A Ten-Point Program for Sri Lanka’s Economic Stabilisation and Equitable Growth presented to the public
Yesterday at the Colombo Hilton hotel, Samagi Janabalwegaya, the main opposition party in parliament, presented their 10-point programme titled the Blue Print, which outlines economic stabilisation and equitable growth. Mr. Sajith Premadas led a team of economic experts, including Dr. Harsha de Silva, Iran Wickramatna, Dr. Rohan Pallewatta and Kabir Hashim, in presenting the programme, which was attended by many distinguished personalities from the diplomatic community, business community, politicians and the general public.
The economic crisis in Sri Lanka was not unexpected. Decades of misguided policies and half-hearted reforms have weakened our foundation. Sudden global crises pushed us to the brink of disaster. Mismanagement drove us over the edge. The state is bankrupt today, inflation is rampant, the economy is faltering, and our socio-political order is in disarray. We can, however, recover: we can reclaim our footing, reform our economy, and rebuild our country blue print stressed.
SJB’s Blueprint 2.0 outlines how three anti-corruption and transparency laws are the foundation of true, long-term change, as well as their strict enforcement, which is regarded as critical in building a society that is just, equitable, and free of corruption.
The report explains how and why bridge financing is ideal for our debt crisis. It goes on to emphasise the importance of productively engaging with the International Monetary Fund while restructuring the country’s debt. ‘We must maintain financial system stability as we do so,’ it states.
The report discusses the current exchange rate crisis and proposes a solution: ‘Carefully floating the exchange rate to market levels and raising interest rates will control inflation and restore the economy’s international competitiveness’.
The need for an effective and dynamic monetary policy the blueprint has addressed very clearly. The goal is to avoid repeating previous mistakes. ‘Monetary policy reform will prevent a relapse into crisis. Envisaging fiscal reforms, includeing long-term tax revenue increases, spending reductions, and reform of state-owned enterprises, is also critical,’ the blue print states.
The blue print speaks passionately about the expansion of the trade. It has made a strong statement about it. It asserts that as we stabilise, we must also grow. We must promote trade, industry, agriculture, and services by opening markets, increasing competitiveness and productivity, encouraging exports and investment, and integrating with global production networks.
The proactive blueprint spells out how the public sector will be revived to be a much sought after sector by transforming the public sector into a productive, efficient, digitally enabled workforce that serves the needs of Sri Lanka’s citizens, which is also vital for growth.
SJB also emphasised the critical importance of reforms in the energy and utilities sectors. This growth will be enabled and accelerated by land and labour market reform. Targeted, means-tested cash transfers within a strong, transparent, and effective social safety net must protect the most vulnerable. These reforms will allow more citizens to benefit from growth-related opportunities. This will not be an easy path, but it is our only way out of debt and towards inclusive, sustainable development.