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Sri Lanka Equity Forum » Stock Market Talk » New impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country

New impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country

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ChooBoy


Senior Equity Analytic
Senior Equity Analytic

  • A new elliptical expressway parallel to coast at a distance of about 40-50 km from coast, around Sri Lanka. 
  • New expressway to provide easy access, both to coastal belt and hinterland
  • A single expressway from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi
  • Fast-tracked construction to be completed in five years
  • Project investment likely to be a massive boost to entire economy
  • Project investment to be generated from funds saved as a result of reduced rates of interest due to sound management of economy
  • Economy to reap a host of other short and long-term benefits as well
  • People have a responsibility to elect leaders who are capable of implementing projects and positively dealing with emerging challenges


 
Sri Lanka is a country in the shape of an ellipse. WNew impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country Image_607dd10d56hile the central part is mountainous, the rest of the island is a flat plain. The distance from the North to South is about 420 km and from East to West, it is about 220 km at the maximum point. 

Based on these geographic factors, if an expressway is to be constructed in the most practical and cost-effective manner to cover the entire country, it is logical that it must be in an elliptical shape, parallel to the coast at a distance of 40-50 km from the coast.


It is possible that the Northern point of such New Elliptical Expressway (NEE) could be close to Medawachchiya, the Southern point close to Kirama, the Eastern point close to Pokurugama and the Western point close to Mirigama. As the feeder to the NEE, many of the existing roads can be easily connected to it as ‘entry’ and ‘exit’ points.


Already, there are highways from Kadawatha to Godagama (144 km) and Colombo to Katunayake (25 km). In a few months, a connecting highway will be seamlessly linked from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya (10 km) and another from Godagama to 
Hambantota (75 km). 

New impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country Image_8c26b351d5
Once those sections are completed, the expressway system of Sri Lanka will be completed from Katunayake to Hambantota, in close proximity to the coast. At the same time, since a considerable length of highway spanning the districts of Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Matara and Hambantota has already been completed, it may now therefore be more practical and sensible to connect such existing highway to the NEE, without constructing the section of the proposed NEE parallel to the coast from a distance of 40-50 km in those districts.Therefore, Kudaoya may be considered the possible starting point of the NEE connecting to the present highway from the South, while Mirigama may be the chosen Northern starting point. When that is done (as shown in the map attached), the NEE will run 40-50 km parallel to the coast covering a distance of around 500 Km through the hinterland, avoiding the forest and wildlife regions, historical and archaeological sites, densely populated areas and special places of attraction to local and foreign tourists. 


The land area to the North of Medawachchiya is of a triangular shape and therefore, the construction of an elliptical expressway beyond Medawachchiya will not yield a cost-effective advantage. 


Accordingly, a single direct expressway of about 105 km at the centre of that area providing access to both sides of the triangle can be built from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi and connected to the NEE, so that it becomes an integral part of the NEE. Once this Medawachchiya/Kilinochchi section too is constructed, the entire country will be fully connected through a 100 kmph expressway system, comprising a total of about 859 km.

 

Maximum travel time about 5 hours
If a ‘connected’ expressway is constructed as described above, any person from any part of Sri Lanka will be able to gain access to the NEE easily after travelling a distance of a maximum of 50 km from any part of the country, coastal or hinterland. For example, if a person wishes to travel from Siyambalanduwa to Mannar, he will travel a distance of about 30-40 km on ordinary roads, enter the highway at a suitable entry point, cruise along the highway, exit from Vavuniya, travel a further distance of about 30 km on ordinary roads and reach Mannar. 
Similarly, a person travelling from Balangoda to Trincomalee can first take an ordinary road covering about 40 km, enter the highway from an entry point near Kuda Oya, cruise along the highway, exit from an exit point near Demataweva and reach Trincomalee after finally travelling a distance of about 40 km along ordinary roads. 


In this manner, a person will be able to travel any long distance easily from any point in the country, where maximum time spent on travelling from any point to point, not being more than five hours.

 

Investment required for this project?
The Southern Expressway from Kottawa to Godagama is 124 km. Its cost (incurred during 2007 to 2013) is reported to be US $ 892 million. That is, US $ 7.2 million per km. Therefore, we may reasonably assume it will be possible to construct the proposed NEE at a cost of around US $ 7.2 million per km, since the terrain through which the proposed expressway is to be constructed is somewhat similar to that of the Kottawa/Godagama expressway.


