Govt can’t even maintain a policy for two weeks
By Mario Andree
Pointing to the recent revocation of the liquor sale ban to women, a senior businessman told a Forum yesterday to forget expectations of long-term policy consistency as the Government was unable to maintain a policy for even two-weeks.
Addressing the forum organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLMERP), Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe said recent events were an indication of the Government's inability to ensure policy certainty.
"Two weeks ago Sri Lankan women were unable to buy liquor, then over night they were able to, but shortly it was back to no liquor for women", he said.
Commending the Government for the positive measures taken so far, he said there was much more to be done for Sri Lanka to become competitive.
Calling for long-term policy consistency, he said the reason behind the recent failure was a lack of coordination between the two parties in the coalition government.
"We have a coalition government with two mind-sets and two different agendas", he said.
According to what is necessary for the country's development as well as increase private sector investment was to "Think as one, talk the same thing and be consistent with what has been said."
After consumer durables sector faced difficulties last year due to the declining of disposable incomes caused by high inflation and interest, Singer Sri Lanka CEO, Asoka Pieris said the Government should get their act together and implement growth-driven policies for the private sector to thrive.
Addressing the same Forum, a CCC Past Chairman, Suresh Shah also called for policy consistency claiming "The private sector was not investing here for two to three years, but came for long-term investment. For this to be a reality, we need policy consistency."
Further, he slammed the private sector notion of protectionism, saying it was high time to change towards a market- driven competitive system.
"Our private sector wants walls built around so that the company would not be affected by competition, but what Sri Lanka really needs is a competitive system, where businesses have to be productive to survive", Sha added
State Minister for Policy Planning and Economic Affairs, Dr. Harsha De Silva last year asked the private sector to make up their minds regarding what they wanted, slandering them of being in two minds, after they raised questions on the Government's move to liberalize the shipping industry.
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