The Budget-2017 has made provision to convert the country into a manufacturing economy by converting the foreign debt into equity thereby reducing the debt burden of the people of this country said Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake.
The Minister said that stakeholders representing all sectors of the economy in the post budget discussions have hailed the budget as a positive step towards transforming the economy into manufacturing economy as the budget provides concessions by way of tax holidays, concessionary and interest free loans to investors and the local producers to commercialize the agricultural sector too.
The biggest challenge the country faced was the debt trap which made the country unaffordable to bring any return on its development. As a result the government’s revenue gradually deteriorated to an average of 11 % of the GDP by 2014.
Now with increased efficiency and eradiජation of corruption in the revenue collection, the state revenue has increased to 13.6 percent of the GDP thus making it possible to meet the recurrent expenses for the first time said the minister.
The Hambanthota Port which failed to bring return on its huge investment will be converted in to a joint venture between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China with the equity of over one billion US dollars.
This will enable the government to retire a sizeable portion of the loan obtained for the Hambanthota Port. Similarly, Mattala Airpot, Srilankan Airlines and Hambanthota Investment zone will have Public Private Partnership Investment (PPP) without selling off or privatizing any assets of the nation.