Sri Lanka is presently at a significant stage in terms of the socio-economic trails of the country. In order to assist policy-makers in this situation, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has developed an action plan and framework to reach a foreseeable future economic growth. It includes modest steps that can be taken in order to reach an 8.0% growth in the rate of real GDP of the country within a period of five years. This translates to becoming a 134 billion dollar economy by 2025.
The panelists who addressed the topic of ‘Re-calibrating Sri Lanka’s Economic Trajectory towards 2025,’ at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019 shared insightful particulars with relevance to the given topic. The panel involved Shri Suresh Prabhu, former Minister of Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation of Government of India and Official Emissary of the Prime Minister of India in the G7 and G20 Forum, Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka and Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Finance, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, graced the occasion as the Chief Guest and Guest of Honour respectively.
Primarily, Sri Lanka needs to be prepared for recalibration. For instance, by having a fiscal policy that confines debt, improving the business climate and making reforms to boost private investments and productivity. The nation also needs to invest in human capital through expertise and training
According to Dr. Hans, the economic trajectory of Sri Lanka could be recalibrated by, “Taking stock of strengths, recognizing challenges before us and also doing so on a granular understanding of the macro economy and global dynamics.” There is no room for attitudes of negativity. Thus, dimensions of positivity need to be applied, collectivism of the private sector and the government must come into force and national integrity needs to be established in order to achieve the feasible vision. Besides, the speed at which plans would be executed without procrastinating is crucial.
Minister Samaraweera pointed out that reconciliation is an absolute necessity for economic development, there cannot be sustainable economic development without democracy and the rule of law and the foreign policy of the country must be based on openness and confident engagement. Moreover, the Prime Minister mentioned, “In the next five years, the economy has to be fully export-oriented and government policies must ensure it’s a private led growth, focusing on tradable goods,” which would amplify the economic performance of the country. Thereby, Sri Lanka needs to concentrate on upholding its macroeconomic stability while building a way forward.
Overall, Sri Lanka needs to have a leapfrog trajectory that will make it an advanced economy, rather than stagnating in the middle-income trap like most countries do. The country needs to consolidate and continue moving forward, strengthening the growth frame of the economy.