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Sri Lanka explores establishment of development bank to boost industrial competitiveness

June 20, Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka is considering the creation of a development bank to provide essential funding aimed at enhancing the competitive edge of its industries, President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced.

Wickremesinghe assured that the proposed bank would offer loans at low interest rates, facilitating industrial growth.

In the 1960s, Sri Lanka established DFCC Bank, followed by NDB Bank in 1980. After privatisation, these banks evolved into significant commercial entities.

President Wickremesinghe noted that these banks were instrumental in President Premadasa’s success with 200 garment factories, highlighting the necessity of establishing a new development bank.

The President made these remarks during the opening ceremony of the International Industry Expo 2024.

He also mentioned the formation of an economic commission to advance this and other initiatives.

Additionally, plans are in place to launch Enterprise Sri Lanka, an institution aimed at supporting small and medium-sized enterprises across the nation. This framework is designed to benefit all industrialists.

“We aim to progress steadily over the next five to ten years,” Wickremesinghe said, adding that the government plans to explore production opportunities in countries such as Bangladesh and Myanmar.

“We are actively collaborating with India on these projects. I have already discussed this with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will continue discussions with the Indian Foreign Minister tomorrow,” he added.

The cooperation with India will focus on solar and wind energy and the acquisition of green hydrogen. Sri Lanka aims to capitalise on these resources, potentially even in the North Sea.

“The Adani Company has already started its operations in Sri Lanka. Embracing this new direction is crucial,” Wickremesinghe stated.

The President also noted that frequent litigation often benefits lawyers rather than contributing to national development.

“It is crucial to recognise that litigation alone cannot drive national progress. We must adhere to our national policies. I have instructed the Industries Minister to initiate discussions and develop a new programme to boost industrial growth. We plan to present the Economic Transformation Law to Parliament to support these initiatives,” he concluded.

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