BPA says outlook on regional development positive
The Business for Peace Alliance, a network of 21 regional business chambers welcomed the 2007 budget proposals saying it includes strategies to develop the under-developed areas with special emphasis on infrastructure development, education and skill development, improvements in the health sector and promotion of SMEs.
“However, the massive increase in defence expenditure overshadows the spending on productive sectors, placing the country on a ‘war footing’ which may send out negative signals to investors,” it said.
The BPA hailed the government’s move to improve the infrastructural facilities at the regional and provincial levels. “It is hoped that these measures will facilitate the distribution of the dividends of economic growth to regions outside of the Western Province. Major infrastructural projects such as the Weeravilla Airport, power plants in Kerevalapitiya and Norachcholai and the South-East highway, and the Upper Kotmale hydro power project have been given special attention in the budget. The BPA believes that these investments can act as incentives for private investment to take place in the regional and rural economies. Not only could such a move strengthen linkages between the Western Province and other regions but it could also lead to better competition among businesses. The promotion of SMEs at the regional level can also help in eradicating the deep rooted inequalities between the regions while reducing rural poverty,” the statement said.