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Sri Lanka private sector told not to expect protection

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government will remove impediments to doing business to make companies more competitive but cannot continue to provide protection for local industry, a senior Industry and Commerce Ministry official said.

“You can’t expect protection from the government all the time,” said T.M.K.B. Tennakoon,  Secretary to the Ministry of Industry & Commerce.

The government was working on measures to remove bottlenecks faced by the private sector and reduce red tape, he told the Sri Lanka Ceramics and Glass Council annual general meeting.

New systems are to be set up to solve problems faced by the private sector and improve their competitiveness, Tennakoon said.

But he warned that the government could no longer afford to continue giving concessions and protection to different business lobbies.

Most paddy mills in the island were running at a loss, he said.

“They are always asking for concessional loans from the government,” Tennakoon said. “We can’t always oblige.”

Free trade agreements that have been signed with India and Pakistan allow for the free flow of capital, goods and people and local industries will have to learn to compete internationally, he said.

Local industry will be helped to improve productivity to better compete internationally, he said.
 (Colombo/November 19 2015)





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