Transport Service Management, Power and Energy Minister Mahinda Amaraweera – Pic by Lasantha Kumara
- Public feedback requested on draft
- Says developing transport network high priority of Govt.
- Welcomes investment in bus fleet, rail network and tech use in transport
By Charumini de Silva
Transport Management Services Minister Mahinda Amaraweera yesterday said a draft version of the National Policy on Transport had been submitted to Cabinet for approval.
The draft, which has been formulated by the ministry with the participation of concerned stakeholders, seeks to promote the efficient movement of people and goods in support of sustainable economic development and social inclusion to provide access to all, provide a safe and secure transport system which minimises damage, injuries and loss of life and to protect environment sustainability and ensure optimum use of existing resources in terms of transport infrastructure equipment across all networks, modes and users.
The disclosure of the draft National Policy on Transport was made by the Minister during his keynote at the inauguration of the conference on ‘Sustainable Mobility, Traffic and Public Transport Solutions and Logistics’, organised by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Sri Lanka (AHK Sri Lanka).
“There have been wide-ranging consultations on the draft policy. I wish to convey the appreciation and gratitude of my ministry to all who participated in that process. However, I feel that further attempts are needed to refine the policy and I would like to appeal to the members of this audience as well as any other individuals or organisations to bring to our notice any weaknesses that may still exist in the draft policy,” he added.
Pointing out that road transport was the dominant transport mode in the country, he said it catered to around 93% of passenger transport demand and 97% of goods transportation demand. The sector also accounts for 10% of the country’s GDP and around 6% of employment.
He also admitted the transport sector was responsible for more than half of the greenhouse gas emissions in Sri Lanka and accounted for over 16% of the import bill of the country through the import of vehicles and fuel.
“Our Government has assigned high priority to developing the transport network and to providing an efficient and environmentally friendly system to the public. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has also outlined this in his manifesto and my ministry has been given the responsibility of managing transport services and is taking speedy action to fulfil these promises,” Amaraweera said.
He said a number of institutions connected with road transportation, such as the Department of Motor Traffic, Department of Railways, Sri Lanka Transport Board, National Transport Commission, National Transport Medical Institute, the National Council for Road Safety and all institutions that function under his ministerial portfolio were working together to implement the promises.
Commending the serious interest shown by a large number of German firms in the modernisation and development of the transport sector of Sri Lanka, the Minister said the Government welcomed investments to develop the bus fleet, modernise the railway network and associated infrastructure, increase energy efficiency and make better use of ICT in transport operations in the immediate future.
Head of the Mobility Concepts, Transport Policy unit of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Dr. Hesselmann, German Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Jörn Rohde and Chief Delegate of German Industry and Commerce Andreas Hergenröther also spoke at the forum.