BPA urges bottom-up approach to regional development
The Business for Peace Alliance (BPA), a network of regional business chambers throughout Sri Lanka, in a pre-budget message to the government is calling for an bottoms-up approach in devising remedial measures to address the existing regional disparities and foster sustainable regional empowerment.
The BPA, in its statement, points out that there are grave regional economic and development issues that call for immediate action by the government. While investment is necessary for regional advancement to attract investment and create employment opportunities, such investments should be equally distributed to avert further marginalisation of backward regions which may lead to inter-regional conflicts. It is also important that the dividends of economic development are extended to the conflict-affected areas as the populations in these regions are struggling to survive under deteriorated economic and social conditions.
The BPA is proposing that special incentives such as tax holidays and tax exemptions be given to the investors willing to invest in conflict affected areas and underdeveloped areas. Other proposals include the relocation of the proposed Industrial Zone in Jaffna outside the high security zone, vital for attracting investment. The BPA is also calling for a special insurance scheme for investors in the North and East, the provision of electricity at concessionary rates for start up industries which use locally available raw materials, the development of a highway from Medawachchiya to Jaffna and the reintroduction of ferry service from Thalaimannar to India, aimed at improving transportation.
Other BPA proposals include the introduction of an agricultural banking system to uplift the regional farmer and agri-business as well as a focus on human resource development and a national policy for waste management. (NG)