Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the decision to grant Sri Lanka enhanced market access under GSP+ can be considered as the beginning of an export oriented economy.
“With the GSP+ concession Sri Lanka will enter the European market. It is a significant landmark of the country’s economy and moreover it is the beginning of an export oriented economy” the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister made these remarks addressing the inauguration of “The Women Leadership Summit 2017” of SAARC Chamber of Women Entrepreneurs Council in Colombo yesterday.
The Women Leadership Summit 2017 was held under the theme “Empowering women in South Asia” with the participation of representation of SAARC countries.
The Prime Minister said the South Asian region is the fastest growing region in the world. “When considering this trend it is vital to concentrate on the total women participation in the economic activities and trade integration,” he said.
The Prime Minister highlighted that the administrative barriers should be removed to reach the harvest of economic growth.
“South Asia has a good future. If we look at 2050, some countries such India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and some East African countries and part of West-Asia will mark a tremendous growth in population. With the growth, we are fully integrated. We must ensure that women have the right for full participation in economic activities” the Prime Minister noted.
“We must concentrate on increasing economic activities and increasing women’s participation in the labour force.How do we expand the labour force?. It is important to open more opportunities for women to participate in the economic activities” he added.
“How do we get more women into the economic sphere That is where we have to focus. Besides, we should focus on how we ensure more women to enter to the high level of entrepreneurship. At the bottom it can be seen more women involvement in the labour force, but it is only a few at the top” the Prime Minister said.
He mentioned that women entrepreneurs must have access for credit for further strengthen their enterprises.
“The number of women in the labour force is huge at the bottom but it is a few at the top. Then we ensure that more and more women have to concentrate on how the women participation can be increased at the top level” he added.
The Prime Minister said that unfortunately in South Asia there are two economies as export oriented sector and the domestic oriented sector. The domestic oriented sector services only to the domestic market while the other focuses on international market. However it is important to take measures to increase the export oriented economy. The Prime Minister pointed out that the issues of balance of payments can easily be mitigated by increasing the export sector. Speaking on the GSP Plus, he is that over 6,000 products will benefit under the GSP+. The exporters should utilize this concession by increasing the capacity of the exports. Moreover, the domestic suppliers should be asked to become export oriented entities.
“We should further deepen the bilateral trade agreements. We are not revising some of the existing trade agreements or entering into new ones. These trade agreements do not affect or destroy our domestic industries overnight. It takes time. There is time for them to adjust to be more competitive. We are providing them with tax incentives and other facilities. There will be a trade agreement package, which works with the people on the ground ie the existing exporters and the existing manufacturers for the domestic market” he added.
The Prime Minister said it is vital to encourage direct foreign investments and the tourism industry plays a pivotal role. Tourism sector has the potential to develop in a short period drawing a significant income. The digital economy, where there is a high level of women participation. And we have to look at the other sectors which have high potential to contribute to an economic growth.
“We want to ensure a better environment for all entrepreneurs including the export oriented entrepreneurs, tourism sector entrepreneurs and digital sector based entrepreneurs aiming to make Sri Lanka a hub of the Indian Ocean,” he said.(Daily News)