President Maithripala Sirisena delivered a keynote address at the closing session of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce ‘Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2015’ today, addressing over 500 of the country’s leading private sector representatives. Here are my 9 highlights from his remarks.
- The government must be transparent, accountable, clean, and fair in its dealings with the private sector.
- The private sector must have the freedom to thrive and the government should not unduly interfere or intrude on private enterprise.
- Although there are many of them, state institutions need to better focus and align themselves to private sector needs, especially in promoting exports.
- Economic growth in Sri Lanka should be inclusive across regions, should be sustainable, and should be solely aimed at improving living standards and increasing prosperity.
- In prioritizing and planning investments, political compulsions should not get in the way and only good economic sense should prevail. For instance, building of a new road or locating a new factory should not be based on political compulsions but based on whether that investment is the right one in the right place
- It is essential to align foreign policy with economic policy, and these two are intrinsically linked. A balanced and mid-ground foreign policy can help Sri Lankan businesses. He is keen to pursue good relations with all multilateral and regional institutions like World Bank, ADB, UN, SAARC, etc.
- Sri Lanka needs to make better use of its vast ocean resources – an area hitherto neglected. He envisages a 100% growth in incomes from the fisheries industry
- Sri Lanka needs to move away from traditional production and focus on innovation, as well as the human resources needed to support it.
- There needs to be a much closer working relationship between the private and public sectors, a better understanding based on trust and transparency.
I’ve uploaded the full audio of his speech to Soundcloud. You can listen to it via the embedded clip below, or visit it on Soundcloud here.