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Sri Lanka Chamber welcomes new administration, expects inclusive economic revival

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the new administration following general elections where President Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s party won a landslide and called for continuing dialog in formulating policy.

“The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce congratulates Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the newly elected government on its victory at the 2020 General Election and the clear majority mandate received from the voting citizenry,” the business chamber said.

“The Chamber believes that the mandate received reflects among other factors the confidence earned by His Excellency the President and the Government through the exemplary outcomes delivered with respect to the control of the Covid-19 pandemic cumulating to the protection of Life and Livelihoods.

“Equally, the Chamber is of the view that the mandate also represents aggressive expectations with respect to accelerated and inclusive economic revival and national development in the Post-Covid-19 context.”

The chamber welcomed the announcement by President Rajapaksa of 28 new ministries where the subjects were on more logical lines than in the recent past.

In Sri Lanka ministries and subjects change after every election or within elections after the institution of permanent secretaries was broken by the 1972 constitution and cemented by the 1978 constitution, representing an unusually fluid status in governance or regime uncertainty.

Such stability is taken for granted in countries that provides a stable environment for citizens and businesses to operate.

“The Chamber looks forward to the establishment of a fresh paradigm with respect to Governance, Policy formulation and Implementation Management, featuring the streamlining of Ministries with clear and synergized assignment of subjects, alongside the delineation of Policy, Regulatory, Public Enterprise and performance management functions,” the statement said.

“The Chamber further recommends that the optimised configuration of Ministries be enshrined in legislation in order to ensure continuity in government policy and implementation.”

The chamber called for “a progressive dialogue inclusive of the timely consultation of business chambers with respect to policy formulation and legislation” as well as monetary and fiscal discipline.

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Analysts have said that Sri Lanka’s post independent economic programs – except in a few exceptional years – have been based on a foundation of monetary instability, dooming them to failure amid currency crises or high inflation or both, which in turn worsen budget deficits and debt.

The full statement is reproduced below

Ceylon Chamber Congratulates New Government, Welcomes Strong Mandate for Accelerated EconomicRevival

The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce congratulates Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the newly elected government on its victory at the 2020 General Election and the clear majoritymandate received from the voting citizenry.

The Chamber believes that the mandate received reflects among other factors the confidence earned by His Excellency the President and the Government through the exemplary outcomes delivered with respect to the control of the Covid-19 pandemic cumulating to the protection of Life and Livelihoods.

Equally, the Chamber is of the view that the mandate also represents aggressive expectations with respect to accelerated and inclusive economic revival and national development in the Post-Covid-19 context.

The Chamber is optimistic that the Government will lever its mandate to exercise exceptional, bold and innovative measures which will accelerate economic revival.

The multi-faceted challenge ahead will also call upon the Government to double down on the fundamental tenets of domestic production, narrowing of the trade deficit, and the strengthening of fiscal and monetary disciplines, alongside a progressive approach to global market access.

It also remains fundamental that a Second Wave of Covid-19 is prevented at all cost.

The Chamber welcomes the decision of of His Excellency the President to limit the size of the Cabinet of Ministers, thereby signaling a headline commitment towards driving productivity and performance in the public sector, as well as the management of fiscal deficits.

On the backdrop of this directional signal, the Chamber is optimistic of the commitment of government focus towards the recalibration of public sector expenditure, the empowerment and upskilling of the civil service, a concerted effort towards State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) reform and spawning of Public Private Partnerships as modalities of capital mobilisation.

The Chamber looks forward to the establishment of a fresh paradigm with respect to Governance, Policy formulation and Implementation Management, featuring the streamlining of Ministries with clear and synergized assignment of subjects, alongside the delineation of Policy, Regulatory, Public Enterprise and performance management functions.

The Chamber further recommends that the optimised configuration of Ministries be enshrined in legislation in order to ensure continuity in government policy and implementation.

Accelerated economic revival will be predicated on the effective execution of a Public-Private Shared Vision for Economic Revival and Social Sustenance.

The Chamber accordingly seeks from the Government, a progressive dialogue inclusive of the timely consultation of business chambers with respect to policy formulation and legislation, so as to ensure Sri Lanka’s Large, Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Sectors garner superior competitiveness thereby forming a cornerstone of the nation’s economic revival.

The strengthening of growth enablers encompassing digitisation, health, education, food security and energy sufficiency should also remain as shared priorities of the Private and Public Sectors.

The Ceylon Chamber in its capacity as the premier representative of the private sector, looks forward to ongoing engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka with respect to the national agenda of driving accelerated economic revival alongside the delivery of inclusive benefits to all segments of citizens and businesses.