Focus on attracting investments instead of loans, President tells Min. Secretaries
Posted on May 6th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states that he is optimistic that the economy adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic could be re-built on a solid basis.
The Presidential Task Force in charge of the Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication has been entrusted with the responsibility of formulating a new economic model to achieve this objective. President directed that the Task Force should prepare economic plans with specified targets in different areas that come under its purview and implement them.

President expressed these views during a meeting with the members of the newly-appointed Task Force held at the Presidential Secretariat today (06) to discuss modalities relating to the resumption of civilian life and work from May 11th.

Apparel and tourism sectors which make a huge contribution to the national economy should be revitalized to suit the changing situations, President said.

President’s Media Division stated that the President is of the view that new opportunities are now open to attract tourists from countries where the COVID-19 virus has subdued.

Medical tourism can be promoted by highlighting the capabilities of an indigenous medical system that was used for the treatment of the virus-infected people. In order to encourage high-spending tourists, visa must be issued to them supplemented by an internationally recognized certificate, President noted.

President highlighted the possibility of strengthening the tourism sector by attracting long term travelers.

Members of the Task Force were directed to pay attention to promote domestic tourism so that the local hotel industry could be saved from collapse.

President also pointed out the possibility of attracting more foreign investors to invest in the Port City and the Industrial Zone in Hambantota. 
The Ministry Secretaries were entrusted with the responsibility of identifying opportunities for investments instead of seeking foreign loans.

During the last few weeks, a number of new innovations have been made in the country, and steps should be taken to introduce these products to the global market, said the President.

Head of the Task Force Basil Rajapaksa said that the newly instituted Task Force has the capability of fulfilling its mandate with a new vision in order to achieve objectives set out by the President. The Task Force will support new businesses and will extend the fullest cooperation to already existing large, medium and small scale enterprises, he stated.

Basil Rajapaksa stated that no loss of employment should take place both in the state and private sectors while the country is moving forward.   

Recalling the recent requests by Sri Lankan students studying in other countries to return home, President remarked that it was an indication of the large number of students going overseas to pursue higher education. This has caused an immense outflow of foreign exchange income, he noted.

President Rajapaksa said that measures should be taken to expand investment opportunities in the field of tertiary education in the country so that outgoing foreign exchange could be saved while providing educational facilities to foreign students within Sri Lanka.

A large amount of money is being spent to import medicines annually when most of these medicines can be manufactured locally, said the President. The Task Force was requested to prepare the necessary background to develop pharmaceutical production in the country.

The production of vegetable and other seeds required by farmers domestically was also discussed at the meeting.
Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, several Ministry Secretaries and a number of leading businessmen also joined the discussion.

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