The length of the proposed elliptical part of the expressway, as shown in the map, is about 500 km, while the section from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi is about 105 km. Accordingly, the total length of the proposed NEE works out to approximately 605 km. Hence, the total cost of the project may be estimated at around US $ 4,350 million. 


In order to implement such a project, it will also be necessary to undertake a scientific and geographical survey of the land layout and contours and decide on the proposed path of the highway. Such an exercise is likely to take at least one year and the expenditure covering the technical and architectural consultancies and other evaluations may amount to around 
US $ 200 million. 


Further, if the project is to be fast-tracked to be completed in five years from 2021-2025, a sum of around US $ 870 million per annum (or Rs.157 billion) will have to be invested by the government on physical earth works, infrastructure construction work, etc. 


Although such annual outlay may appear to be a considerable investment, it will not be such a daunting task for the government to raise the total requirement of funds from existing sources, if the public debt is managed in a sound manner.


Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product exceeds Rs.14,000 billion and the public debt exceeds Rs.13,000 billion. The existing stock of treasury bills and bonds amounts to Rs.5,500 billion. Hence, if the authorities are able to successfully reduce the treasury bill and bond interest rates to a level close to the level that existed at end-2014, the rates will be tightened by about 3 percent p.a., which alone will save a sum of around Rs.165 billion per year for the government. Incidentally, such saving will be more than the annual requirement of Rs.157 billion for this NEE project.


It may be recalled that the previous government was able to save such large amounts of money through the proper management of the Sri Lankan economy, during the term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and these surpluses were utilised for various development projects. 


Further, the shift of funds to investment will lead to a massive economic revival that will be visible and tangible across the economy, with new economic activities being spurred on by such investments.

 

Investment on NEE will infuse new life to economy that is now in shambles
Once the NEE is completed, there is no doubt that many areas of the country that are today identified as ‘difficult areas’, will undergo rapid development, since the entire country will become interconnected.


Businessmen and entrepreneurs will locate their business establishments and factories throughout the country. Investors in the tourism sector will take a renewed interest in constructing hotel complexes and tourist infrastructure facilities in all 
parts of the country. 


International investors will find Sri Lanka a hugely attractive location. The consequent economic progress will cover every village, while the present beleaguered building contractors of high, medium and small-scale constructions will enjoy a new lease of life. The beneficial impact of such a revival will soon trickle down to other sectors as well. Thus, the proposed expressway project will be a tremendous boost to the economy of the country.

 

People too have a responsibility
At present, Sri Lanka is trapped in a serious economic downward spiral. The economy is paralysed and has no direction. The current leaders have not introduced any worthwhile strategy in a manner that generates any business confidence. Even on the rare occasions where various projects have been suggested, those have failed miserably, since there has been no strategy to raise the funds necessary to implement such projects. 


From 2006 to 2014, Sri Lanka’s economic managers secured the required resources for the massive development projects launched and implemented during the term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Money circulated freely and confidently within the country. There was never a shortage of funds for the war, reforms, rehabilitation, resettlement, development, relief measures and repayment of debt. That government faced the plethora of challenges that confronted it through systematic planning and strategic implementation of such plans. As a result, unprecedented improvement took place in infrastructure; interest rates and inflation were at manageable levels; the Sri Lankan rupee was stable as never before (or after) in history. Overall, all macroeconomic fundamentals were on a sound footing.


For a country to progress, it is necessary that there should be far reaching proposals that are realistic, useful and beneficial to the people of the country. If that happens, the entire country will become a dynamic worksite. 


This proposal for the NEE is one such proposal. At the same time, there is no doubt that there will be many challenges when this proposal is being implemented. Many crucial decisions will have to be taken. At that time, lamentations and excuses, similar to those that the leaders of the current government make before the people on a daily basis, 
will be of no use. 


Therefore, it is the bounden duty of the people to entrust the governance of the country to leaders who have a proven record of facing challenges and who are knowledgeable and experienced. That responsibility will need to be taken seriously by the entire population. 
(Ajith Nivard Cabraal is an ex-Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka)

ChooBoy


Senior Equity Analytic
Senior Equity Analytic
Ex-Governor Ajit Cabral’s proposal for Expressways covering the Country.
Posted on September 25th, 2019

By Prof. Chandre Darmawaradana.

