Sri Lanka at beginning of a new era
Sri Lanka is now at a beginning of a new era-one of leaping forward
in transforming the country into a strong and dynamic global economic
hub over the next decade, Finance and Planning Deputy Minister Gitanjana
The Deputy Minister was addressing Asian Development Bank's Board of
Governors 44th Annual Meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam last Friday.
Deputy Minister Gitanjana Gunawardena
The Minister said: "I am greatly honoured to address the 44th Annual
Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank on
behalf of the Government. At the outset, I would like to express my
sincere appreciation to the Vietnamese government for hosting this
important meeting in this historic city as well as to the people of
Vietnam for their warm welcome and the hospitality extended to me and my
"It was with great sadness and shock that we heard about the
earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March with the devastation of parts
of Japan and loss of lives, displaced families and affected people.
"We share the grief and convey our deepest sympathy to the families
and wish them the blessings of the Triple Gem and the protection of the
Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
"In the context of Sri Lanka's relations with the ADB. I have to
express our thanks and appreciation to the ADB Mission in Sri Lanka for
the contribution it has made during the past years towards achieving our
development targets and for the high level of cooperation and cordiality
that it has developed and maintains in Sri Lanka.
"Support of the ADB for Sri Lanka's development efforts for over more
than four decades has been very helpful. We have received USD 5.49
billion since joining the ADB.
In 2010, ADB has approved loans amounting to approximately USD 500
million for fiscal management improvement, development of national and
provincial roads and water supply projects, including the conflict
affected region emergency assistance. "Now, I would like to share with
you the progress of the economy of Sri Lanka since the defeat of
terrorism in 2009. This conflict situation that had engulfed our country
for over three decades had caused enormous loss of life, colossal damage
through the destruction of physical wealth and diversion of a
significant amount of resources into rehabilitation and reconstruction
in areas affected by the conflict and provide livelihood programmes in
the North and East.
The 26 year conflict is now over and the country is unified. With the
return of peace and the gradual normalization of economic and social
activities in the former conflict areas have provided a significant
boost to the country's economy during the past year.
As has been meticulously and strategically worked out and presented
in the Mahinda Chinthana Vision for the Future of the government of
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, which as the Election Manifesto had the
overwhelming endorsement at the Presidential Election - the goal is to
achieve a sound economy in a green environment and a stable society with
high quality of life for all.
"We are pleased to inform you that Sri Lanka recorded second best
post-independence GDP growth in last year registering an 8.0 percent
growth rate as against 3.5 percent growth in the previous year.
"The expected economic growth of over 8 percent per annum will pave
the way to almost doubling of Sri Lanka's per capita income to above USD
4,000 by 2016 requiring significant increase in private sector
investment. It is envisaged that investments will be increase to about
33 percent of the GDP with sustained commitment of public investment of
6-7 percent of GDP to support increased private sector investment.
"Government of Sri Lanka has recently updated the ADB Country
Partnership strategy for Sri Lanka for the 3 years from 2012. This new
country partnership strategy recognizes improvements to quality of
infrastructure as a major need in sustaining rapid economic growth.
"Large infrastructure projects are accordingly planned in roads and
transportation, energy, water and sanitation sectors. These will help
efforts of the Government to develop the country's transport sector
including development of expressway network with well-connected
national, provincial and network of rural roads to provide
transportation linkages with major growth centres.
"Sri Lanka also needs substantial investment in human resources
development for an economy which will have growing demands for an
educated and skilled workforce.
"Sri Lanka's literacy rate stands amongst the highest in the region.
"Therefore, a significant portion of the ADB assistance for next
three years will be allocated for improving quality of secondary
education and to implement new programmes satisfying the requirements of
technical skills for emerging new economic sectors.
May I, in conclusion, express my sincere appreciation of the efforts
of the President of the ADB and his team in promoting economic
development in the region and in that spirit, for the continued support
extended to Sri Lanka. I look forward to further strengthening our
partnership in future.