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Sri Lanka braced for economic reforms: Harsha

Sri Lanka has carried out difficult and long delayed reforms in political and foreign policy and has also begun key reforms in fiscal and monetary policy, though more remains to be done, Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha de Silva said.

 

“There were many different reforms that needed to be done,” de Silva said responding to a query about the pace of reforms since the new administration was elected in 2015.

 

“Most important were political reforms we did in terms of bringing democracy back, amending the constitution, setting up independent commissions and creating the space to air your views, the Right to Information Act etc.”

 

The openness has already brought some results in exposing corruption, according to some observers.

 

In the political front a new constitution remains to be enacted, he said.

 

“And we have come very far,” says de Silva. “No one (else) has come this far.

 

“We are hopeful that petty politics will be kept behind and that leaders of political parties will emerge as men and women who make decisions for the benefit of generations to come and not for mere short term elections.”

 

De Silva who was until recently Deputy Foreign Minister says reforms were also successfully carried out in foreign policy, repairing relations with Western nations.

 

By 2015 Sri Lanka had fallen out with traditional friends, was on a collision course with the UN Human Rights Commission and was facing the prospect of economic sanctions while trade concessions from the EU had been lost.

 

The GSP+ concession from the EU has been restored, though there was still work to be done on the human rights front, de Silva said.

 

“America will give the largest ever grant given by any foreign country ever,” de Silva said in reference to work on a 500 million US dollar program with the Millennium Challenge Corporation of the US.

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