The former Governor of the Central Bank (2006-2015) has made proposals with the objective of  A new impetus to revive the Economy from 2020-2025” (Island, 25 Sept-2019). These include  (1) a new elliptical expressway parallel to the coast at a distance of about 40-50 km from it around Sri Lanka, (2) a new expressway to provide easy access to both coastal belt and hinterland. (3) A single expressway from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi. (4) Fast-tracked construction in five years.
The present writer proposed the construction of a dike-type highway along the perimeter of the Island, not only to provide transport but also to defend against rising sea levels, tsunamis, and sea erosion. It should be an ecological highway taking account of socio-economic and environmental imperatives.  Hence a 10th province, covering a maritime strip running around the island was an integral part of the proposal, impacting on the constitution, integrating the country politically and environmentally (see, October 2017,  https://dh-web.org/place.names/posts/Climate-Constitution-Sri-Lanka.pdf ).
The need for farmers and industrialists to bring their goods to markets and ports, and for imports to reach the interior are recognized by all planners. Even the  US Millennium Corporation’s proposals emphasized the need for such transport infrastructure, featuring a highway connecting strategic Trinco (the ancient port of Gokanna) to Colombo, the modern engine of development driving the Western province.
Roadways, irrigation schemes, and human settlements can be planned to solve development issues and ease social conflicts. Such schemes can resolve political problems associated with national security,  control of floods, the effect of tsunamis, etc., and move goods and people while strengthening the ecological integrity of the landmass. Such holistic planning is rarely supported by politicians who have little knowledge, want quick results, and are dazzled by foolish visions of the tallest towers or fastest highways seen in their travels.
Knee-jerk projects, be it roadways, waterways or human settlements,  can have unintended disastrous consequences. The best we can do is to formulate an overall model treating as many factors as possible.  Improvement in transport can be a win-win situation instead of improving” one sector while causing irreparable damage to others.   
New impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country Chinese-express-train
                                                   [A  Chinese express train moving at 370kmh]
(1) Highways can connect as well as divide communities –  a Gokanna-Colombo highway will divide the north and south of the nation along separatist lines. Instead, a fast bullet train” moving at 300 km/h connecting Colombo and Jaffna could be the basis of national integration.  Jaffna would become a suburb of Colombo! The Romans and the British built roadways to hold together their empires. US and Canada and Russia built railroads to ensure the integrity of their confederations. The trans-Siberian connected Moscow to Vladivostok. Pointedly, the Tigers destroyed the Yal-Devi rail link to enhance the separatist agenda while the ordinary Northerner – Tamil, Moor or Sinhala benefitted immensely from Yal Devi.
Mr. Wigneswaran rejected  Mahaweli coming to the North to ensure self-determination” in spite of projected future water shortages. The behaviour of Mr. Wigneswaran is no different from the leaders of the Tamil community during the days prior to 1948 when they opposed the building of causeways connecting villages in the Jaffna Peninsula (see Dr. Jane Russell’s book, Communal Politics under the Donoughmore commission, 1931-1948). They, absentee landowners of the North living in Colombo 7 feared that providing good road access to so-called low-caste” villages will make them uppity” and that they will lose control. They also opposed the upgrading of Jaffna to a municipality as they did not wish to pay municipal taxes! It was SWRD Bandaranaike, the Minister of local government in DS Senanayake’s first cabinet, who forced the building of causeways and also gave Municipal status to Jaffna. 
Clearly, the leaders of the North and East bogged down in Casteist or Eelamist ideology, have often failed to work for the betterment of the people of the North and East.   Today these leaders –  haughty lawyers are driven by ideology –  are oblivious to the urgent threat to large parts of the North and East from rising sea levels due to global warming. While they could control or drive out the Moors, they see the threat of Sinhal-Buddhist nationalism as being most urgent in the context of a militant   Hindutva ideology and Tamil Nationalism that aims to preserve its traditional ethnic voter base as its source of power. There are technological solutions to such conflicts as well when examined from a social-planning point of view, but we will not address them in this essay. The Tamil community is blessed with technically highly qualified practical-minded men and women who should take the lead in politics, instead of leaving it entirely to the lawyers.
(2) Highways and river-valley developments cutting through diverse regions become permanently disconnected ecological pockets causing irreparable harm to ecosystems important for sustainable agriculture and human health. Conflicts between humans and large animals like elephants become frequent and animals get destroyed first, and the slow decline of human health follows. Galoya, Udawalawe, and Mahaweli were planned at a time when environmental concerns were a low priority.
