Sri Lanka from a negative economic growth rate saw a slight economic improvement in the third and fourth quarters and should end the year with a 2% growth rate, said President Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing the “Shilpa Abhimani 2023” design competition held at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre, Colombo.
“If Sri Lanka could achieve 2% economic growth in 2023, focusing on this progress the country could easily increase to 5% next year.”
The President also said revenue generation is also a priority of the government as the country can’t print money and also obtain loans from banks. The only way to increase the revenue of the government is via VAT and this will gain more revenue to the government. As a result higher revenue the rupee strengthens.”
The President said Sri Lanka can gain more foreign exchange by developing the handicraft sector and exporting them. He said that Sri Lankan designers should also try to mix their creations with western designs. “India is successfully doing this.”
“We have to focus on the export sector and promotion of the handicraft sector to the global market can reap high economic benefits. To this end, manufacturers must also look at acquiring foreign technological knowledge to improve their products. The government is ready to provide the necessary support in this regard. With the help of the International Monetary Fund, the country is now developing and our economy is back on track again. This handicraft sector depends on the tourism industry and with tourism picking up the industry is now set for better times. We have worked to provide all possible relief to the people. More steps would be taken to provide more concessions in the future.”
Minister of State for Small and Medium Enterprise Development Prasanna Ranaweera, said that the awards ceremony was organized to appreciate the hard work of craftsmen and women.
The Minister said that the government is keen to protect and nurse the craftsmen and to this end the budget even provided credit facilities required for traditional artisans. “We see huge progress in the industry and with tourism picking up we hope to earn around Rs. one billion for 2024/2025 period. He also recalled that industrialists had faced many issues in the past mainly when procuring the required raw materials which had almost become an obstacle. “But we worked to find the raw materials needed by the industrialists. As of today the industrial sector is moving forward with new vigor.”
The winners were awarded while two winning artisans of the World Craft Council Tournament 2023 were presented with prize money, certificates and trophies by the President. Several Ministers, National Crafts Council Chairman Sampath Arehapola, Chairman National Enterprise Development Authority Lasantha, many high commissioners, and ambassadors participated.