Sri Lanka on a very comprehensive reconciliation, reintegration and reconstruction drive: Dr. Nonis

Friday, 6 June 2014 00:44 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in UK Dr. Chris Nonis told the London Forum that post-war, the country has been on a very comprehensive process of reconciliation, reintegration, rebuilding and reconstruction. He also emphasised that the hosting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) was a highlight of the country’s post-war achievements and openness. Following is the full text of the welcome speech by High Commissioner Dr. Chris Nonis: It gives me great pleasure to say a few words of welcome here today at this Investor Forum. I think it’s particularly appropriate that this happens at this time, a week away from celebrating five years of peace in the country. As you know we had a 28-year bitter conflict with terrorists, but in May 2009 we achieved peace in our country, under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and finally all the people of Sri Lanka are free of the autocracy and hegemony of terrorism. We have firmly embarked on a very comprehensive process of reconciliation, reintegration, rehabilitation and reconstruction programme in the country, to ensure that every one of all races, ethnicities and religions reap the dividends of peace and we are really trying to build a pluralistic and inclusive society. I think that if you look at the GDP growth of the country, we have achieved an over 7% GDP growth rate. But what is very interesting is that if you look at the regional growth rate of the previously conflict affected area, it has been over 25%, and in terms of other indicators we are building other conducive macroeconomic environment and we have got mid-single-digit inflation and single-digit interest rates, we have improved the balance of payments, we have narrowed the fiscal deficit, and we have got a stable currency. In addition to that of course, as many of you know we just hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, in November last year and that was again an excellent index of confidence in the country, we had delegations from over 53 countries visiting Sri Lanka and that of course was preceded by the Youth Forum, People’s Forum and Business Forum. The Commonwealth Business Forum actually had the highest attendance of any Business Forum held previously. It is very salutatory to note that the theme was ‘Growth with Equity – Inclusive Development,’ this is a theme in-line with President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s vision of ‘pro-poor’ growth, where we take measures to narrow the rural-urban divide and take measures to ensure that we can all be stakeholders in the developmental process.