Posted on February 22nd, 2018

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

President Maithripala Sirisena says he decided to establish National Economic Council to strengthen the national economy by formalizing the economic management in the country.

He said that the objectives of NEC are to increase the export income and develop the local industry.

 He pointed out there is a need for a stronger program for the development of the agriculture.  ( like Dudley??or for Dudley ?)

The National Economic Council aims at fulfilling the government’s responsibility for the development of industries”, he said.

He stated that the National Economic Council was established after the discussions with the representatives of World Bank, International Monetary Fund, local and international economic specialists and also Sri Lankan specialists, working abroad.

President Sirisena emphasized that the government will not sign any free trade agreement which will bring injustice or challenge to the local industries and entrepreneurs. ( ETCA ?)

He said some groups that are not related to the business sector are making the business community scared by giving them false information.

The government is getting into the free trade agreements with foreign countries only by protecting local industries,” he said ( humbug !)

.The President pointed out that the state patronage for the development of local industries was not sufficiently done in the past. He said the government will implement a new program within next few months to encourage and guide small and medium scale entrepreneurs.

Government is only talking about agriculture and livestock etc .It seems that concept of BLUE ECONOMY based on harnessing vast resources in the ocean surrounding our country is neglected ?

As an example emerging concept of the Blue Economy has been embraced by the Government of Seychelles as a mechanism to realise sustainable economic development based ,around an ocean-based economy.

  Seychelles intention is to implement the Blue Economy concept at the national level as a framework to foster an integrated approach for sustainable development programmes. The critical gap however, is the mechanism for its implementation at the national level. Limited, if any, practical information is currently available to countries, notably small states, wishing to implement these concepts.

This is predominately so, as information that does exist focuses primarily on land-based economic development or has a strong focus on conservation rather than on the sustainable use of the investment in an ocean-based economy for national benefit.

( Rice ,Live stock only ??? )

This roadmap will necessarily require the definition of short, medium and long-term actions across a broad range of sectors and will also require fundamental changes to the traditional institutional arrangements that exist to support  management of marine sectors and resources in Sri Lanka  

A coordinated, whole of Government approach will be a necessary condition for successful implementation of the Blue Economy.

Recent changes in the attitude of Sri Lankan Government should establish a dedicated agency to oversee completion and implementation for the Blue Economy Roadmap. 

However, while Sri Lanka  has existing capacity for some key sectors of the Blue Economy (e.g. fisheries) it lacks the overarching policy and strategic expertise required to make this transition effectively.

As such, the Government of Sri Lanka should seek the assistance of the Commonwealth Secretariat and the World Bank with the provision of a long-term in-country technical expert to assist the Government complete this transition effectively.In addition, up to two additional technical experts may be required on a short-term basis (6 months) to undertake specific technical activities that are expected to arise as the project progresses.


The project aims to assist the Government of Sri Lanka in developing and implementing a National Blue Economy Roadmap, the purpose being to establish the broad direction for future investment in and development of a sustainable ocean-based economy in our country.

The purpose of the specific request for long-term (and shorter-term) technical adviser(s), is to assist the Government of  Sri Lanka  to review, validate and implement the Roadmap and more importantly, to support Sri Lanka  in its transition to a more integrated ocean-based economy.

Question is whether newly appointed Technocrats have any idea about the Blue Economy ?

As an example a recent visit by Japanese Delegation initiated by the Prime Ministry’s office consisting private companies have expressed willingness, to develop  Fishery

Unfortunately some advisors in the PM’s office is only promoting implementation of   Ice making Plants on Land to conserve fish caught in the deep ocean.

What our so called experts have failed to understand is that 70% of the fish brought on shore is rotten because Sri Lanka has not developed a Mother Vessel Concept  to collect fish as soon as they are caught ,preserve them until they reach the shore .

Fishermen using Multiday fishing Vessels go to Ocean carrying few tons of Ice blocks to preserve fish .By the time they return after an almost three weeks, ice is melted and fish is not even good for making Dry Fish !

