|Saturday, 19 June 2004|
Maximise benefits from investments on social welfare, says Amunugama
by Rohan Mathes
Sri Lanka has predominantly been a welfare state, not yielding the returns envisaged in the sphere of human development, said Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama.
The Minister in his inaugural address at the annual sessions of the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA), at the BMICH, said yesterday Sri Lanka was a classic model where due to its commitment to democracy and social welfare, the physical quality of live has been neglected.
"We should strive to maximise the benefits from our investments on social welfare. Sri Lanka has a high literacy rate in the region with the provision of free education in the remotest villages, but not utilised this investment on education for human development," he said.
The Minister said there was a wide gap in the economic thinking and interactions vis-a-vis the sociological realities. Also a gap in perceptions of the policy-makers who have the best of advisers.
Dr. Amunugama commended the recent trend of the media which acted as a critique of government policy and paved the way for a constructive dialogue between the researchers and policy makers.
SLEA President Professor A.D.V. de S. Indraratne in his presidential address on 'Human Development and Poverty Alleviation', explained how investment in human development would bring-about a reduction in poverty levels in the country.
However, Professor Indraratne pointed out that human development and poverty reduction policies should be a major and essential part of a larger government package of socio-economic polices for sustained and accelerated economic growth which would only take Sri Lanka to a status of a high income country sans poverty.
"To achieve this goal", he said, "requires a thoroughly competent, honest and impartial public service, and above all, good governance with incorruptible and patriotic political leadership."
Leading regional Bangladeshi Economist, Professor Rehman Sobhan, Chief Guest at the Sessions spoke on 'Challenging the Injustice of Poverty in South Asia".
Produced by Lake House