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Comprehensive public sector reform agenda underway : Mangala tells World Bank Vice President

Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera met World Bank Vice President Annette Dixon in Washington on the sidelines of the WB/IMF annual conference. Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy was also present.

Comprehensive reforms for the public sector and legal system are on the cards, Finance and Mass Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera said when he met World Bank Vice President Annette Dixon in Washington.

The meeting took place on the sidelines to the WB/IMF annual conference. The Minister said that a comprehensive public sector reform agenda is underway to improve the performance of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) for better financial discipline, transparency and accountability.

He said the Government prefers to dispose the nonstrategic and underutilized state assets, including SOEs.

Samaraweera briefed the World Bank Vice President that the government also endeavours to undertake a comprehensive reforms agenda in the legal system.

“The new Inland Revenue Act was introduced last month. Currently we are evaluating the Customs Ordinance of 1869, as well the Excise Ordinance of 1912. Also extensive reforms are needed in our Labour laws, Housing and Land Laws” he said.

Minister Samaraweera told Dixon that Sri Lanka is poised to leapfrog the economy after long years of conflict and political instability under the unity government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“We are celebrating 70 years of Parliamentary democracy in Sri Lanka this year and the economy will be revitalised on the strong pillars of reconciliation and democracy with far reaching reforms,” the Minister emphasised. Commenting on current political and economic dynamics, the minister said the Government’s policy plan for next eight years “V2025 - A Country Enriched” envisages economic prosperity for all Sri Lankans, based on the principles of a social market economy. With that in mind, Samaraweera said that his maiden Budget Proposals for 2018 will be presented to Parliament on November 9.

“Sri Lanka intends to strengthen the policies suitable for a higher middle income, export-oriented economy,” he added.

The Minister appreciated the World Bank’s transitional support to face the interim period without an adverse impact on the economy. Under the Competitiveness Development Policy Loan, the World Bank provided US $ 100 Million to Sri Lanka in 2016.