Lanka should look at new areas of manufacture
By Chaturi Dissanayake
Sri Lanka needs to focus on real core manufacturing, according to
Dr Howard Nicholas, an international economist of Sri Lanka origin.
Speaking to The Sunday times FT during a recent visit to Sri Lanka
from the Hague where he is based, Dr Nicholas said – referring
to past government policies -- that “quick fixes such as turning
Sri Lanka into the financial hub of Asia or the technological hub
will not work.”
to general opinion, the tsunami has actually helped Sri Lanka in
terms of the economic growth as there was an increase in the economic
activity and foreign exchange that flowed into the country.
the rapid economic growth the country experienced last year which
was a direct result of the increase economic activity, will slow
down a bit this year to a growth rate of 4.5 %, the economist, who
set up Econsult, a widely-recognised economic research agency in
the 1990s, noted.
He said Sri Lanka should look into new areas in manufacturing as
well and try to keep profits within the country not let it go out
of the country, one of the arguments of the JVP.
Nicholas suggested that economic nationalism could play a major
role in Sri Lankan economy adding that investors should make profits
and reinvest it in the country, saying that the government has taken
a step towards this in implementing the 300 factories programme
under Mahinda Chinthana.
it is important to allow foreigners to come into the country as
Sri Lanka needs technological expertise, industrial knowledge and
access to the world markets through them, it is also very important
not to let them suck us in, he added.
Nicholas said infrastructure here needs to be developed into a much
greater level if “we are to attract investors to Sri Lanka.”
Referring to the fast growing Chinese economy, he said that the
Chinese don’t need the capital but have made their country
attractive to foreign investors because they need their technology.
“Foreigners don’t want to come to Sri Lanka when they
have the option of going to China; so we have to make our country
an attractive place to invest. Sri Lanka has to take a good look
at the East Asia and learn a few lessons such as productivity, competitiveness,
and commitment without which we can’t expect much from an
Nicholas is opposed to following the policies of the IMF and the
World Bank mindlessly as the country has been doing for so long
saying that they don’t have any interest in developing the
to him Sri Lanka has the human capacity that is second to none.
It is the attitude that has to change in the people; the country
should not underplay the skills and expertise of the local and employ
to the downfall of the American economy, and the dollar depreciating
according to his expectations, Dr. Nicholas said that it would be
better to play safe and look at the European and Japanese markets
which are emerging in the world economy for exports. “America
will anyway reduce imports so it is better to diversify from the
American market at this stage,” he said.