PM’s 1,500-day economic plan within two weeks…

The much-anticipated five-year economic plan of the coalition government is expected to be announced within the next two weeks by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, according to the Governor of the Central Bank.

This is long overdue as it was initially planned to be announced in June. “ ….the Prime Minister is about to deliver, during the next week or two, what he calls his ‘1,500-day economic plan’, which is intended to flesh out his economic policy statement of last year and to give framework in terms of the development plans for the next five years,” said Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy.

Speaking at an event organised by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants of Sri Lanka last week, Dr. Coomaraswamy asked the private sector to closely listen to the policy statement which could provide clues on the direction and vision of the government for the economy as it will help them to plan their businesses and investments.

Investors, both domestic and foreign, have long been waiting for a clear direction for the economy from the government before making crucial medium to long-term investments in the country. The US $ 1.5 billion three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreement struck with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given some assurance to the investor community that the government would take a more disciplined path in fiscal spending.

In fact, the agreement bode well for the Sri Lankan economy as foreign inflows resumed to the government securities market bringing some stability into an otherwise volatile exchange rate. The government too has shown much discipline in handling the budget during the first six months of the year.

Further, a month later, the appointment of respected economist Dr. Coomaraswamy as the Central Bank Governor also brought in integrity to the Central Bank and certainty to the trajectory of the interest rates and inflation.

The government has also been taking steps to forge new links with its old and new trade partners in an attempt to broaden the country’s market access. However, still much need to be done in creating a predictable policy climate and improving the doing business conditions and the forthcoming policy statement by the premier is expected to shed more light into these areas.

Premier Wickremesinghe is also expected to announce the political reforms the government is envisaging within the next few weeks, including that of the electoral reforms.