Delivering a significant address at the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Inland Revenue Commissioner’s Association, convened at the Kingsbury Hotel today (20), President Ranil Wickremesinghe revealed an extensive strategy for fostering economic growth in Sri Lanka. Underscoring the importance of a transformative approach, President Wickremesinghe outlined essential areas of concentration to drive the nation towards sustainable economic development.
Acknowledging the challenges in the balance of trade, President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of fostering a highly competitive economy. The government is actively engaged in trade agreements with nations like India, China, Singapore and Thailand. The goal is to explore opportunities for growth and deepen trade relations with the European Union.
To boost competitiveness, Sri Lanka is committed to digitalization. President Wickremesinghe announced the formation of the Digital Transformation Agency, working in collaboration with the Centre for Research on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The initiative aims to create a comprehensive plan to digitally transform the nation within a specified timeframe.
Sri Lanka is aligning with global sustainability goals, with a commitment to becoming a green economy. The President emphasized adherence to the requirements of the net-zero plan, ensuring environmentally responsible practices. Identifying immediate areas for economic gains, President Wickremesinghe urged a focus on “low-hanging fruit.” Sectors such as tourism, agriculture, renewable energy and information technology were highlighted for their potential quick returns.
The government plans to modernize agriculture, leveraging technology for enhanced productivity. Efforts include improving paddy cultivation, releasing unused lands, and encouraging small-scale agriculture. Sri Lanka’s potential for renewable energy is yet to be fully assessed. President Wickremesinghe anticipates significant investments in wind and solar energy projects, potentially exporting excess energy, including to India.
A focus on IT and AI development is central to the growth strategy. The President announced plans to establish more training institutes in collaboration with the private sector and allocate funds for AI research and development. Sri Lanka aspires to become a regional logistics hub, capitalizing on emerging technologies and industries.
President Wickremesinghe highlighted the pivotal role of the Inland Revenue Department and other revenue departments in ensuring financial discipline. Addressing delays in appeals and improving revenue collection mechanisms were identified as immediate priorities.
In conclusion, President Wickremesinghe expressed confidence in overcoming the economic challenges, urging collective efforts to navigate the complex journey ahead and secure Sri Lanka’s economic prosperity in the next five to six years.
State Ministers Mr. Ranjith Siyambalapitiya, Mr. Shehan Semasinghe, Secretary to the Finance Ministry Mr. Mahinda Siriwardhena, Commissioner General (Acting) of the Inland Revenue Department Mr. D.U.A. Jayawardhana, Chairman of Inland Revenue Commissioner’s Association Mr. M.A. Priyanka and other officials attended this gathering.
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