Let us focus on global changes immediately - President | Daily News
We can’t use the old economic model further:

Let us focus on global changes immediately - President

We can no longer use the old economic model and we must pay attention to global changes by thinking innovatively, said President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday. He was delivering the keynote address at the professional forum to launch the Advocata Institute’s research report on Sri Lanka’s economic reforms held at the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall in Colombo yesterday (05).

The conference organised by the Advocata Institute under the theme “LET’S RESET SRI LANKA” is held on August 5 and 6 at the Lotus Hall of the Bandaranaike International Conference Hall.

“The way out is through our agreements with the IMF and I don’t think that there is another way out. People talk of alternative measures, but they have not worked. Whether we like it or not, we have to deal with the IMF. First and foremost, we have to come to a staff level agreement with the IMF. This is an issue the whole parliament has to consider. If any member of the parliament or a party says that we are not for it, we have the right to ask what their alternative is,” the President said.

“All parties must abide by this agreement. When we are negotiating with the IMF, one of the biggest issues that we have to face is that when the governments change the policies are also changed. Are we prepared to support this agreement? If we are not prepared, then the parliament must take the consequences,” the President further said.

He also said that any medicine for the recovery was bitter. “It is certainly going to be a difficult time. The first six months will be difficult. It will be a period that we have not seen before. But we all have to go through it. We cannot go back to the old economic model. We did not keep up with the changes. We did not keep up with globalization and today we are paying the price. There is no need for us to go back to the same system and get stuck with it again. Let’s think anew.”

President Wickremesinghe pointed out that Sri Lanka must not be trapped in the geopolitics of the Asian region when we focus on foreign loans.

“We have to pay a huge loan and we cannot restructure the future without developing the economy. An unconventional thinking framework is necessary to build an export-oriented economy and to develop the sectors such as renewable energy and nuclear energy.

“The first task that Sri Lanka needs to do now is to stabilize the Sri Lankan economy. During the Asian financial crisis of 1997 and the Thai economic crisis of 1997, the International Monetary Fund guided them to recover from these economic crises.

“When I visited Maha Nayaka Theros recently, the Buddhist monks also agreed to provide relief to the people centering on temples. The gap between the haves and have-nots has widened in recent times. School education has been disrupted due to Covid-19 and the fuel crisis and it should be restored soon. First, we need to create economic stability and through that, we can create social stability.

“Modernization of agriculture and fisheries sector, use of new technology in production, mitigation of climate change, addressing the problems faced by women, fulfilling the housing needs of people and the poverty in rural areas should be given attention.

“We need to create a competitive economy with high wages and high production capacity. Trade relations should be established with Asian countries with large and growing markets. The current world economic situation is not favourable for any country,” the President further said.

Dr. Veerathai Santiprubhop, a former Central Bank chief of Thailand also commented and pointed out that the financial crisis in Sri Lanka is not critical as it is shown in the international media.

Privatization of public institutions, protection of the most vulnerable people, institutional reforms, building credibility in the banking sector, the inclusion of economic experts in the cabinet, dealing with the International Monetary Fund, amending the necessary laws, and seeking the assistance of foreign experts, etc were the measures taken to recover from Thailand’s economic crisis, he also mentioned.


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