|Private sector should play a pivotal role in country’s economic development – FM Rohitha Bogollagama|
|Friday, 26 June 2009 10:39|
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama was the Chief Guest at the International Conference on Trade Facilitation held today (26 June 2009) by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Minister Bogollagam in his remarks highlighted that the Sri Lanka Government, by defeating LTTE terrorism, has brought about an environment that is conducive for the greater growth of the economy. The Minister stressed that the private sector must now take advantage of the opportunities created in the post conflict scenario in Sri Lanka .
It was noted by the Minister that Sri Lanka’s economy has strengths in the agricultural, industrial and service sectors. Sri Lanka’s economy has shown great resilience even in the face of LTTE terrorism and the December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. The Minister was confident that in a vibrant new environment, the Sri Lanka economy will achieve even greater heights.
The Minister stressed the attractiveness of Sri Lanka’s connectivity as a location. Positioned at the centre point of South Asia, both politically, as the Chair of SAARC and geographically, Sri Lanka is also the centre point between the Far East and Middle East. Sri Lanka’s connectivity is enhanced by its developed physical infrastructure and services, including air services, sea routes and emerging ports such as Hambantota and Colombo South. Sri Lanka ’s solid infrastructure improves the potential for trade facilitation. In terms of the international framework on trade, Sri Lanka has espoused liberal economic policies. The private sector has been encouraged to act as the engine of growth.
In September, the Minister said, Sri Lanka will be taking over the Chair of the AsiaIn n Cooperation Dialogue (ACD), which has a membership of 33 countries. The ACD Ministerial Meeting will be hosted in Colombo in October. Sri Lanka is selected by its peers to receive such opportunities because it positions itself as a country that is business friendly.
Minister Bogollagama highlighted in detail the opportunities available for business under the free trade agreements signed by Sri Lanka with India and with Pakistan respectively.
In conclusion, the Minister noted that the International Conference was timely given that Sri Lanka is at an important juncture and it is the right time for the private sector to take the lead in the post conflict scenario, and that the Government would assist in such efforts aimed at developing the Country’s economy.
The Commonwealth Secretariat is assisting the government of Sri Lanka, through the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry to highlight recent trade facilitation initiatives undertaken by international organizations, for the benefit of Sri Lankan trade facilitation practitioners and policy makers in both the private and the public sectors.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
26 June 2009