Published on: April 8, 2024

President Advocates for Modernizing the Legal System in National Economic Transformation

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of modernizing the legal system to effectively implement the government’s program aimed at fostering rapid economic growth in the country. He made these remarks during a cordial gathering with lawyers in Kandy held at the Mahaweli Reach Hotel yesterday (07).

Highlighting the collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a crucial step towards revitalizing Sri Lanka’s economy, President Wickremesinghe underscored the necessity of legalizing the agreements with the IMF to ensure that the benefits reach the people swiftly.

Moreover, the President expressed plans to introduce a new legal framework geared towards modernization across various sectors. He sought the support of the legal community for these initiatives, emphasizing the significance of their involvement in advancing these efforts.

Addressing the gathering, President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the critical decision facing Sri Lanka regarding its program with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He highlighted the country’s history of reversing decisions after agreeing to IMF programs and stressed that this represents the nation’s final opportunity for economic recovery. President Wickremesinghe underscored the importance of legalizing the agreement with the IMF to ensure that its benefits can be realized for the people of Sri Lanka.

The President emphasized the collective responsibility of all citizens towards the country and underscored the need for making crucial decisions to address its economic challenges. He emphasized the importance of deciding whether to continue with the current economic system or to bolster the country’s economy by prioritizing a competitive export-driven approach. President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of avoiding future economic crises through strategic economic policies and initiatives.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed confidence in the potential for revitalizing the country’s economy, citing abundant physical and human resources available in Sri Lanka. He highlighted the success stories of Sri Lankan businessmen operating internationally and the country’s dominance in key sectors including tea plantation and apparel industry. President Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of leveraging these strengths to transition towards an export-oriented economy, urging attention to be directed towards exploring new fields for further growth and expansion.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed the need for significant reforms in Sri Lanka’s commercial practices, including the updating of outdated laws and the implementation of modern legal frameworks accepted globally. He emphasized that alignment with international standards and practices is essential for Sri Lanka to gain recognition and competitiveness on the global stage.

The President highlighted the emphasis placed on developing a digital economy as part of the economic transformation program. He emphasized that the establishment of a digital economy requires comprehensive legislation encompassing all aspects of digitization.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe emphasized the importance of enacting new environmental laws and climate change laws, along with compiling new financial laws and commercial laws. Additionally, efforts are underway to draft new banking laws. These initiatives are part of a broader plan to establish a new legal system within the country over the next decade. He expressed confidence that this program will pave the way for long-term development in Sri Lanka.

The President stressed the importance of amending existing laws alongside the introduction of new laws. He emphasized that updating the legal system is crucial for Sri Lanka to attract and retain investors. President Wickremesinghe identified delays in legal proceedings as one of the obstacles preventing the country from being seen as an attractive investment destination. Therefore, he highlighted the necessity of streamlining legal processes through amendments to facilitate investment and promote economic growth.

The President highlighted the strategy to develop the Port City of Colombo into a financial zone as part of opening up Sri Lanka’s economy.

This transformation aims to establish an offshore economy within the Port City, with dedicated regulations and infrastructure in place. The Port City is envisioned to operate as a distinct entity, facilitating the growth of financial activities and attracting international investments.
Additionally, the President mentioned initiatives to introduce the Women Empowerment Act and Gender Equality Act, demonstrating a commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women in Sri Lanka’s society and economy. These legislative efforts are envisioned to contribute to Sri Lanka’s long-term development and attract investment by creating a conducive legal environment.

President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of modernizing the legal system as part of the country’s economic transformation. He emphasized the need for forward-thinking decision-making, urging consideration of the long-term implications over the next two decades. While acknowledging that he and many others present may not be alive in 20 years, he urged young lawyers to take the lead in advancing the modernization program for the benefit of future generations.

The President underscored the urgency of the situation, stating that the present moment represents Sri Lanka’s final opportunity to revitalize its economy. He emphasized the need for a decisive choice between embracing modernization and progress or risking falling behind.

Reflecting on the nation’s history since gaining independence in 1948, he lamented the missed opportunities and urged for a collective decision-making process that prioritizes the nation’s best interests.

President Wickremesinghe emphasized that the ongoing debate over the executive presidential system or its abolition should not overshadow the more pressing issue of Sri Lanka’s development. He stressed that such matters should be decided by Parliament, highlighting that the crucial focus should be on finding solutions to advance the country’s progress. He called for unity and collective efforts towards addressing the real challenges facing Sri Lanka, prioritizing its development above all else.

Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, State Ministers Lohan Ratwatte, Anuradha Jayaratne and Dilum Amunugama, along with Member of Parliament M. Velu Kumar and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, were among those present at the occasion.

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