‘Investor confidence should be a priority’

General Secretary of the National Economic Council (NEC) Prof.Lalith Samarakoon yesterday said that investor and business confidence in the economy should be a priority.

In an interview with the Daily News, Prof.Samarakoon explained that this political transitional period needed to be managed prudently and that the government should be serious about our credit worthiness.

He added that Growth is a priority as the country recorded the lowest economic growth rate of 3.3% in 2017.

“If we lose investor confidence, we will have trouble raising finance to repay a large number of debt that is coming up in the next six years,” Prof.Samarakoon said.

The next Budget, expected to be presented in January 2019, he said would be a decisive one and it should strive to ‘maintain fiscal discipline and be growth oriented’.

He reiterated that the government resolve the crisis soon and in the next six months focus on stabilizing the economy which is in a precarious situation.

In the next six years, the Professor explained that any government which comes into power would have to look at loan repayments (interest and principal) of USD 4-6 billion each year for the next six years. However our foreign reserves at present stand at USD 7-8 billion and the government would have to look at least increasing it to USD 14 billion to get to a comfortable stage.

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