President announces host of proposals to boost industrial sector expansion

Thursday, 20 June 2024 00:12 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}



  • Declares establishment of new development bank, Economic Commission to boost industrial growth at inauguration of ‘International Industry Expo 2024’
  • Insists development of country cannot be achieved via constant litigation
  • Says Sri Lanka must be driven by a cohesive national policy

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced a host of initiatives to empower small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) and boost the industry sector.

Speaking at the inauguration of the first ‘International Industry Expo’ organised by the Industrial Development Board (IDB), the President announced the establishment of a new development bank with the opportunity to obtain loans at low interest rates aimed at providing financial support to industrialists in Sri Lanka. 

He also revealed plans to set up an Economic Commission to oversee these activities, along with the creation of a new institution called ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ to empower small and medium entrepreneurs. 

The International Industry Expo 2024, is the first event of its kind with over 1,000 international industrial entrepreneurs from various countries, along with local large-scale and medium-scale industrialists, who are participating in the event running till 23 June at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike International Conference Hall.

The President highlighted the pivotal role of the manufacturing sector in transition and the need for it to evolve into a competitive and digital economy aligned with the goals of zero carbon emissions and fostering a sustainable economic growth.

Wickremesinghe also noted the obstacles posed by frequent legal challenges to development initiatives and emphasised the need for a consistent national policy to foster progress.

“Some individuals have become accustomed to taking every development initiative to Court, which hinders progress. Our country can only be developed through a cohesive national policy,” Wickremesinghe stated.

The President reflected on Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, stating: “We were once a bankrupt nation. However, in the coming weeks, we anticipate shedding this label entirely. Our focus must now shift to debt repayment strategies, as we aim to settle outstanding loans over an extended period, ideally extending until 2042.”

Wickremesinghe also stressed on the importance of transitioning from an import-based economy to an export-oriented one. “Given that we are primarily an import-based economy, we continually need foreign exchange to cover these imports. Without sufficient foreign exchange reserves, we are compelled to resort to taking loans, which can potentially lead to another economic crisis within the next 15-20 years. Hence, our current focus is on transitioning to an export-oriented economy.”

The President also commended Industries Minister Dr. Ramesh Pathirana for his diligent efforts in spearheading the development of the industrial sector in the country. The industry exhibition, being the largest in the country, is a significant initiative under his stewardship.

The expo features 1,307 exhibition booths, including a separate green industrial zone for the first time. Additionally, an experimental academic conference on green industrialisation will be held during the exhibition.

Minister Dr. Pathirana commends all industrialists in the country for their perseverance in advancing the industry despite numerous obstacles. “They deserve recognition from the nation for their efforts,” he added.

Dr. Pathirana also appreciated the President’s strong commitment by establishing garment factories and facilitating free trade agreements to promote the industrial