Hambantota Port will bring enormous benefits to economy - PM | Sunday Observer

Hambantota Port will bring enormous benefits to economy - PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

The country will see enormous changes and benefits trickling down to the economy from next year from the Hambantota port which was the world’s largest swimming pool when it was built with no ships calling there , Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said while addressing the Dr. Saman Kelegama Memorial Conference in Colombo last week.

“Today, we are seeing vessels calling at the port and a major growth in the Southern region is expected with the launch of industrial parks in the region. The Southern port which had been a white elephant for many years will soon be turned into an active port in the region,” the Premier said.

He said it’s not all that.

There will be industrial parks set up across the country beginning from Bingiriya . All the industrial zones will be linked through the Southern and Central expressways.

“The country has a unique position in the region and it must leverage on its strategic location in the Indian ocean benefitting from its sea lanes and air connectivity to take the economy to the next stage.

All these require that the country moves away from debt accumulating borrowings to attracting foreign direct investments to drive economic growth,” the Prime Minister said.

He said the country needs to look at its geo-political position in the Indian Ocean not only in terms of the number of ships that crosses the region but also the economic activities in the region. China’s Belt and Road initiative and the Africa and Asia growth corridor can work side by side and play a complementary role. Commercial rivalry is acceptable but not anything beyond it.

The Premier outlined a series of development projects that have been drawn up in the long and medium term such as the off-shore financial city and high end tourist resorts each comprising around 500 acres.

“The restoration of GSP Plus is an example of the country’s current position on human rights and efforts to bring about national reconciliation. However, the challenges are not only domestic but also outside the country. The geo-political tension in the region has been brought to the door step and in no way could we run away from it,” the Premier said.

Referring to Central Bank Governor, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy’s statement at the inauguration of the Dr. Saman Kelegama Memorial Conference, that there should be a better synergy between fiscal consolidation and structural reforms the Premier said. The focus of the Government is to address structural reforms including trade liberalisation, entering into free trade agreements with China and India, anti dumping legislation and improving the ease of doing business.

“We are no longer a low income country and we need to go up the value chain and boost exports and expand market access, specialise on niche products and logistics,’ the Premier said.

Development Strategy and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama said the Prime Minister of Singapore paying tribute to Dr. Kelegama exemplifies the high standing Dr. Kelegama was held in among the international community.

‘The present Government picked Dr. Kelegama to be in the negotiation team for bilateral free trade agreements.

He took part in three FTA negotiations and the last was with Singapore. However, he had to face many detractors who carried out malicious attacks on his independent and consistent views,” the minister said.

Dr. Saman Kelegama born on April 6 1959 was an economist, author and Executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies which under the guidance of Dr. Kelegama was transformed into a regional centre of excellence.

He was a trade policy economist who also worked in industrial economics, public enterprise reform and macroeconomics. He has published a number of books and over 100 articles in refereed journals, most of which focus on the Sri Lankan economy, regional integration and WTO issues.

He served on the Boards of many government and private sector and professional institutions and as a member of governing, editorial and advisory boards, committees and organisations, as a visiting lecturer, consultant to regional and international institutions and as an economic advisor to the Government.

Dr. Kelegama passed away on June 23, 2017. 


What a turn coat!! Why couldn't you realise this scenario when this was first proposed and implemented by MR . projects of this magnitude takes a long time to bear fruit!!!