We are not protectionist!: Dr. PB

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:42 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  •  Finance Ministry Secretary speaks up on Terminal Handling Charges, says “let transparency prevail”
  • Tells Exporters Forum 4Q growth will be as good as Q3
  • Says even a half-a-percentage global recovery is enough for Lankan exporters
Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera yesterday declared that Sri Lanka is not protectionist-and let transparency prevail when it comes to Terminal Handling Charges (THC). “We don’t have to be too smart but smart in the right direction. Some criticise us saying this government is protectionist and we discourage imports. This is wrong. What we are promoting is competitive business,” Dr. Jayasundera told a special session ‘Budget 2014: Importance to Industrialists & Exporters’ organised by the Ministry of Industry at the EDB Auditorium. The session was packed with more than 130 keen industrialists and exporters who converged at EDB to learn about the Government’s measures for them in Budget 2014. He told the exporters that some factors of supportive Budget 2014 moves, included changes to Terminal Handling Charges (THC) from 2014. “You don’t need to pay Terminal Handling Charges. Let transparency prevail. If imports are not competitive, then exports can’t be competitive. If the market wants to say freight charges are high, let the market do so. Some shipping lines and freight forwarders will be angry but nobody needs to be angry, as we create an enabling environment. We have now gazetted the Terminal Handling Charges,” Dr. Jayasundera said. In a lengthy elaboration of the 2014 budgetary measures serving industries and exports, Secretary Jayasundera continued: “Some criticise us saying this government is protectionist and we discourage imports. This is wrong. What we are promoting is competitive business. That’s why we are talking to many countries such as Brazil, India, China, Saudi Arabia etc rather than a few.” “But we also don’t want to export below cost. Let us do value addition. Economists who give wrong interpretations to our policies are unfair. We don’t have to be too smart, but smart in the right direction. We want the business and economy to grow. There must be trade maximisation on equal grounds. The economy is stable and strong. I am pretty sure that the 2013 fourth quarter growth is as good as the third. For this year therefore we could have more than 7% growth,” Dr. Jayasundera said. “Unemployment and poverty is less than 5% and inflation is less than 6%. Therefore we seem to have the ‘triple five’ – almost 5% in all three – poverty, unemployment and inflation. Half-a-percentage of world economic recovery is enough for you! We listen to you and we help you -so tell us. “A stronger economy will lead to stronger currency. Exchange rates need to be predictable. In addition to the $ 20 billion export goal of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he also wants three industries to generate $ 10 billion by 2020 - Tea, rubber and apparel.