The Sunday Leader

Borrowings Needed For Development

Borrowings are needed to fund infrastructure development works due to limited internal capacity, ADB’s Country Director for Sri Lanka Ms. Rita O’ Sullivan said.
O’Sullivan speaking at an international trade facilitation seminar for the Asia-Pacific (AP) region that opened in Colombo on Tuesday  said that ADB support for trade facilitation has had helped local banks to build linkages with international banks.
Senior Monetary Cooperation Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama who was the chief guest at this occasion said that while it was good to seek after new markets for a country’s export products, one should not neglect traditional markets.
His reference was with regard to the economic slowdown in the West, to which market, including that of Sri Lanka’s, major exports are directed to.
Amunugama was of the opinion that due to job losses and slowdown in growth in major economies such as those countries in the West, they would therefore resort to protectionism. It was however protectionism, beginning with the USA in 1929 after the crash of Wall Street, and tit for tat retaliation by Europe, that spawned the Great Depression, and which ended only after the outbreak of World War II in 1939.
He further said that the countries in the region should adopt a “lean and mean” attitude, attacking inefficiency, corruption, bureaucracy and slothfulness if they are to survive in this difficult era.
Dr. Ravi Ratnayake, director, Trade and Investment Division, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in his speech said that Sri Lanka should try to emulate Singapore if it plans to go forward.
He further said that paperless trade would cut trade costs by as much as 15% in the AP region.
Ratnayake also said that the cost of trade in the AP region was 20% more than that in the EU and in the North American Free Trade Area because of these aberrations.
He further said that the biggest culprit in this regard was the South Asian region where trade costs were 50% higher when compared with intra trade within ASEAN region.

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