By Farook Fawas
I write in response to the advertisements in the newspapers requesting proposals for the budget 2011, please find below my proposals for the same and the governments should take this as long term plans. I have just made the points short as it does not need much explanation for the finance experts.
Sri Lanka needs to have at least one or two heavy industries to support the economic growth and become the South Asia’s wonder. Therefore I propose one of the following would be suitable based on the local demand and the potential for exports.
Ship/Boat Building (Refer point 3 below)
Motor Vehicles Aluminum etc.
Given the Geographic location, Sri Lanka should be a leading exporter of fish in the region. Sri Lanka should stop importing any kinds of fish.
1.Increase sea transport
Build mini harbours and we can use the sea transport mainly between the coastal and the adjoining cities to reduce the traffic and reduce the import of motor vehicles. As per point one above, we should be manufacturing boats for us and for the neighbouring Maldives and other countries in the region.
Tourism is one thing that the government is already working very hard on developing. However, it will be good if we invite International hotel chains who are members of the LHW (Leading Hotels of the World) to make boutique hotels and resorts in the country. In the meantime we also need to encourage private sector participation in this process from diversified sectors.
This would also reduce the brain drain where plenty of professionals belonging to the hospitality industry are working out of the country. We should have USD 1,000 and above per bed night range hotels in Sri Lanka. These hotels only pay well to the staff as well; thereby the local earning potential will increase.
3. Small Industries Development
Any economist would agree that strong network of small Industries is crucial for sustainable economic growth of any country. While various activities are taking place for the development of the SME sector in Sri Lanka, my proposal is to start postgraduate courses to attract the graduates and develop their entrepreneurship skills. Teach them to start and manage small industries. On completion of the course with a project work to start up a small industry, they could receive assistance from the state sector banks to start small industries.
4.Connect South India by road
The only road connection that we could have to another country is to India which is a fast developing especially the state of Tamil Nadu. This would bring in added advantages more than the disadvantages. We could take the model between Bahrain and Jeddah and have a park in the middle therefore it would attract lots of tourism from both sides.
If the government could be transparent enough in key decision making and strengthen the Bribery commission and Auditor General’s Department it would bring along the public support and encourage full participation of the private sector towards the growth targets.