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President makes a clarion call to business leaders to support nation building

Sri Lanka’s top twenty business magnets and several other private sector leaders have been called upon to invest in local industries and to extend a hand in the nation building process.

This clarion call was made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday 21at an extraordinary meeting with leading business personalities including Kasturi Wilson, Dhammika Perera, Krishan Balendra, Ashrof Omar, Mohan Pandithage, Ashok Pathirana, Sumal Perera, Gerard Ondaatje, Ranjith Pandithage and many others.

The high-powered meeting was chaired by President Rajapaksa along with Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal and several senior officials.

The, meeting was convened with the objective of obtaining the assistance and views of the private sector leaders in the development process.

The discussion was centred on a range of current economic topics such as foreign exchange generation, State fiscal policy, foreign employment promotion, investment incentives, improving exports, investments around renewable energy, agricultural products, adequate supply of fertiliser and tourism promotion.

President Rajapaksa pointed out that large-scale investments on renewable energy, green agriculture, technology parks and greenhouses would open up great opportunities to control foreign exchange outflow.

He said the private sector has the ability to rectify the misconceptions that some are spreading to achieve their narrow goals in an environment where the Government is taking all efforts to revive the economy amidst the pandemic.

The Finance Minister pointed out that the shortage of cement is due to the increase in demand for cement as a result of the revival in the construction industry during the past two years, adding that the Government is focusing on manufacturing cement in the country in future.

He also assured that there is no shortage of essential commodities, whilst urging the top private sector leaders not to take undue advantage of the decision taken by the Government to remove some of the price controls on certain commodities except for medicinal drugs.

The Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal claimed the country is losing foreign investment opportunities as a reflection of the baseless propaganda carried out regarding the economy.

“The Government is capable of honouring all foreign loans and we will take steps to attract investments into the country,” Cabraal said.

Top business entrepreneurs also called on the President to introduce a mechanism to prevent the brain drain and foreign exchange outflow, asserting that a large number of young students go abroad to pursue their higher education.

They suggested to President Rajapaksa to set up a mechanism to create such educational opportunities with the same standards within the country.

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