Social cohesion, integration needed in Sri Lanka development framework

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs to have a plan for social cohesion and integration as part of its economic development framework, the head of the treasury and secretary to the finance ministry R. H. S. Samaratunga said.

“This is one key area we have ignored and which economists need to consider in their development plans,” he told a forum on preparing a master plan to revive the island’s war-ravaged north.

“In Sri Lanka, we need to develop a foundation of social cohesion and integration, something  which we have consistently ignored,” Samaratunga told the forum which discussed a Central Bank-sponsored study to revive the northern economy.

The study said the northern province, 10 years after the 30-year civil war ended, still lags behind the rest of the country in terms of destroyed and underdeveloped infrastructure, and deteriorated social institutions and human resources.

“This draft plan needs to look at that dimension and also to include more fully in relevant policy for funding.”

Samaratunga also said there was a need to study regional economies and how they connect with the larger economy.

“Capital, labour, natural resources are important but the relationship with the rest of the economy – regional integration – is also important.”

One way to resurrect war torn economies was to look at infrastructure building.

Infrastructure is key but not enough, Samaratunga said.

“Equally important from Sri Lanka’s view, especially for the north, is human capacity building and that goes beyond education and shelter. It is not only building schools or health centres.”
(COLOMBO, February 27, 2019-SB)





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