July 04, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister said that the island needs to fast track reforms as part of ambitious efforts to be ranked at least 70th in the ease of doing business rankings by 2020.
The Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at the launch of the road map on Investment Climate Reforms in Sri Lanka at Temple Trees, said that several new laws would be introduced to ensure the reforms would be implemented.
“This is Sri Lanka’s last chance,” Wickremesinghe said. “Sri Lanka was only behind Japan, Korea and Malayasia in 1977 but now when I look back there are only a few behind us. China was behind us, now we only have Afghanistan, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.”
The island needs to look at attracting new investments and move away from infrastructure-driven growth which was financed by borrowings, he said.
Sri Lanka is presently ranked 110th in the Ease Doing Business Index rankings.
The Government that came to power in 2015 appointed eight task forces that focus on areas of priority covered in the ease of doing business rankings — they are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency to ensure needed reforms are implanted.
“Improving on the Doing Business Index ranking from 110 to 70 in three years is an ambitious but achievable target,” Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama said.
“These reforms are focused on attracting, retaining and integrating foreign investments to the country.”
The World Bank has said that the Doing Business Index is a key indicator of a country’s good track record.
“This is a bench mark followed by investors. It is like a report card of a school boy or girl,” Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, country director for Sri Lanka and Maldives who also spoke at the event said.
“One must also remember that the index is published not to put any country in to shame but to do changes and reform.”
The premier added that the government would be announcing a list of investments next week.