Gotabaya must stay the course on attracting foreign investment – Mangala
ECONOMYNEXT – Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera is asking President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to stay the course on welcoming foreign investment into the Sri Lanka Port as that would be the only way it could be developed.
Samaraweera says that as a “true patriot” he wants foreign investment in the country as Sri Lanka’s past experiences have shown that development and the introduction of new technology has taken place when there have been overseas partners.
“The foreign investment into our Telecommunication sector brought by a major partner revolutionized the industry in this country,” Samaraweera said in a statement released yesterday.
The only time that the national airline has made a profit is when it had a foreign partner he pointed out.
He says the current leadership, when they were in opposition encouraged certain groups to attack foreign investment and “that has boomeranged on them,” he claimed.
They are now being beaten up by the very elements whom they encouraged to attack us as when we encouraged foreign investment. “They called us traitors who were selling the country at that time,” Samaraweera who has left active politics said.
“Those who are opposing foreign investment are blocking the improvement of our country,” he said.
He said foreign investors will expect a degree of economic freedom and transparency. “Our government created that framework and because of that there was considerable foreign investment in 2018 and 2019.”
“They will also expect a country that respects Human Rights and has a democratic framework,” he said.
He pointed out that when Asia’s largest Tire factory was being built the then opposition laughed at the project saying it was going to make toy tires. However, now the President goes there and declares the factory open.
Samaraweera said that countries such as Vietnam and Cambodia which have a socialist history have successfully welcomed many foreign investors and given them sweeping concessions to make the destination attractive. (Colombo, January 18, 2021)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana