JVP leader calls for more in­vest­ment in ed­u­ca­tion, health and sports sec­tors

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

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.

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