Sri Lanka has been able to build a positive international image subsequent to its ability to make changes to the economy during the last two years, said Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake.
The Minister points out such changes in the local economy have been recognised internationally although it is not palatable to certain extremist politicians.
Minister Karunanayake stated these views during a ceremony held at the Finance Ministry yesterday to mark the conferment of the award for the Best Finance Minister of the Asia Pacific Region on him by an internationally recognised London-based Financial Magazine, The Banker.
Speaking further, Minister Ravi Karunanayake expressed the following views: “We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this victory without the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. I made a request soon after I assumed duty on 10 January 2015. That is to work together like one family and take the ministry activities forward. My request was honoured. Certain groups in Sri Lanka looked at our work with a crooked eye but our work has been assessed and appreciated internationally. This award is clear evidence of our good work and our journey forward. We should use this international recognition in building up our country.
“A country cannot run on loans. Loans should be turned into investment. When independence was declared for our country in 1948, Japan remained equal to Sri Lanka. However, per capita income in Japan is currently $ 55,000 while ours is $ 4,000. What is the barrier standing before us? It is the way of our thinking, our work and the way of how we negotiate with the rest of the world. Therefore, we have a good opportunity to think anew.
“When we assumed office, the country’s revenue was not sufficient to repay loan installments. But unity and the commitment by the people helped us to make achievements. We are now earning more than that of the recurrent expenditure. Therefore we do not need to obtain loans to repay already taken loans. The difficulties faced by the people today are a commitment that is made to ensure a better tomorrow. The existing taxes will be reduced within a short time and benefits will be passed on to the people soon,” the Minister said.
Parliamentarians Nalin Bandara and Hector Appuhamy, Acting Secretary of the Finance Ministry Chandra Ekanayake, Deputy Secretaries S.R. Atygalle and A.R. Deshapriya and several ministry officials participated in this event.