President Maithripala Sirisena instructed the National Economic Council(NEC) to take the essential decisions upholding the policy of the government to protect local industrialists when new initiatives are launched. President Maithripala Sirisena made these remarks presiding over the 12th meeting of the NEC at the Presidential Secretariat on June 12.
During this meeting, the President discussed about six main issues faced by local entrepreneurs.The discussion also focused on the rapid changes that need to be made in the country’s economic management as well as regarding short-term, medium and long-term projects that should be implemented to achieve development goals.
It was also observed that the local producers were unable to compete with the imported ceramic sanitary ware products as the CessTax on these products had been removed on imports. Accordingly, attention was drawn to impose an import tax similar to the value of the Cessthat prevailed.
Attention was also drawn to the difficulties faced by the local entrepreneurs as they did not get an opportunity to obtain credit facilities under concessionary interest rates.
President Sirisena pointed out that there is a responsibility upon the state banks to provide loans at concessionary interest rates to local industrialists and state further that the state banks should pay their attention to contribute to the development of the country by encouraging local producers not only attempting to maximize their profits.
It was announced that providing loan facilities to local industrialists and the rural economy should be increased and the NEC decided that this objective should be accomplished by augmenting the capital of the Regional Development Bank.
The importance and the relevance of the Sahasaratransport Project that is operated to increase the efficiency of the transportation sector and it was decided to conduct this project with the cooperation of Ministry of Magapolis and Western Development and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.
It was discussed to exempt some health services such as counseling services, channeling services and hospital charges from VAT. Further discussions will be held on this issue.
Secretary-General of the National Economic Council,Prof. Lalith Samarakoonpointed out that a seminar has been organized on June 28thtoformulate plans to be operated under the National Economic Program, which was approved by the National Economic Council. This seminar will be used to obtain suggestions and proposals of Ministers and Members of Parliament while building their awareness on the National Economic Programme.
Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, RajithaSenaratne, Malik Smarawickrema, Mahinda Samarasighe, Mahinda Amaraweera, Arjuna Ranatunga, RishadBathiudeen, PataliChampikaRanawaka, Kabir Hashim, SarathAmunugama, Daya Gamage, Deputy Minister LasanthaAlagiyanwanna, Ashoka Abeysighe, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance Dr.H.S.Samaratunga,Governor of the Central Bank IndrajitCoomaraswamy, and other members of the board were present at this meeting.