Almost all big fish you find in the market is not good for Human Consumption

When this delegation was taken to Dikovita Harbour ( a grandiose western style harbour facility built with foreign funding ) during wee hours of the day by my team ,they were aghast and disgusted to note that the fish unloaded in the morning by fishermen is not suitable for Human Consumption !

One polite young Japanese Lady murmured to us and asked Is this fish for dogs or for making chicken feed ?”

I took the liberty of calling PMs’ office and explained that installation of Hybrid Ice Making plants of Japanese Technology on land is not what we need.

We need MOTHER VESSELS to be anchored in the Ocean with Seawater Ice making Plants to collect them rather than waiting for three weeks

Mother vessels are Stationery Self sustained ISLANDS in the ocean which  can not only provide Ice, but Fuel  and .Emergency Assistance  to multy-day fishing vessels of 40 to 55 feet which hardly have Ice Making Plants on Board  ( They do ot even have generators on board but use batteries for night lights !)


The successful and sustainable implementation of the Blue Economy Strategic Roadmap will ultimately deliver the following outcomes:

  • Ocean ecosystems and biodiversity recovered and protected.
  • Increased investment in existing ocean-based economic sectors.
  • New data and knowledge on Sri Lankan ocean space available.
  • Marine-based aquaculture sector and marine biotechnology products and processes developed and implemented.
  • Protective measures and greater use of surveillance and enforcement tools provides greater protection for Seychelles.
  • Fisheries and aquaculture management improved through equitable, non-subsidized and sustainable practices.
  • Utilization of renewable energy from the ocean, ( i,e Harnessing Wave energy )
  • Surveillance of offshore waters strengthened through enhanced maritime domain awareness and law enforcement. The above is expected to contribute to the goals of the Government of Sri Lanka
  • Capacity built and new research/data sectors developed.
  • Streamlined implementation with an overarching system in place.

The main beneficiaries of the project will be the Ministry of Finance, Trade and The Blue Economy. In addition, a range of government agencies/ministries that have responsibility for the management of marine resources and sectors, including Marine resources, tourism, environment management, maritime transport, economic development and investment, maritime security and offshore petroleum will also benefit.In  this context Ministry of Tourism may  be amalgamated with Ministry in Charge of Fishery and Aqayatic Resources ?

A broad range of relevant stakeholders and citizens will ultimately benefit from this intervention, including existing marine industry sectors, marine user groups and local communities.


Implenantion of  accelerated blue economy program ( like Mahaweli for Farmers )

  • Comprehensive and strategic advice provided to the Minister of Finance, Trade and the Blue Economy, Ministry Secretary and relevant stakeholders including private Sector responsible for the Blue Economy.
  • Relevant documentation e.g. policy papers, project management documents, project status and evaluation documents prepared and submitted.
  • Review of the current Roadmap ( if any) including additional improvement/amendments in the content leading to the validation of the Road Map.
  • Stakeholder engagement and consultation facilitated as required, including the establishment of stakeholder bodies.
  • Strategies, focus areas and projects for implementation of the Blue Economy Roadmap identified, approved and implemented.
  • Resources (financial, human capacity and technical) necessary to execute projects for implementation of the Blue Economy Roadmap, identify, solicited and secured.
  • Strategic partnerships between Sri Lanka and our neighbours such as Maldives and Seychelles and relevant partners including, but not limited to: development agencies, private sector organizations, and marine research institutes, established and maintained.
  • Consistent implementation of the Roadmap across government and its respective agencies, in particular, working closely with Sri Lankan Ministry of Fisheries , Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy  Ministry , , Ministry of Investment, Entrepreneurship Development and National Agency for Aquatic Resources etc
  • Blue Economy roadmap and policy for Sri |Lanka should be promoted domestically, regionally and internationally.

Dr Sarath Obeysekera



  1. Ratanapala Says:

    Sirisena’s promises are just that – promises! All local experts just revolve around and close to politicians expecting crumbs that are thrown at them in terms of positions of authority. This way they too can amass wealth similar to their benefactors the politicians. Most of the local experts only have paper qualifications but not real experience. This is the reason for rotten fish for they are all rotten from top to bottom!

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