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PM at former President J.R. Jayewardene’s 111th birth anniversary commemoration: JRJ’s introduction of open economy provided economic momentum to other Asian countries

Late President J.R.Jayewardene's grandson Amrith Jayewardene garlanding his statue.

It was former President J.R.Jayewardene who introduced an open economy in Sri Lanka, the first Asian nation to do so. But the country was unable to yield the best results of his endevour due to terrorism that engulfed the country, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

Premier Wickremesinghe said most of the Asian countries that opened their economies after studying Sri Lanka have achieved economic development.

The Prime Minister said that three and half decades ago the United States, Canada, the UK, the Soviet Union and other European countries were the economic powers of the world with Japan being the only country from the orient to be in this elite club.

"But now China, India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and some South East Asian countries are among the countries with economic power," the Prime Minister said. "It is predicted that economic power will completely shift to the Asian countries in the near future".

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was speaking as Chief Guest at the 111th birth anniversary commemoration of late President and UNP leader J.R.Jayewardene at the J.R.Jayewardene Centre yesterday.

The Prime Minister further said the open economy was the main reason for economic power to shift to the East from the Western countries.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in conversation with Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga and Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan at the ceremony. Ministers Nimal Siripala De Silva, Chandrani Bandara, Gamini Jayawickrema Perera and Basnayake Nilame of the Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya Dhammika Attygalle  were present. Pictures by Shan Rambukwella

"It was J.R.Jayewardene who was one of the first Asian leaders to introduce an open economy," the Premier said. "He was bold enough to do so in 1977 just a few months after coming to power. Later,China, India, South Korea, Vietnam etc opened up their economies after studying developments in Sri Lanka. Special representatives came to Sri Lanka to study how we brought in foreign investments," the Prime Minister said.

Premier Wickremesinghe said most of the Asian countries achieved economic development,but,Sri Lanka could not yield the best results due to terrorism which plagued the country.

He added that even global military power too is seeing a shift from the West to the East. The Prime Minister said that although the US, UK and other European countries are strong military powers, Asian countries such as China,Japan and India have have gained momentum military strength.

The Prime Minister also said that J.R.Jayewardene took measures to construct the Mahaweli Project which was bigger than all the reservoirs that were constructed by ancient kings.

Late President J.R.Jayewardene's grandson Amrith Jayewardene garlanded his statue.

Ministers Gamini Jayawickrama Perera, John Amarathunga, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam and Chandrani Bandara and MP Ravi Karunanayake also participated at the event. Dr.Saroja Wettasinghe made the key note address.