discusses
development work of the Colombo South Harbour expansion
President examines the
model of the proposed Mattala Airport.
Former Chairman Export Development Board (EDB), and the National
Council For Economic Development (NCED) and Head of Portfolio
Development United Nations Operations (UNOPS) Rohantha Atukorale said
that Sri Lanka must drive a "Nation Branding" with the mandate of the
people given at this elections.
"Sri Lanka is a buzz word globally right now, ranked within the top
ten growth economies of the world and a hot spot tourist destination.
We now need to capitalize on this opportunity and build Sri Lankan
economy to be the "tiger" of South Asia before this world buzz dies down
on Sri Lanka in the next two years," he said.
The mandate that the people have given, is win for the "Home Grown
Economic Model" that Sri Lanka has been practising for the last five
years and now, we must drive investments into Tourism and build the
economic model around the port development and aviation industry.
"With the second port coming up in Hambanthota, Energy through oil
exploration and trade between South Asian countries whilst securing the
EU market Sri Lanka must invest on the Tea industry and Cinnamon
industry so that Nation Branding will take place naturally," he added.
The Private sector must support the Government to make Sri Lanka
practice a "home grown economic model" where we achieve zero poverty,
zero child mortality and zero unemployment levels which are achievable
goals for our country.
An official of the Yalpanam Chamber said that with the ending of the
war resources that were untouched for three decades have come up for
The untapped sea resources are huge and in addition the land cleared
for development after the war too would be a boon to agriculture and the
Steps are already being taken to reopen one of Asia's top mineral
sand factories in Pulmudai along with the cement factory in
The Indian Government has also given a pledge that they would assist
in converting both the Palali airport and the KKS harbour to
The Indian High Commissioner Ashok A. Kanth who was in Jaffna last
month also said that there would be a time where flights would take off
from Palali to south Indian destinations and a free service being
launched from KKS to India.
Connectivity between India and Sri Lanka would be made even closer
with this and it would open the door to the huge Indian market for the
North East investor.
Economists say that though both Indonesia and Thailand are almost ten
times bigger than Sri Lanka and have more resources than Sri Lanka the
unhealthy political situations would create major problems for them.
Foreign investors would have second thoughts to invest while this
government would have additional problems to face rather than economic
development. In 2008 the per capita income in Indonesia was around US $
2010 while Thailand 2840 and Philippines at 1980 followed. Last year Sri
Lanka passed the US $ 2010 mark after being US $ 1790 in 2008 and
government is aiming to take this to the US $ 4,000 mark by 2016 clearly
giving an edge over these countries.
Sri Lanka's economic growth rate which was averaging around 5.5
percent even during the height of the war, would increase in the future
and this too would be another positive sign.
Former Central Bank Director, Vincent M. Fernando has stated that Sri
Lanka has the capacity and the vision to reach this illusive mark which
would place Sri Lanka as one of the top countries like Indonesia,
Thailand, Philippines, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Construction work of
the Hambantota harbour at a brisk pace
The new venue in Hambanota which will
host the world’s fourth largest sporting events -
Commonwealth Games in the future.
It is expected that Sri Lanka would move with the rapid economic
development taking place in India and the high yielding economy of the
Maldives (boosted by fisheries and tourism) as the three most high
earning per capita income countries in Asia.
However it would be a tall order for Sri Lanka to aim at being the
top of Asia with Japan, Singapore and Korea boasting of high per capita
incomes in the excess of US$ 20,000.
Looking back at the Sri Lanka economy it was among the best three
nations of Asia in the 1950s.
However since then Sri Lanka took a tumble while other countries in
the region such as Singapore and Malaysia surged ahead.
A Sri Lankan economist from New Zealand, D.W. Prathapasinghe who was
in Sri Lanka for a brief holiday after nearly 10 years said he was
surprised with the development of Sri Lanka. "I was amazed at the
Colombo airport and the other infrastructure that is shaping in Colombo
and the suburbs.
I also went out of Colombo and the most of the roads are of
international standards," he said.
He said that one of the main reasons for Singapore, Dubai and
Malaysia to surge ahead was the law and order situation that prevailed.
"No one was above the law and this even led to less corruption," he
He said that he was sad with the number of crimes taking place in Sri
Lanka . "The common agreement against death penelty is, that an innocent
man may go to gallows. But just see how many innocent people are being
murdered due to the rising of crime," he asked.
Gamini Perera from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Office in Melbourne
said that one of the main things that should be done to lead Sri Lanka
to be the wonder of Asia is to reduce the government workers and also
pay them high salaries."
This would make them more efficient and also minimize corruption," he
He said that Sri Lanka would strike oil next year and this will bring
a surge of international investors.
A strong government, high literacy rate, high per capita income,
intentional airports and harbours, oil deposits, flexible investment
policies, cheap electricity (in two years) best telecom density country
in the region are some of the other major plus points for Sri Lanka to
lead it to be the wonder of Asia.