- Deegoda Gamage
- Posts : 203
Join date : 2014-03-22
Biz community optimistic of development drive in 2016
by Rohana Jayalal
The Sri Lankan business community is optimistic that the new year, 2016, will be a source of strength to the country’s development drive.
New policies were introduced this year, with the new government taking office and as such they were unable to achieve the goals as expected, Secretary, Vehicle Importers Association of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Sarathchanda told Sunday Observer Business.
Most vehicle importers hope to import new vehicles next year as vehicle manufacturers are set to release a large number of electric and hybrid vehicles to the international market.
With the go-green concept, a large number of people prefer to add environment-friendly habits to their day-to-day lifestyle. When it comes to vehicles, people prefer vehicles which save power and reduces environment pollution, such as electric vehicles, helium and hybrid vehicles.
“As an Association, we expect vehicle importers will increase electric and hybrid vehicle imports next year,” he said.The government will launch more highway projects next year and these new highways will ease traffic congestion in urban areas. “We hope the government will introduce new policies to develop the country. As a result vehicle importers could import more vehicles. If the government achieves the anticipated goals next year, the economy will be more stable and people could buy a vehicle,” Sarathchandra said.
“We strongly believe that due to the lack of proper public transport, people tend to buy a vehicle to attend to their daily needs,” he said.
Chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Mangala P.B. Yapa said the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) plans will be largely on the following: .
i) Working to boost exports and investment between Sri Lanka and foreign countries - through new trade and investment delegations, organising a big investor and business conclave in March in Colombo, participating in regional and international investment and trade summits.
ii) Improving the doing business environment and investment climate in Sri Lanka through private- public partnerships.
“We will launch a ground-breaking effort next month called the ‘National Agenda Committees’, which are inter-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder groups under the CCC, bringing together the ‘best minds in business’. They will look incisively at 8-10 strategic areas of the economy. They will come up with recommendations for reform, in the short and medium term, and also envisage private sector
visions for those areas.
“The CCC always seeks a level playing field and genuine cooperation from the government, and this is well articulated in the CCC’s ‘10 Principles’.
“We hope to hold a continuous dialogue with the government on resolving policy and regulatory matters, and collaboration to get growth going. We have many competent and competitive companies in our membership,” he said.
Chairperson, Women’s Chamber of Industries and Commerce (WCIC), Ms. Rifa Musthapha said, “We hope to create more businesswomen in Sri Lanka in 2016. Women entrepreneurs play a key role in contributing to the economy.
“At present, the majority of the population in Sri Lanka are women. Therefore, we trust that this government will support and encourage women starting business at micro level,” she said.
Deputy Chairman, Commercial Bank PLC and Group Director, CIC Holdings PLC, Preethi Jayawardena said the Bank will continue its focus on lending to Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SME) next year. The Commercial Bank has focused on this important sector of the economy for the past several years and will support its growth.
The efforts to introduce customers to digital channels such as ATMs, online banking, mobile banking and mobile banking apps will continue next year as well and the Bank will focus on introducing more automated branches.
The Banks’ foreign operations will continue to expand with a representative office already set up in Myanmar having obtained a licence to operate a full-fledged tier one bank in the Maldives. The operations in the Maldives are due to begin early next year.The Bank is keen to focus on building and stabilizing its share in the corporate banking portfolio in 2016.
President, Sri Lanka Young Agro Association, Pradeepa Priyadarshana said they will boost the agro sector and develop the export market for our products.
The Association has also decided to improve the knowledge of its members at various levels, and set up a research centre to improve products to compete in the global market.“We propose to the government to take into consideration the role agriculture plays in the economy and make agricultural undertakings free of income tax for a further period.
The Association proposes to remove the import duty on hybrid maize seeds, soya bean seeds, sunflower seeds and palm oil seeds and other kinds of seeds used as planting material when such planting material is not available in sufficient quantities locally.“We call on the Government to provide low interest loans through banks to manufacture specific packing material locally for fruits and vegetables to minimize losses,” he said.