ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka wants to go forward protecting the environment providing more opportunities for people to enter the middle class President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
President Sirisena said protecting the environment for future generations was a responsibility of leaders and a path to sustainable growth 2030 in line with United Nations goals will be followed by Sri Lanka.
He was speaking at a ceremony to present a strategy to achieve so-called ‘sustainable development’ objectives by 2030.
President Sirisena said while going forward with the world in partnership with other countries, Sri Lanka has developed a program to suit the country, with its own particular needs and domestic concerns.
Prime Minister Wickramasinghe said Sri Lanka wanted to provide more opportunities for people to enter the middle class.
"Many countries that were lagging behind us have now overtaken us," Wickramasinghe said.
"We had opportunities in the past we have missed. In 1979 also we thought there was a chance for fast growth, then the war came.
"This is the last chance."
Sri Lanka’s economy has suffered and people have become poorer since a money printing, central bank was created in 1951 ending a hard budget constraint in the form of a money printing central bank.
The government then ran deficit budgets easily, though macro-economic instability increased.
Foreign exchange shortages created by money printing led to inflation and exchange controls, import licensing and controls, protective tariffs for domestic business and high prices for the poor.
In the 1970s, when the Bretton Woods broke -up, Sri Lanka’s economy was completely closed.
The economy was gradually opened from 1979 but money printing, budget deficits and steep currency depreciations persisted.
Despite large deficits, outright sovereign default was avoided by depreciating the currency and destroying the real value of government debt.
But now it is getting harder to do after foreign currency denominated debt increased.
After independence Sri Lanka also expropriated assets of the citizens including land and businesses retarding activity and built state enterprise with monopoly powers which ran large losses. (Colombo/Jan02/2016)