Policy consistency crucial to lift ‘animal spirits’- CCC chief | Sunday Observer

Policy consistency crucial to lift ‘animal spirits’- CCC chief

CCC Chairman, Samantha Ranatunga
CCC Chairman, Samantha Ranatunga

The Chairperson of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Samantha Ranatunga says that while Sri Lanka is entering an era of policy reforms and a shift in its economic strategy, policy consistency and certainty are crucial to lift the ‘animal spirits’ of the domestic private sector.

Presenting his review at the recent release of the CCC Annual Report 2016/17, Ranatunga points out that tax policies, in particular, should be predictable, in order to encourage investment and spur business activity.

“The private sector faced challenges on many fronts during the year, ranging from impacts of adverse weather conditions - floods as well as drought - to delays and uncertainty in implementation of key policy changes.

“This year too, tax policy uncertainty weighed heavily on private sector activity, with changes announced in Budget 2017 not being enacted by the 1st of April and a new Income Tax law being formulated with limited private sector consultation,” the Chairman highlighted in his review.

He stressed that amidst a challenging global environment, marked by terror attacks, political upheaval and policy uncertainty, Sri Lanka must focus on building a resilient and dynamic economy, with strong macroeconomic fundamentals at its core.

“The year in review saw many national initiatives aimed at transforming Sri Lanka’s growth model away from a reliance on debt-financed public infrastructure and consumption towards a more sustainable model driven by exports and investment.

The Chamber continued to engage in a range of activities anchored to this effort,” Ranatunga said.

He noted that the process of private-public dialogue between the government and the Chamber continued to strengthen during the year, and a highlight was the meetings the Chamber had with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“At each of these meetings, the leadership of the Chamber was able to flag critical policy issues that need resolution and submitted ideas for accelerating growth and investment”, the CCC Chairman elaborated.