(3) New highways and new river-valley developments spawn new settlements (colonization schemes” in old, incorrect parlance) with little regard to consequences, especially when we have accelerated” projects. The accelerated Mahaweli program settled people in higher grounds further from irrigation rivers, canals and tanks due to lack of space, spawning the use of tube wells and shallow dugout wells in locations naturally containing fluorides and other salts in the soil, triggering an epidemic of kidney disease in the dry zone areas of the accelerated Mahaweli project. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on providing clean water to the affected areas, the government took the cheap, politically expedient step of banning the use of the herbicide glyphosate – an act similar to changing cushions to cure dysentery.
Highway development was the Mantra” of the post War developments in the West. We knew little about the enormous dangers of such expansion that are evident today in the clogged multi-lane highways and the urban sprawl of Western cities and their neighbourhoods, e.g., around Los Angeles,  greater London or Cairo. These metropolitan regions constitute huge networks of asphalt-concrete gridlocks of traffic, creating carmageddons of pollution and highly inefficient use of resources. People stuck in traffic jams develop stress, high adrenaline, and chronically high blood sugar even without eating sweets, with obvious health consequences!  Tiny little Kandy, or big brother Colombo, even without Los Angeles traffic is a pocket of pollution spawning allergies, asthma and lung disease.
Just after the Eelam wars in 2009, this writer appealed  strongly  for a network of  high-speed electric trains as the first step in infrastructure development, coupled with installing  floating solar-panel arrays placed on existing  hydro-electric reservoirs, which daytime excess power stored as water saved in the reservoirs to provide firm electric power for the night (for more details, see http://dh-web.org/place.names/posts/dev-tech-2009.ppt )
Increased encroachment of the natural habitat by humans and the increased use of fossil fuels since the 1960s have to lead to a catastrophic loss of flora and fauna, acid rain, bleached coral reefs, etc.,  threatening the very planet blanketed and overheated with CO2 emissions. A strident and completely misguided call against agrochemicals orchestrated by a frightened public serves to ignore far more dangerous pollution from petrol and diesel vehicles, tractors, lorries, buses, and the effects of high levels of sub-micron particulate dust. Instead, everyone wants a car, while VIPs demand a fleet of them, duty-free” and  bulletproof”.
We depend on bees, insects, and butterflies for the pollination of flowers that give rise to crops that we eat. We depend on trees for re-oxygenation. The loss of habitat has caused a catastrophic decline in pollinating insects and birds. Today many countries like England pay for their folly in having to import bumblebees from  less developed”  Eastern Europe to sustain its agriculture! The day when Sri Lanka has to import bees and butterflies from  less developed” nations may not be far away. We are told of an energy mafia” in the Ceylon Electricity Board, working hand in hand with commission-seeking politicians. Is that why we build coal-burning power plants and stunt the land,  flora, and fauna when we have less polluting means of generating adequate amounts of firm power cheaply from solar and biomass, and within short time scales (see  Clean, practical solutions to Sri Lanka’s energy crisis,  Lankaweb, 6-May 2019  http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2019/05/06/clean-practical-solutions-to-sri-lankas-energy-crisis-i/ )?
The present writer supports the suggestion of Ajith Cabral, the ex-Governor, but modified to a ring road encircling the Island, integrated with mangrove replanting, carbon capture etc., located along the coastal periphery in the form of a dyke-highway, envisaging the rise in sea levels, tsunamis, high sea erosion and high waves that we anticipate from global warming.
Public transport in electric trans should be prioritized over Individual vehicle transport.  Fast electric train lines instead of roadways should be the first objective, inside and along the periphery. Such train lines or highways must have raised sections and large underpasses at every 10 km interval so that continuous ecosystems are maintained so that animals, insects and even root systems can safely pass across. Equivalent amounts of conserved wilderness to compensate the landmass used for building roads etc. should be legislated by reclaiming urban sprawl.
Sprawling human settlements, in the form of villages” designed with the traditional concept of Gama-Weva-Temple or Kovil” is disastrous to the environment in an age of high populations. Instead, urban sprawl in the form of settlements fed by highways should be strictly constrained. High-density high-rise habitations should be encouraged by higher taxation on individual homes. The GamUdawa” must be replaced by models where habitat encroachment and garbage production are minimized, and wilderness areas are preserved. This also implies high-yield no-till agriculture using minimum land and minimum water per kilogram of harvest, as is possible with modern scientific agriculture. These go well beyond the green-revolution model  and recycles the water and agrochemicals used, without significantly releasing them to the environment ( See Lankaweb,
26-February 2019,  http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2019/02/26/beyond-the-green-revolution-how-humanity-needs-cutting-edge-technology-to-save-itself ).
Consequently, we have to reject our nostalgic models of traditional agriculture as it yields low harvests, high methane outputs and CO2 production in composting, land tilling, weeding, slash-and-burn, etc. It poses the danger of bio-accumulation of naturally occurring metal toxins in plants due to the re-use of plant material in composting.  
Ex-Governor Ajit Cabrales plans for highway development to revive the economy have to integrate with all these considerations of ecology, food, health and high productivity needed for a den

