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Ranil details 3 year economic plan

Sri Lanka's prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe detailed on Friday a three year plan to improve the country's economy and tackle its significant debt burden. 

His comments come as the World Bank and the IMF called on Sri Lanka to deliver on planned reforms. 

"It is an urgent need to draw our attention on spending more than the revenue. We have initiated a process of fiscal consolidation based on revenue generation by passing the Inland Revenue Act, which is already yielding returns," he said. 

"In order to overcome these unprecedented challenges, the government has initiated a prudent debt management strategy. Our traditional approaches to debt management will have to change to cope with new risks and structural and regulatory changes."

"Our policies will be targeted on forward-looking liability management strategies. Accordingly, the funds required by the government will be raised with transparency and predictability.  Under the medium – term debt management strategy, the detailed strategies of government borrowings will be known in advance to the domestic and foreign debt portfolios. In addition, we will introduce a comprehensive secondary market trading platform and a liability management fund. These reforms and future reforms will come into effect under the new Fiscal Liability Management Act that provides legal framework for a prudent debt management strategy." 

"The changes we have made by introducing the new Inland Revenue Act have been commended by the international community as well as domestic economic actors."

"With the reforms such as the new Inland Revenue Act, Foreign Exchange Act, Fiscal Liability Management Act, Corporate Intents of the State Owned Enterprises and close monetary-fiscal coordination, we will steer this country towards robust and judicious management of our financial resources and fiscal framework."

Mr Wickremesinghe also drew attention to Free Trade Agreements the government would be pursuing, including with Singapore, China and India. 

"These deals will give our economy a massive boost by opening huge new markets to our entrepreneurs," he added. 

Making the case for an effort to bolster the tourism industry, Mr Wickremesinghe said, "China and India are our biggest and most rapidly expanding markets. We must shift our tourism strategies accordingly."

"We have to expand our connections with the countries from which the well-spending tourists are coming. We have to liberalise access to sea and air services. Therefore action will be taken to develop air access domestically and internationally, while facilitating cruise services and the establishment of yacht marinas."

"The construction of the first stage of the port city which will be developed as a Financial City is nearing completion. We will develop the Kandy City by joining hands with the Japanese government. India and Japan are extending their assistance to construct LNG plants. Tourism Zones in the Southern have been planned. Acquisition of lands is taking place now. We will start working on tourism zones in Iranavila and the Eastern Province soon."

See full speech here