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18 November, 2015 08:58 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last night said that with much headway made in terms of key political reforms, the next immediate focus of the new Government was economic and development, with the Friday’s presentation of 2016 Budget being the starting point.
Speaking at the Business Today Top 25 Awards ceremony, the Premier said the economy has weakened considerably over the years and Sri Lanka has lost its competitiveness. “We have to boost our competitiveness and be part of the global value chain as well as boost investments both local and foreign,” Wickremesinghe said.
Noting that the external environment wasn’t very rosy, the Premier revealed Sri Lanka will have to enter into economic and technology agreements with India, China and Singapore as well as a Free Trade Agreement with the US. This is in addition to expected to boost following the lifting of ban on fish exports to the EU and regaining of GSP+ next year.
The need to boost rural economy, implement next generation reforms and enhancing skills and vocational training along with improving quality of education was also stressed.
“These are challenges that Sri Lanka cannot run away from. Amidst gloom and doom globally there are many bright spots. Let’s us make Sri Lanka one of those bright spots sooner than later. I believe in doing what has to be done and talk about it later,” Prime Minister told the BT Awards attended by business leaders, Ministers, professionals and others. 
John Keells Holdings Plc retained its number one position in the BT Top 25. Commercial Bank was placed second and HNB was third.

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