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Economy

PM wants to make SL “strongest economic hub” in region

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe/ pmoffice.gov.lk

Plans have been formulated to make Sri Lanka the strongest economic hub in the region by transforming the whole country into a megapolis through the process of urbanisation, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday (3 April).

Speaking at a Mega Minds event held at Temple Trees, the Premier said that the country will be converted to a value-addition production platform once Sri Lanka becomes the hub of the Indian Ocean.

According to a statement issued by the PM’s Office, the Mega Minds initiative seeks to “create an awareness among intellectuals, public servants and media persons on urban development activities in the country.”

Insisting that the Mega Minds programme would intervene on behalf of all Sri Lankans, Wickremesinghe defended his government’s approach to development. Everyone had visualised what the government was going to do and the programmes planned for the future, he said, adding that a country could not be developed in a short span of five years.

“The last five years was spent on resolving the huge debt problem. This year USD 5.9 billion had to be spent on repaying debts. The country’s primary and current accounts have reached positive levels. Investors look at a country’s debt situation before making new investments,” said Wickremesinghe.

The Government has allocated enormous funds towards the education and health Sectors while repaying massive debts, while education for children has been made mandatory for 13 years, he went on to say, adding that economic zones are coming up in Hambantota and Bingiriya and that an economic corridor would be set up linking Colombo and Trincomalee.

“The region from Mannar to Trincomalee will be brought under development. The road network linking Mannar, Trincomalee through Kandy and Dambulla and Colombo and Hambantota, will promote developed economic zones.The development of the Colombo Port and its Southern terminal was important in this regard,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the Northern Port would be developed towards the Wattala and Ja-Ela areas. Plans have also been formulated to develop the Trincomalee Port.

“Today, certain people question the performance of the Government during the last five years. What the Government did was to use the five years to lay a solid foundation for the 10 year development plan,” he said.