Sri Lankan businesses disappointed over govt performance, survey shows
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s corporate sector is disappointed over the new coalition government’s performance since it was formed last year, but strongly support its commitment to free trade, logistics and public-private partnerships, a new survey has found.
Done by the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the survey found that although respondents rated government performance as poor, they were optimistic about the government’s ability to deliver economic results in the next four years.
Participants at the recently concluded Sri Lanka Economic Summit also showed to have mixed views about Budget 2017, according to the survey conducted at the event.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the organizers of the summit, surveyed top corporate executives at the summit through a combination of mobile and written questionnaires.
A question on how focussed the government is on creating policies that support private sector growth drew a lot of pessimism, with 47 percent of respondents giving a score of 3 out of 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). 36 percent scored a 1 or 2, and only 15 percent scored a 4 or 5.
“This reflects the wider feelings of confusion and uncertainty among the private sector on the government’s economic policy plans,” the statement said.
On the question of ‘How successful has the government been in auctioning such policy changes during the last one year?’, a majority of 49 percent scored a low 2 out of 5, indicating strong disappointment in the progress of reforms in the first year of the government’s term.
“Interestingly, however, top executives were a bit more optimistic about the future, but uncertainty prevailed,” the statement said.
On the question of ‘How confident are you that the government can deliver its economic promises in the next four years?’, 41 percent of respondents scored either a 4 or 5, while 35 percent scored a moderate 3 out of 5. A quarter or respondents were still pessimistic, scoring a 1 or 2.
On trade policy, an overwhelming majority of 70 percent of them agreed that economic and trade agreements with partner countries would boost Sri Lanka’s economy. Only 2 percent disagreed, while 28 percent were undecided.
There was strong support for PPPs, with 85 percent voting ‘yes’ to the question of whether PPPs are a viable alternative to building infrastructure in Sri Lanka, and only 6 percent voting ‘no’ and 9 percent unsure.
Yet, there are some concerns of the capabilities for structuring PPP deals.
(COLOMBO, August 15, 2016)