ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan businesses are becoming dissatisfied with the new government, about which they had high hopes before the polls, with some ministers seen as incompetent or corrupt, Razeen Sally, a top international economist said.
The corporate sector was disappointed by inadequate reforms and steps to correct macro-economic imbalances, he told a forum at Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
There were concerns about the honesty and credibility of certain cabinet ministers, Sally said.
Sally said he comes across business people who had “such high hopes before the polls who now say they keep hitting their heads against a brick wall despite having good ideas.
“Ministers are seen as incompetent, corrupt or both, or surrounded by cronies who want to keep the status quo, such as in shipping.”
A good example why the corporate sector was disappointed was the disconnect between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s economic policy statement and the 2016 budget, said Sally, who is also chairman of Sri Lanka's Institute of Policy Studies.
“In the next few years there has to be serious improvement on macro-economic policy, domestic regulation, international trade,” he said.
“Nothing will work without having the right people in the right positions, without having the right systems to deliver on these promises.”
The corporate sector should take advantage of a situation like a crisis to push through reforms, said Sally, a former London School of Economics Professor who is now with the National University of Singapore.
“You can mobilise interest groups such as exporters and multinationals to countervail those asking for protection.”
What was required the proper leadership and the right institutions in place, Sally said, noting that Sri Lanka could do with a political leadership like that which developed Singapore.
(Colombo/December 23, 2015)