Friday, 2 June 2023 00:35 –      – 54

President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering the address to the nation televised last night

 


 

  • In address to nation unveils roadmap with four key pillars Fiscal and Financial Reforms, Investment Drive, Social Protection and Governance and State Owned Enterprises Transformation
  • Announces inclusive and collective approach to develop strategy via ‘Lab methodology’ and ‘Open Days’
  • National transformation plan to be made public before end of 2023
  • Proposes Presidential Delivery Bureau to coordinate implementation of plan
  • Says special task force being established to combat corruption across all sectors, including regulation, procurement, and political corruption
  • Showcases key achievements during past 9 months and declares Sri Lanka now ready to embark upon a journey of collective growth and prosperity
  • Expresses heartfelt gratitude to all Sri Lankans for persevering through these hardships for sake of a better future and invites all to create new and shared future in beautiful Sri Lanka
  • Warns no tolerance for anyone attempting to regress the country to its state of a year ago

President Ranil Wickrem-esinghe last night announced plans for a “National Transfor-mation” road-map focussed on four key pillars and introduction of Lab methodology and a Presidential Delivery Bureau to make the process inclusive and successful.

The roadmap and plans as well as Government’s key achievements in the past nine months were shared by the President in a televised address to the nation.

The four pillars listed for transformation were Fiscal and Financial Reforms, Investment Drive, Social Protection and Governance and State Owned Enterprises Transformation.

The President stressed that the Government is always devoted to achieving positive outcomes for the country, despite the fact that this reform program is difficult.

He said no matter how tough and painful the decisions that have to be made, only by adopting the correct policies on that challenging route, will it be possible to uplift the country for future generations.

The President expressed his heartfelt gratitude to all Sri Lankans for persevering through these hardships for the sake of a better future. “If we continue on this path for just a little longer, I am confident we will be able to establish a stable economy free from the difficulties we endured together as a nation,” he said, declaring that Sri Lanka is now ready to embark upon a journey of collective growth and prosperity.

The first pillar Fiscal and Financial Reforms, as per the President will be in line with the IMF program approval by the Parliament. “Our aim is to implement necessary reforms that will ensure long-term sustainability of public debt and the stability of our economy. Ultimately, we want to rebuild confidence in the Sri Lankan market,” the President said.

Detailing the second pillar Investment Drive, the President said over the next few months, the Government will make a special invitation to the private sector to submit their own business proposals that align with the vision of modernisation and sustainability.

“We will ensure transparency and openness by publicising this call for proposals through mass media in a formal manner. We believe that a collaborative partnership between the public and private sectors will drive the engine to accelerate Sri Lanka’s economic growth and revival,” the President said.

According to him, the selection of proposals is based on four key criteria: Size of private investment, Job creation, Export contribution, and Economic contribution.

Wickremesinghe said to ensure the effective implementation of these business proposals, the Government will introduce a new system called the Lab methodology.

“Under the Lab approach, we will bring together Government Ministers, Government officials, subject matter experts, and key representatives from the private sector to collaboratively engage in detailed discussions over a period of six weeks. The aim is to collaboratively resolve any roadblocks hindering the roll-out of investments and projects by listening carefully to the private sector. During these discussions, comprehensive implementation plans will be developed, and the necessary facilities to support the implementation of these projects will be organised,” the President said.

He added that Government stakeholders involved in the Labs will dedicate their full-time efforts to ensure the successful execution of these projects.

“As President, I, along with the Cabinet Ministers, will actively participate in this event to demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring success of the Lab process,” he said.

It was explained that through the Labs, the Government aims to achieve three main objectives: Accelerate the economic recovery through approved business proposals and projects, create new employment opportunities, and to streamline the Government machinery to facilitate the implementation of future projects by removing obstacles through transparent procedures. The President said the Government will also apply the Lab methodology to address social safety net concerns.

It was also revealed that a special task force is being established to combat corruption across all sectors, including regulation, procurement, and political corruption. “We are committed to implementing anti-corruption practices through a government mechanism that emphasises accountability via modern techniques such as digitisation,” he added.

With regard to State Owned Enterprises Transformation, the President revealed that 430 public enterprises operating in 33 sectors employ 6% of the population. However, many of these enterprises have garnered monopolistic positions in the market, hindering private investment. Price fixing, inefficient management, and poor entrepreneurship have weakened public finances, turning these institutions into national burdens that are dependent on the taxpayer, the President said.

“We must urgently undertake necessary reforms in our SOEs to ensure the turnaround and success of these enterprises. We have already initiated the preparation of a restructuring plan for public enterprises. Additionally, we expect the chief officers of these enterprises to be committed to improving their performances. If they fail to meet the annual targets assigned to them, we will not hesitate to replace them with more suitable candidates,” the President warned.

Referring to public engagement, Wickremesinghe said public participation is crucial to the Lab methodology. “All outcomes from the lab discussion, including plans, analyses, and conclusions during the six-weeks will be shared with the public in a physical forum called the “Open Day”. This platform will allow the public to express their feedback to the lab outcomes and the nation’s reform efforts, of which their contributions will serve to further refine the implementation process,” the President said.

“After hearing from the public during the “Open Day”, we will transparently share the progress of the Labs along with the activities of the special task forces related to the economy through digital media. This will allow the public to observe the implementation of the plans in practice, and also be able to identify and resolve obstacles along the journey.

In the last quarter of this year, we will then work to unveil the national transformation plan to the public. Following extensive efforts, we anticipate revealing the National Transformation Plan during the final quarter of this year.

To coordinate the implementation of these plans, the President announced the setting up of a Presidential Delivery Bureau (PDB) comprising high-ranking officials from both the public and private sectors. They will collaborate with the line ministries to ensure effective coordination throughout the implementation phase.

“This work methodology is a collective effort to build the future for all of us and to ensure a better tomorrow for future generations to come. Therefore, I invite all Sri Lankans to join me in this journey to create our new and shared future in our beautiful country,” the President appealed.

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