Public proposals for 2014 Budget confident of over 7% economic growth this year
Standard Chartered Bank CEO says growth prospects exciting; bullishness of foreigners getting bigger
Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera yesterday sounded upbeat ahead of the 2014 Budget next month, expressing confidence that economic growth this year will be over 7%. “I am sure this year GDP will grow well over 7%. I have no doubt. Even in the ADB’s recent outlook, they have come up with 6.8%, which was the growth forecast they made when the economy was not moving that well. I am surprised why they didn’t revise upwards. They admitted that they have revised too much downwards when they did the estimate. I am waiting to see the third quarter growth outlook. We are back on much stronger growth,” Dr. Jayasundera told the Daily FT-Colombo University MBA Alumni Association organised pre-2014 Budget Forum involving business leaders and Treasury officials.
He also said the Government’s policies were working and the tax regime has helped with new sectors coming up. “Yes, it is true that we have to do it in a staggered manner; it has to be sustainable. In every budget if we keep putting something new, that means we lose focus,” Dr. Jayasundera said.
“There are things we are putting on the right track. The message I am getting is, at least after eight years, when the President is presenting the 9th Budget, Sri Lanka is bullish and I will assure you that due recognition will be given to the views expressed by you, but I also want you to understand that Sri Lanka shouldn’t get into a middle income economy trap that many countries have gotten into,” he added.
He commended the pre-Budget forum and acknowledged the positive sentiments as well as recommendations expressed by leaders drawn from 17 different economic sectors. “The President’s inclusive approach is working quite well,” Jayasundera said adding “If the Government does marketing, it is propaganda; if the private sector does marketing it is business promotion.”
The Forum’s strategic partner Standard Chartered Bank Sri Lanka CEO Anirban Ghosh-Dastidar too was upbeat. He said for the bank, the word is growth. “I have personally been hosting more senior visitors (from SCB such as global heads) in the past one or two months than the last three years I have been here as CEO. We operate in more than 70 countries and it seems all are making a beeline to Sri Lanka. Clearly the growth prospects in Sri Lanka are exciting. This was manifested by the GDP data from the last quarter.”
“I think the bullishness is getting bigger and we see a growth agenda going forward,” he added.
See full coverage on http://www.ft.lk/2013/10/09/private-sector-speaks-up-before-2014-budge