An export economy should be established in other parts of the country as well by taking a cue from Biyagama. The country desperately needs to increase foreign exchange earnings in order to overcome the present debt trap, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said. The Prime Minister was addressing a meeting after opening the new three storeyed building of the Biyagama Divisional Secretariat at Makola, Sapugaskanda on July 6.
The Prime Minister said that at the time the Government assumed office, the country’s economy was in such a parlous state that it was insufficient to service the enormous debts owed by the country. The government had been able to change this situation by doggedly facing challenges on its path.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe recalled that when he took over the Biyagama electorate as the Chief Organizer, it was the smallest and most underdeveloped electorate in the region. Its total number of votes was around 44,000 with only about 36,000 of them casting their votes at the election.
“Cadjan huts were conspicuous in the area although the petroleum refinery was situated in the electorate. People were mostly engaged in the “Beedi” industry. There was no electricity in the area either and when he stepped into some of the houses he saw people making ‘beedi’ in houses lit with kerosene lamps and as a youthful MP he was deeply shocked about the plight of the people in the area,” the Premier said. “ I made a firm determination to improve the lot of those innocent people,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said he was elected as Member of Parliament for Biyagama at the subsequent election and the J.R.Jayewardene government launched the Greater Colombo Economic Commission which started the first Free Trade Zone in Katunayake.
When he requested J.R.Jayewardene to set up a second Free Trade Zone at Biyagama, he asked as to how the government could find the land for it. When he agreed to find the necessary land, J.R. Jayewardene agreed to proceed with the proposal and gave him all the support.
“This was the manner in which I laid the foundation for the development of Biyagama to its present status,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said that late Suranimala Rajapaksha gave him all the support for this endeavor. “The assistance rendered by Assistant Government Agents Amarasinghe and Ruparatne should also be recalled with gratitude. Today, Biyagama had become an area with an export economy disproving pessimists who predicted the FTZ to be failure,” Prime Minister Wickremeainghe said.
“The Biyagama FTZ alone had about 55 to 60 factories while there were about 90 factories encompassing the whole Biyagama Electorate. People also made a living by maintaining container yards. Other income avenues had also been created for people to maintain three wheelers, shops and indulge in minor vocations. All this happened due to the development undertaken centred on Biyagama,” the Prime Minister added. “Makola and Spugaskanda which were small villages then had today become urban centres. The entire Biyagama region has now been urbanised owing to the development undertaken there,” the Premier said.
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has emphasized that the country should be developed through an export economy based on knowledge. Speaking at an event held yesterday to open a new building at Monaragala Mahanama National School, the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said new programs are needed to develop the villages in addition to the ones already implemented by the government such as Gramashakthi and Gamperaliya programs.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe left for Singapore this morning to attend the World Cities Summit and Clean Environment Summit.During his visit he is expected to meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Deputy Prime Minister and Co-ordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam and former prime minister Goh Chok Tong and high level dignitaries of the Singapore Government.
Announcing new reforms for Sri Lankan cooperatives, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday (07) said all employees of cooperatives will be exempt from income tax and be eligible for pensions with immediate effect. Addressing the 96th International Day of Cooperatives in Batticaloa held under the theme ‘Sustainable consumption and production of goods and services’, the President also declared that all employees in the cooperative sector will from now on receive an extra monthly allowance of Rs. 1,000.
Allegations are levelled against the Good Governance Government for delaying the National Audit Bill, but the previous governments had not even attempted to move the Bill, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.He was initiating the parliamentary debate on the National Audit Bill when it was taken up yesterday for debate after it was postponed several times.The National Audit Bill was a key pledge of the Good Governance Government to be adopted within the first 100 days of it assuming the power.
President Maithripala Sirisena says he made an intervention with a commitment to provide solutions for the issues arising regarding the South Asian Institute of Technology and Medicine (SAITM), with the aim of not leaving any room for any child of this country to subject to injustice in receiving the education.He made these remarks participating in a meeting with the students of the SAITM and their parents, held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatreyesterday (06th).
Udaya R.Seneviratne, a former senior administrative officer, assumed duties as the new Secretary to the President. He obtained his letter of appointment from President Maithripala Sirisena at the President’s office yesterday (6th).
The National Audit Bill which was postponed several times was passed in Parliament yesterday without a vote. The National Audit Bill is a key pledge of the Good Governance government which was to be adopted within the first 100 days of coming into power.