Regional trade agreements do enormous good for a country. Business leaders should understand that trade is good, while free trade is even better. Therefore, free trade agreements within regional countries should play a prominent role,” Guest Speaker at the inauguration of Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2012,” Author, Columnist and Management Consultant Gurcharan Das said.
“Sri Lanka is in a fortunate position as the country is closer to India and China, the emerging world power houses. Small countries are attractive for investment, while three key points of peace, rule of law and accountability should prevail in Sri Lanka to move forward,” he said, delivering a presentation on “Are there lessons for Sri Lanka from the experience of the SAARC countries,” at the Summit inauguration held yesterday in Colombo.
Sri Lanka needs better governance and if the country is to attract investments, there should be predictability and consistency in policies. The key lesson around the world was, 'it is not free market liberation, but the need for second generation reforms.'
“We have not done second generation reforms. No reforms mean corruption and bad governance. Sri Lanka's private sector has to move on, if the governance was to be in the right position. As China and India would be stuck in the middle income trap unless China fixes politics while India fix governance. The rule of law will create an environment of less unpredictability, encouraging investments,” he said.
“There was no such thing as Sri Lankan way of doing business, as rule of business and economics are universal. The market needs to be free, ensuring the right policies for competitiveness and accountability,” Das said.
“Sri Lanka is on a new path of development and lot a more needed to be done to reap the dividends of peace.
“The need of the hour and way forward was new thinking and a new mind set,” Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Susantha Ratnayake said.
The biggest challenge was to maintain the momentum in the context of global turmoil. In the face of uncertain global economy of persisting crisis in the Euro Zone and ailing economies in the West, the world is looking to Asia to lead. In this backdrop, Sri Lanka needs to attract FDIs and expend export base to maintain rapid growth, he said.
The two day Economic Summit 2012 under the theme Positioning Sri Lanka in the Global Economy ends today.