Sri Lanka should end ‘poor’ mentality: President Rajapakse

April 08, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lankans should stop thinking themselves as being ‘poor’ and develop a mentality that they are stakeholders with some means in taking the country forward, President Mahinda Rajapakse said.

In 2007 Sri Lanka’s economy expanded by an estimated 6.8 percent against 7.7 percent a year earlier.

“We have two big challenges. Saving the country from terrorism and balanced regional growth,” President Rajapakse said at the release of annual report of Sri Lanka’s central bank.

He said Sri Lanka has maintained a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of more than 6.0 percent for three years running.

The latest surveys showed that poverty has fallen from 23 percent to 15 percent. GDP per person was 1617 US dollars, which was near to that of the Philippines

“These are big victories. They are not private victories. They are national victories,” President Rajapakse said.

“We are no longer a poor country. As a country we are slowly going forward as a middle income country.

“We have to stop having a mentality of being poor. We need to think about ourselves as stakeholders with some means.”

In the past several months Sri Lanka has cut several subsidies, especially i