Re-orienting economy, only way to create more and better jobs - Malik | Sunday Observer

Re-orienting economy, only way to create more and better jobs - Malik

The head table: From left - Secretary, MODSIT, Sisira Kodikara, Minister  Samarawickrema, Guest of Honour, USAID Director, Brian Wittnebel and Chief of Party USAID-SAIL Project, Glenn Mackenzie-Frazer.
The head table: From left - Secretary, MODSIT, Sisira Kodikara, Minister Samarawickrema, Guest of Honour, USAID Director, Brian Wittnebel and Chief of Party USAID-SAIL Project, Glenn Mackenzie-Frazer.

The Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade (MODSIT) and the USAID-SAIL project hosted a Public-Private Dialogue (PPD) on Global Trade at Hotel Taj Samudra recently.

The event, titled, ‘Integrating into Global Trade – How can Sri Lanka maximise benefits and minimise risks?’, was the first in a series of district level PPDs being held to increase the awareness and understanding of trade, and obtain the views of wider and more representative groups of stakeholders across the country.

There were over 80 participants from Ministries, government agencies, the business community, trade chambers, the private sector and other key stakeholders.

The resource personnel were led by USAID-SAIL trade expert Dr. Sanath Jayanetti, who spoke on ‘Opportunities, Costs and Benefits of Trade Arrangements’. He was followed by , Assistant Controller, Department of Import and Export Control, Kasun Fernando on ‘Import and Export Control law and expected amendments’.

Minister Samarawickrema said, “We have a new trade policy, which resets our economic orientation towards trade, and provides the roadmap for reforms in this area.

“We have embarked on a path of cutting para-tariffs within three years; and already more than 1,200 items have been done. In Parliament last year, we passed long overdue trade remedies legislation that provides protection to our enterprises against unfair competition and undue pressure from imports.

“We have the new Trade Adjustment Program that was approved last month, and the Trade and Productivity Commission that was approved last week.”

Minister Samarawickrema said, “The economy has to be driven by the private sector, and that too by a private sector that is willing and able to compete internationally. We are a small domestic market, and we have no option but to integrate strongly with the global economy. But of course, we want to be sure to give our industry, our private sector, the best possible chance to succeed, by providing the right policy environment, strategies, supportive programs and instruments, and timely information.”

“All these initiatives are aimed at reorienting our economy to be more trade-driven, and integrating more with the global economy. This is the only way to usher in prosperity for our country and create more and better jobs.

The Government cannot create jobs, we cannot keep using debt-fuelled public investment to generate growth. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misleading you,” the Minister said.

Deputy Director, Department of Commerce, Ruwanthie Ariyaratne, Deputy Director, Department of Customs, Priyantha Saparamadu, Guest of Honour, USAID Director of Economic Growth Office, Brian Wittnebel also spoke.

Comments