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‘Per capita income of $ 4,000 an achievable target’



Sarath de Silva

The country’s economic growth will take a three-fold approach - increasing productivity, exporting more and import substitution.

The 2013 Budget has provided an ideal platform to reach the next level of growth. The measures taken to prioritise agricultural development augurs well and could lead to the reduction of the food import bill.

The reluctance of the private sector to aggressively involve itself in agriculture is a setback, National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka Immediate Past President Sarath de Silva told the Sunday Observer .

Investment in tourism as a growth sector is vital. However, more emphasis should be paid to agriculture with encouragement for local value addition.

The over-dependence on the three main agri crops of tea, rubber and coconut pose a challenge at present. With new players emerging in the global market, emphasis on increasing productivity and output are pre-requisites to remain competitive, he said.

The private sector needs to be proactive, in taking corrective action and the Budget proposals should be implemented as it will then put the country on a sound footing.

The Budget has set the stage to achieve a per capita income $ 4,000 by 2016. It could be achieved sooner than expected.

However, 30 to 40 percent of the budget proposals should be implemented within the next year. With a private sector-oriented approach, coupled with positive thinking and guidance, Sri Lanka could reach the set economic targets, he said.

Emphasising that Sri Lanka is an agricultural country, de Silva said that joint initiatives between the North and the South would be a way forward.

It is important to form these types of joint ventures to solve the economic ills of the North where cheaper funds could be injected to the economy. We should derive the full benefit of this advanced productive budget, to fuel the country’s growth momentum, he said.

 

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