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    Opposition to FTAs due to lack of knowledge – PM

    z_p-i-OppositionThose who feel that Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) are destroying our country and destabilizing the economy are definitely thinking and walking through a wrong path, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

    The Premier was speaking at the `Most Admired Companies of Sri Lanka 2019’ awards ceremony, organized by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL) and CIMA.

    Speaking further the Prime Minister said most people do not know the value of signing FTAs with prosperous countries because they are unaware of the importance of launching FTAs which help increase the country’s economic growth.

    The Premier Sri Lanka and Singapore signed an FTA last year, which is beneficial to increase trade and investment opportunities. However, it was continuously criticized by various groups due to lack of knowledge about the benefits it offered. He however said that Sri Lanka has also discussed with countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh about future FTAs.

    Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said that though a certain section holds wrong impressions on FTAs, it is essential to sign FTAs with other countries to improve business and trade opportunities. He said during the last 18 months the country had to face numerous difficulties such as severe droughts, the political crisis and the unfortunate Easter Sunday bomb blast.

    “But as a country we faced these obstacles bravely and once again improved our tourism industry and stabilized the economy to a greater extent and plan to do more during the next few years.

    “The economic reforms cannot be done by the government alone; the private sector too should contribute to this endeavor by adapting its business model to international standards in the areas of labour, environment and corporate governance.”

    The Premier also talked about two important documents given by the Chamber of Commerce at the Economic Summit and another submitted by the successful business personality Dhammika Perera – and said both reports mention valuable suggestion on running the government and economy.

    He said these documents should seriously be followed by any future government. “They are focusing on the development of school education, vocational, technical and higher education which are the most important areas to improve in order to develop the country and the nation.

    The Prime Minister highly valued the Most Admired Companies and Most Admired Personalities in Sri Lanka who were awarded for their courage and efforts taken to develop their institutions and contribute to the country’s economy.

    The most admired 10 companies include Aitken Spence, Bank of Ceylon, CBL Investments, Ceylinco Life Insurance, Commercial Bank, Dilmah Ceylon Tea, Hatton National Bank, John Keells, LOLC and Sampath Bank.

    Meanwhile His Eminant Malcom Cardinal Ranjith, Harry Jayawardena, Dhammika Perera , Chandra Schafter and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya were felicitated at the ceremony for their contribution to various fields. Eminent personalities who made a tremendous contribution to uplift the country’s economy were also felicitated at the ceremony. ICC, Chairman Dinesh Weerakkody presided.

    Courtesy – Daily News

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