New initiatives to revive economy, raise growth to 6% - Shehan | Daily News


New initiatives to revive economy, raise growth to 6% - Shehan

H’ tota Port and Singapore agreements to be reviewed
Minister Semasinghe. Picture by Ruwan De Silva
Minister Semasinghe. Picture by Ruwan De Silva

The government is taking several new initiatives to revive the economy and raise it from the present 2% to achieve 6% economic growth, new State Minister of Development Banks and Loan Schemes, Shehan Semasinghe told his maiden press conference at the Finance Ministry yesterday. This would be done through short, medium and long term planning.

He said that the introduction of tax incentives will stimulate economic growth firstly help some of the closed enterprises to reopen and also new entrepreneurs to be created.

“We know that some of the businesses are in the CRIB and we have called for a report from the Central Bank on them. Once we get the list, the government will offer a ‘financial relief package’ to them. We may even look at writing off the interest component from the enterprises that are in red.”

Semasinghe also said that people who took macro and micro credit at high interest rates too would be compensated. “Here again some loans are to be ‘written off’.”

The Minister stressed that macro and micro credit leading institutions too would be compensated or it will create a bad precedent.

The promise made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to increase wages of estate workers too would be fulfilled. “However here again we will compensate the Regional Plantation Companies against the additional investment they have to undergo.”

When the Minister was asked by Daily News Business on the ‘Hambantota Port Deal’ he said that this agreement would be re negotiated through diplomatic channels.

Former Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka Wu Jianghao called on Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo as an envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday and this matter too was discussed.

“This government vehemently opposes any privatization hence this port deal would be revisited in a manner that would not harm traditional friendship between China and Sri Lanka.”

Semasinghe also said that they will re look at the much talked about agreement signed with Singapore and bring in changes to it.

Asked how the government would compensate the revenue loss from tax benefit offered to the public the Minister said that this would be done firstly through pruning down on government expenditure. “The tax benefits will also have more economic activities and this too would help.”

He said during the previous Rajapaksa government, where there was a LTTE war, high fuel prices and global economic recession, a similar tax regime was imposed and there was an economic growth in the excess of 6%. 

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