Sri Lanka govt rules out more protection, subsidies for business

Apr 02, 2010 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government cannot give more protection and subsidies for local and export businesses who must instead be more productive and innovative, Treasury Secretary P B Jayasundera said. He told the National Chamber of Exporters the government has delivered peace by ending the Tamil Tiger war and begun building key infrastructure like roads, ports, airports and power plants.

It was now up to businesses to be entrepreneurial and more productive and make the country a more advanced economy, he said.

The government wants to increase earnings from more value-added exports and services to accelerate economic growth.

Jayasundera was responding to calls from the NCE for electricity subsidies to make exporters more competitive, release of state land for businesses like export agriculture and curbs on imports to encourage local production.

Sri Lankan businesses face the highest electricity costs in the region and have also suffered from years of high inflation which hit 28 percent last year but has now been reduced to single-digit levels.

Jayasundera said “break-neck” economic growth was required to make up for time and opportunity lost during the 30-year ethnic war and m