Sri Lanka’s private sector being too risk averse: Finance Minister

Aug 03, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s private sector is being too risk averse and now is the time to come forward with proposals, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

He was speaking at the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2016 organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

“We have to take greater risk than what we are doing at the moment. We need a sense of competitiveness and productivity to come in,” he said.

Karunanayake said Sri Lanka’s private sector should take advantage of geographical location, new administration and policies that are laying the foundation for growth.

Unprecedented concessions during the previous regime and violations of administration and finance regulations had led to the bloated fiscal deficit Sri Lanka faced now, he said.

Out of the two million institutions registered in the country, including sole proprietorships, only 15,000 pay VAT, Karunanayake said. This situation is being corrected, with the current push to widen the tax base.

Karunanayake added that the business chambers should present a united front, and this would facilitate policy.

“I call upon the chambers to be united, and that will help us to make clear decisions on behalf of the economy.”