Business Times

Local newspaper forecasts are unreliable, says Cabraal

By Quintus Perera

Newspaper forecasts are not reliable as some of them indicated that to resettle some 355,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) from the north-east conflict it would take around 10 years whereas the government took just two years to do this, though there is a small number of IDPs yet to be resettled.
This was stated by Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Central Bank Governor , when he addressed the Business Leaders Forum this week in colombo organized by the Institute of Personnel Management Sri Lanka (IMP) while speaking on “Be a Part of Evolution”.

He said that the same suspicion was also raised on the removal of landmines in the war affected areas, forecast by some newspapers that it would take 10 years to fulfill this task. But Mr Cabraal said that they were removed in a record time by around two years.

Responding to questions, he said that Sri Lanka could do without GSP+ one newspaper ran several pictures of him contesting his contention on the issue, but today he said he was right because though the country lost GSP+ not a single job was lost, while the business community adjusted to meet any shortfall from this loss.

He said that last year the country recorded the highest exports and it was 23% more than the previous year. He said that they are expecting an increase of between 18 to 20% increase in exports this year.
However Mr Cabraal also referred to newspapers in a positive way saying, “Look at the Sunday Times Hit Ads section that clearly reflects the economic boom in the country as year by year more and more pages were added to Hit Ads”. He said, “This shows how the buying power of the people are increasing. You find there is a huge change. But some people do not acknowledge this situation.”

Answering another query as to whether the recent expropriation laws would send alarming signals to stave off the FDIs coming into the country, Mr Cabraal said that no private property was acquired but all of those non-performing entities were government property and they were given on certain conditions and the violation of those conditions was the basis of acquisitions. He said that it has not affected the inflow of FDIs to the country.

He also explained as to how after careful consideration the Rupee was devalued and as to how the growth rate of the country that was projected at 8% in 2012 will come down to 7.2%.

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