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Sri Lanka well in line for IMF review in September – President’s Chief of Staff

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Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka addressing the AGM. Picture by Marlon Karunarathne
Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka addressing the AGM. Picture by Marlon Karunarathne

Sri Lanka is well in line for the IMF review in September, Chief of Staff to the President Sagala Ratnayaka told the 8th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Medical Devices Industry (SLCMDI) held in Colombo on Friday.

“We have a piece of law to bring in. It’s ready and we will bring it to Parliament fairly soon. Few other adjustments, but all of that is within our targets. So we are well on our way to the IMF program. The World Bank and ADB are also supporting us. Unprecedented, they are also bringing us budget support, but they are giving us benchmarks, which is good for us because that keeps us on our toes,” he said.

Ratnayaka said the government has caught up until April concerning outstanding delayed payments to the sector. “It is said there are still some dues that are to come from the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation. We will look at that to see what’s holding that up,” he said. Concerning taxes he said it would have to be discussed.

“We are on a tight tax regime. The Health Ministry recommends that we take certain taxes off and then the next day they send us a huge request for budget support. So where do we come up with the money? Right now we are very dependent on taxes. But we are adjusting. With the lifting of import restrictions, the customs duty revenue will also start building up again. But that’s not what is going to make it for us. Itis growing our tourism industry, modernizing our agriculture to bring in more productivity. It is those steps that we take and the digitalization that is going to make the mark,” Ratnayaka said.

He said the future for investment and industry in Sri Lanka, was very large with several Investment parks coming up as well and they expect one in the area where the Voice of America relay station was situated in Iranawila. The Hambantota zone which was put on the back burners is going to be ignited again.

Quite a few other investments to strengthen the energy industry to be able to support all industries have been planned. The State-owned enterprises are also going through a reform process and will be handled by reputed advisories that guarantee transparency.

Ratnayaka said they plan to embark on a medical insurance program within two years which will benefit all citizens because the health industry has to be equitable.

Monday, June 19, 2023 – 01:00

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