Economic Transformation Bill first step in revitalisation: President

Saturday, 8 June 2024 01:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

President Ranil Wickremesinghe officiates at inauguration ceremony of Cephalosporin Injectable Plant and unveiling of “Meldol” Reliable Relief Manufacturing Facility in Ekala along with officials of Melwa Group of Companies


President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Thursday announced that the Government has initiated the first step towards economic stability by submitting the Economic Transformation Bill. 

He stressed that regardless of which Government or leader takes power, it is imperative to adhere to this agreement to effectively rebuild the national economy. The President emphasised that a proper plan is essential for addressing the country’s economic challenges.

President Wickremesinghe made these remarks during the inauguration ceremony of the Cephalosporin Injectable Plant and the unveiling of the “Meldol” Reliable Relief Manufacturing Facility in Ekala.

The new production facilities, initiated by Sands Active Ltd., under the Melwa Group, represent a significant boost to the pharmaceutical sector. President Wickremesinghe, who unveiled the plaque and inaugurated the factory, also took an observation tour of the new facilities.

During the event, Melwa Group Chairman Periyasamipillai Anandarajah presented a token of appreciation to President Wickremesinghe. In his address, the President pledged to work over the next three years to create a prosperous future for the nation’s youth, who currently face uncertainty.

The President also expressed his gratitude to the Melwa Group for its substantial contributions to the national economy across various sectors. He highlighted that these projects have generated numerous job opportunities for the youth, significantly benefiting the country’s workforce and the economic development.

Addressing the gathering President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said, “Today, Sands Active Private Limited has launched a new drug called “Meldol”, which is used for treating headaches. We commend the company for investing in the construction of an additional pharmaceutical factory on these premises.

We also supported the decision made by the former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, to establish a buy-back facility for medicines. This institution exists today as a result of that decision. This development is beneficial to the industry and represents a positive situation.

In fact, a factory supplying medicines to the local market has started as a result of this initiative. However, Sands Active has already decided to export a portion of its products, recognising their export potential.

They have opened a large number of factories so far, and we have encouraged them to focus more on exports. This is just one example. The Melwa Group has launched numerous other products and ventures, significantly contributing to the strengthening of the Sri Lankan economy. This group has expanded rapidly over the last few years and has been very successful.

Today, this company has created many job opportunities for young people, and we are grateful for that. This country urgently needs good jobs like these. Unemployment has become a significant problem, with many people earning low incomes. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis, new job opportunities have not emerged in recent years, leading to four years of persistent unemployment.

As a result, we are now facing the dual challenge of reducing unemployment and alleviating the financial burden on our citizens. According to an analysis by the Department of Statistics in 2019, the country’s multidimensional poverty rate was 15%, which later increased to 25%. If this trend continues, the youth of this country will face a bleak future. Our primary task is to build a better future for our youth, which requires fostering rapid development in the country.

Many of the young people today are distancing themselves from party politics because it fails to address the real political issues and provide solutions. We must all acknowledge this reality and move forward to find effective solutions to these problems.

In a few months, we will emerge from bankruptcy as a country. We are currently engaged in discussions not only with the IMF but also with creditor countries and private organisations. However, our efforts cannot stop here. Remaining stagnant will only lead to a relapse. 

Therefore, we must continue to progress. As we move forward, making false promises serves no purpose. Everyone can make empty promises, but today, we have a real task at hand. Let’s focus on fulfilling our responsibilities instead of making empty promises on public platforms.

So far, the Government has presented the Economic Transformation Bill, which outlines several goals. By 2027, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) should grow at a rate of 5%, reversing the current negative trend. After 2027, we aim to achieve an economic growth rate of 8%. As the country develops, it is crucial to maintain this 8% growth rate for at least 15 years. Many countries including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Bangladesh, have achieved this level of development. Our country should also strive to reach that status.”