Finance Minister says Sri Lanka is on a new sustainable development journey

Finance Minister says Sri Lanka is on a new sustainable development journey

Asia Pacific nations recognize Sri Lankan government’s policy on sustainable development.

Sri Lanka has embarked on a new journey towards sustainable development thereby intending to pass on its benefits equally to every citizen in the country, says Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The minister points out that the population in the region is ageing faster than the growth of development therefore necessary infrastructure should be in place to meet the demand by ageing population in the future. The Minister was delivering the Keynote address of the 4th High Level Dialogue of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) that inaugurated in Bangkok, Thailand recently (April 28). Representatives from economic and financial sectors of countries from Asia and the Pacific region are participating in the conference.
There is  an increase in the private participation in infrastructure development, attracted by rising demand for quality infrastructure and expectations of high returns. This has been made possible through different variations of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the region. So, PPPs have emerged as a viable procurement method for infrastructure development in the region. The government is to implement PPP related reforms such as enacting PPP laws, streamlining PPP procurement and bidding processes, introducing dispute resolution mechanisms, and establishing independent PPP government units, he disclosed.

Measures have been taken to broaden the tax base through elimination of exemptions. The government   will also be introducing a new Inland Revenue Act, which has a simplified tax code and it is expected to facilitate better administration and compliance. At the same time, the introduction of Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) which connects the three revenue institutions with 27 other entities is also expected to generate better efficiencies in revenue collection. The Department of Customs and Excise also has seen structural improvements been introduced. The overnment is working towards encouraging more private sector participation in the equity markets through major reforms which are centered on the introduction of a new Securities and Exchange Act and the Demutualization of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) which is still a member-owned entity. This is expected to create better accountability and confidence amongst the investor community.


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