Agriculture helped sustain economy during lockdown - CB Governor | Daily News


Agriculture helped sustain economy during lockdown - CB Governor

The Sri Lankan Government’s decision to promote agricultural production helped the country’s economy endure a three-month curfew imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, the Central Bank Governor said.

“The Government opted for self-reliance during the curfew and we successfully maintained food security despite restrictions on imports throughout the curfew,” Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof W.D. Lakshman told Xinhua.

The Government imposed a curfew from March 20 to June 28 to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, agricultural production continued with the state providing support in the form of import protection, debt relief, and facilitating distribution of food stuff.

Lakshman said a Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, composed of administrative, health, police and security services, helped Sri Lanka succeed in containing the outbreak and re-opening its economy earlier than its neighbors.

“At the current rate of opening up, we are optimistic of reaching a positive GDP growth target in 2020. We hope to reach 4.5 to 5-percent growth by 2021 and at least 6 percent in the years to come,” the bank governor said.

Meanwhile, an increase in remittances, combined with export recovery thanks to structural changes in the garment sector, which began producing personal protective equipment (PPE) to meet international demand, has helped cushion the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Lakshman was appointed governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka on December 24, 2019, and has overseen government policy to support economic activity through rate cuts and debt relief throughout the pandemic.

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