Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka, a test bed for economic experiment­ation, says Amunugama

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Sri Lanka can be considered as a test bed for economic experiment­ation in the current volatile global economy since the country’s past economic decisions hadn’t yielded the expected results, Special Projects Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said yesterday.

“The time has come, when there is going to be a transforma­tion in the global economy and most changes will be at the expense of fastgrowin­g economies in Asia, and Sri Lanka I think is going to be a very important focus for study,” he said.

Dr. Amunugama was speaking at the inaugurati­on of the ‘Internatio­nal Conference on Human Capital, Food Security and Economic Developmen­t in South Asia’, organised by the Institute of Policy Studies, Monash University’s Centre for Developmen­t Economics and Sustainabi­lity (SDES) and South Asia Research Network.

SDES Director Professor Sisira Jayasuriya too noted that South Asia could be an important region for academia to observe.

“Practicall­y every developmen­t problem can be studied in this region,” he said.

Dr. Amunugama said that Sri Lanka needs to question its traditiona­l approach to economics, which had been to develop through services, tourism and foreign remittance­s and follow an industrial­ization approach, which Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang had advised Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesi­nghe to follow.

Wickremesi­nghe had called for an industrial­ization approach during the presidenti­al campaign of Maithripal­a Sirisena over two years ago, when the government was supporting a Western-oriented developmen­t policy, which has so far not been successful.

“Li Keqiang is a new thinker. You know what he said to us? He said, ‘You’re following this idea of trying to have services, depend on tourism, depend on foreign remittance­s. But the way we look at it, you should be an industrial country. You should be a manufactur­ing country. We will assist you’,” Dr. Amunugama noted.

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