Sri Lanka urges private sector to spread benefits of export success

Dec 04, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's government is trying to better spread the benefits of economic growth and reduce income disparities which have widened in recent years, a senior minister said. The government wants to help the private sector to improve its links with farmers in outlying rural communities, Minister of Export Development and International Trade G L Peiris said.

"Export performance has been commendable with a growth this year of 12-14 percent over 2006," he said.

But the government wants to ensure economic growth bring benefits to the rural economy to provide employment and livelihood opportunities to rural communities, he told an exporters' forum on Monday.

He called for more emphasis on value addition, links with farmers and use of the out-grower system, branding and packaging.

The private sector needs to extend the success it has achieved in adding value in rubber and to some extent tea, to other exports like gems, spices and leather products which are potential growth areas.

One of the island's strengths was the calibre of its human resources which could be used for value addition which creates significant opportunities for employment, Peiris said

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