JVP leader calls for more investment in education, health and sports sectors
Education, health and sports sectors should draw more investments if Sri Lanka is to stay in the world labour market in the future, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna leader MP Anu r a Ku m a r a Dissanayake said.
He was speaking on Thursday at a seminar titled, ' The Way Forward For Sri Lanka. What Next?'
Pointing out that the foreign exchange Sri Lankan migrant workers send home helped close the trade deficit, Mr. Dissanayake said Sri Lanka's human resources needed to be further developed if we were to compete with other countries. To do this, the country needed to devise a new economic strategy, taking into consideration its location, economic assets, human resources and history.
“As the country does not have sufficient economic resources to invest in heavy industries, primary industries should be developed with a view to upgrading the living standards of the people,” Mr. Dissanayake said.
He said speedy transport and communication facilities should be built between the v i l l age and the town. “Currently Sri Lanka is facing five major crises; the foreign debt burden, the trade deficit, decline in the production sector, income inequality and the fiscal deficit," he added.
Mr. Dissanayake said 53 percent of the country's income was exploited by the top 20 percent while the lowest 20 percents received only 4.4 percent and this pointed to a massive inequality in the income distribution.
He said in 1978, Sri Lanka accounted for 0.5 percent of the global market, but this has now dropped to 0.045 percent. He noted that the commodity market in the country depended on tea, rubber and coconut, so when the market for those declined, the entire economy of the country collapsed.
Dr. Anil Jayantha, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Management Studies & Commerce of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, said that the Sri Lankan economy was in trouble mainly because of structural and policy issues.
He said local businessmen had to face many hardships due to taxes, rules and regulations and competition with other international and foreign companies.
He said politicians and other authorities tended to turn a blind eye on this situation and that there was an urgent need to create a boost for local entrepreneurs as they would be the engine of our economy in the future. Dr. Jayantha pointed out that Sri Lanka had the innovative ability to face any local or foreign challenge.