Foreign Policy Must Support Economic Policies – Chamber Boss

Suresh Shah

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy needs to be supportive of its economic policies, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Suresh Shah said.
Speaking at a function in Colombo on Wednesday (July 24), he said that while interest rates were falling, inflation under single digits and the economy growing at 6%, the Business Confidence Index as tracked by Nielsen had however come down from 158 in January to 128 in June.
Similarly the Consumer Confidence Index which was between 65 and 68 or thereabouts has had fallen to 63.
Shah further said that in the first quarter ended June 30, 2013; FMCGs such as ice creams, soft drinks and spirits have had seen their sales in volume terms fall.
He also stressed the importance of structural reforms. Sri Lanka is competing for FDI with China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India and now Myanmar. “What then does Sri Lanka have to attract $ 3 billion worth of FDI in order to grow at 8%?” Shah asked.
“We need to do so much better. We have to manage our expenses. SOEs need to be restructured,” he also said.
The occasion was a forum on “Economic Prospects & Financial Markets of Sri Lanka” organised by the local CFA Institute. – Paneetha Ameresekere

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