Arrowrisk

Arrowrisk
Senior Equity Analytic
Senior Equity Analytic
@ChooBoy wrote:

  • A new elliptical expressway parallel to coast at a distance of about 40-50 km from coast, around Sri Lanka. 
  • New expressway to provide easy access, both to coastal belt and hinterland
  • A single expressway from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi
  • Fast-tracked construction to be completed in five years
  • Project investment likely to be a massive boost to entire economy
  • Project investment to be generated from funds saved as a result of reduced rates of interest due to sound management of economy
  • Economy to reap a host of other short and long-term benefits as well
  • People have a responsibility to elect leaders who are capable of implementing projects and positively dealing with emerging challenges


 
Sri Lanka is a country in the shape of an ellipse. WNew impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country Image_607dd10d56hile the central part is mountainous, the rest of the island is a flat plain. The distance from the North to South is about 420 km and from East to West, it is about 220 km at the maximum point. 

Based on these geographic factors, if an expressway is to be constructed in the most practical and cost-effective manner to cover the entire country, it is logical that it must be in an elliptical shape, parallel to the coast at a distance of 40-50 km from the coast.


It is possible that the Northern point of such New Elliptical Expressway (NEE) could be close to Medawachchiya, the Southern point close to Kirama, the Eastern point close to Pokurugama and the Western point close to Mirigama. As the feeder to the NEE, many of the existing roads can be easily connected to it as ‘entry’ and ‘exit’ points.


Already, there are highways from Kadawatha to Godagama (144 km) and Colombo to Katunayake (25 km). In a few months, a connecting highway will be seamlessly linked from Kadawatha to Kerawalapitiya (10 km) and another from Godagama to 
Hambantota (75 km). 

New impetus to revive economy: An expressway covering entire country Image_8c26b351d5
Once those sections are completed, the expressway system of Sri Lanka will be completed from Katunayake to Hambantota, in close proximity to the coast. At the same time, since a considerable length of highway spanning the districts of Gampaha, Colombo, Kalutara, Matara and Hambantota has already been completed, it may now therefore be more practical and sensible to connect such existing highway to the NEE, without constructing the section of the proposed NEE parallel to the coast from a distance of 40-50 km in those districts.Therefore, Kudaoya may be considered the possible starting point of the NEE connecting to the present highway from the South, while Mirigama may be the chosen Northern starting point. When that is done (as shown in the map attached), the NEE will run 40-50 km parallel to the coast covering a distance of around 500 Km through the hinterland, avoiding the forest and wildlife regions, historical and archaeological sites, densely populated areas and special places of attraction to local and foreign tourists. 


The land area to the North of Medawachchiya is of a triangular shape and therefore, the construction of an elliptical expressway beyond Medawachchiya will not yield a cost-effective advantage. 


Accordingly, a single direct expressway of about 105 km at the centre of that area providing access to both sides of the triangle can be built from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi and connected to the NEE, so that it becomes an integral part of the NEE. Once this Medawachchiya/Kilinochchi section too is constructed, the entire country will be fully connected through a 100 kmph expressway system, comprising a total of about 859 km.

