Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that the country should be set on an export-oriented economic track to successfully face its challenges concerning repayment of debts and economic development.
He was speaking at a book launch held at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute in Colombo yesterday where C .Narayanasuwami launched his book “ Managing Development: People Policies and Institutions”. Wickremesinghe was flanked by Central Bank Governor, C. Narayanasuwami, Indrajith Coomaraswamy, Dr Lloyd Fernando, K.H J Wijeyadasa, and Kanthi Gunathilaka at the head table. The gathering comprised many civil servants, law makers and experts in numerous fields.
The Prime Minister said that the Governor of the Central Bank knows that it had taken four years to stabilize the economy and had somehow managed it at the end.
“In managing the development from a controlled economy to a market economy we have to ask how China, which was a backward, controlled economy in 1976, has got ahead? How is it that Vietnam has got ahead?” he said.
“These are countries which have not emphasized on economic development at the cost of social development . Both had social development and economic development, which I think is one of the major issues we have to answer,” he pointed out.
“Countries such as China have both a political structure and an administrative structure. We are only reflecting on the administrative structure. That is the major issue we have to face and overcome,” he said.
He said in the last five years the government ensured a large amount of investment in the social sector, especially in school education and health. “We are moving towards 13 years of compulsory education. We have put money into development of physical infrastructure at the village level.”
“The major issue here is that what are the economic reforms that keep up with the aspirations of the people, he said:
“We have to focus now in the next five years on the rapid growth of economic growth, that is to say that we have to become an export economy. Asia has to be one of our markets. We have to see the markets around us, what are the sectors we are going specialize in. Of course we cannot do everything,” he emphasized.