Milk & Honey

Treasury Secretary says GDP growth will surpass six percent this year but independent economists give sharply lower forecasts. Treasury Secretary says GDP growth will surpass six percent this year but independent economists give sharply lower forecasts. Dr P. B. Jayasundera says higher tourism earnings and a better performance from agriculture will help the economy post high growth.

Tourism and fisheries sectors shrunk in the first quarter after the tsunami destroyed costal infrastructure December last year.

Economists are however skeptical Sri Lanka can surpass six percent growth even if there is a sharp rebound in tourism and fishing.

“As at now the economy is growing at 6 percent; this is year Sri Lanka will grow definitely at 6 percent,” says Jayasundera.

Economists point out that GDP grew by only 5.2 percent in the first half of the year requiring a growth of 7 percent in the second half for yearly growth to come to 6 percent.

Dr. Jayasundera didn’t give a forecast for second half growth. But he said many macro indicators are turning positive.

“We are also seeing healthy features. Inflation is moderating on a year on year basis; it is also on the decline; monetary policy has been active; fiscal policy have been managed and the many export industries are growing over 12 percent; remittances from tourism and foreign remittances are on the rise; debt services are on a manageable limits and the buoyant economy is on a growth path; next year we are targeting an equally large growth path with industrial, services and agricultural activities bouncing back with the construction sector assuming a revival,” he says.

High economic growth has eluded Sri Lanka due to imprudent fiscal management and inward looking economic policies.

Sri Lanka has only achieved eight percent growth in two years since independence once in 1968 and again in 1978.

-LBR Newsdesk: LBOEmail@vanguardlk.com