Export Benefits

Sri Lanka should ensure that growth in exports last year spread its benefits wider to reduce poverty and unemployment, a senior minister said as inflation hit a new high in the island. The government’s export policy has been remarkably successful in the past year with an across-the-board development of exports by 15 percent, minister of export development and international trade G L Peiris said.

Some sectors like electronics had grown by almost 80 percent, he told the annual general meeting of the National Chamber of Commerce.

“But we’re cannot be satisfied with that,” Peiris said. “What is more important is to ensure the benefits of export success percolate down to the grassroots levels.

“It is not enough for Sri Lanka to graduate from least development country (LDC) status to middle income status with a per capita income (PCI) of $1,317.”

The minister’s remarks came as Sri Lanka’s inflation hit 20.3 percent in January 2008, following on from 20.5 percent in January 2007 as the government printed money to bridge its deficit.

Economic analysts say it indicates a 20 percent decline in the real value of wages of workers especially in productive export sectors as