 

Maximum travel time about 5 hours
If a ‘connected’ expressway is constructed as described above, any person from any part of Sri Lanka will be able to gain access to the NEE easily after travelling a distance of a maximum of 50 km from any part of the country, coastal or hinterland. For example, if a person wishes to travel from Siyambalanduwa to Mannar, he will travel a distance of about 30-40 km on ordinary roads, enter the highway at a suitable entry point, cruise along the highway, exit from Vavuniya, travel a further distance of about 30 km on ordinary roads and reach Mannar. 
Similarly, a person travelling from Balangoda to Trincomalee can first take an ordinary road covering about 40 km, enter the highway from an entry point near Kuda Oya, cruise along the highway, exit from an exit point near Demataweva and reach Trincomalee after finally travelling a distance of about 40 km along ordinary roads. 


In this manner, a person will be able to travel any long distance easily from any point in the country, where maximum time spent on travelling from any point to point, not being more than five hours.

 

Investment required for this project?
The Southern Expressway from Kottawa to Godagama is 124 km. Its cost (incurred during 2007 to 2013) is reported to be US $ 892 million. That is, US $ 7.2 million per km. Therefore, we may reasonably assume it will be possible to construct the proposed NEE at a cost of around US $ 7.2 million per km, since the terrain through which the proposed expressway is to be constructed is somewhat similar to that of the Kottawa/Godagama expressway.


The length of the proposed elliptical part of the expressway, as shown in the map, is about 500 km, while the section from Medawachchiya to Kilinochchi is about 105 km. Accordingly, the total length of the proposed NEE works out to approximately 605 km. Hence, the total cost of the project may be estimated at around US $ 4,350 million. 


In order to implement such a project, it will also be necessary to undertake a scientific and geographical survey of the land layout and contours and decide on the proposed path of the highway. Such an exercise is likely to take at least one year and the expenditure covering the technical and architectural consultancies and other evaluations may amount to around 
US $ 200 million. 


Further, if the project is to be fast-tracked to be completed in five years from 2021-2025, a sum of around US $ 870 million per annum (or Rs.157 billion) will have to be invested by the government on physical earth works, infrastructure construction work, etc. 


Although such annual outlay may appear to be a considerable investment, it will not be such a daunting task for the government to raise the total requirement of funds from existing sources, if the public debt is managed in a sound manner.


Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product exceeds Rs.14,000 billion and the public debt exceeds Rs.13,000 billion. The existing stock of treasury bills and bonds amounts to Rs.5,500 billion. Hence, if the authorities are able to successfully reduce the treasury bill and bond interest rates to a level close to the level that existed at end-2014, the rates will be tightened by about 3 percent p.a., which alone will save a sum of around Rs.165 billion per year for the government. Incidentally, such saving will be more than the annual requirement of Rs.157 billion for this NEE project.


It may be recalled that the previous government was able to save such large amounts of money through the proper management of the Sri Lankan economy, during the term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and these surpluses were utilised for various development projects. 


Further, the shift of funds to investment will lead to a massive economic revival that will be visible and tangible across the economy, with new economic activities being spurred on by such investments.

 

Investment on NEE will infuse new life to economy that is now in shambles
Once the NEE is completed, there is no doubt that many areas of the country that are today identified as ‘difficult areas’, will undergo rapid development, since the entire country will become interconnected.


Businessmen and entrepreneurs will locate their business establishments and factories throughout the country. Investors in the tourism sector will take a renewed interest in constructing hotel complexes and tourist infrastructure facilities in all 
parts of the country. 


International investors will find Sri Lanka a hugely attractive location. The consequent economic progress will cover every village, while the present beleaguered building contractors of high, medium and small-scale constructions will enjoy a new lease of life. The beneficial impact of such a revival will soon trickle down to other sectors as well. Thus, the proposed expressway project will be a tremendous boost to the economy of the country.

 

People too have a responsibility
At present, Sri Lanka is trapped in a serious economic downward spiral. The economy is paralysed and has no direction. The current leaders have not introduced any worthwhile strategy in a manner that generates any business confidence. Even on the rare occasions where various projects have been suggested, those have failed miserably, since there has been no strategy to raise the funds necessary to implement such projects. 


From 2006 to 2014, Sri Lanka’s economic managers secured the required resources for the massive development projects launched and implemented during the term of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Money circulated freely and confidently within the country. There was never a shortage of funds for the war, reforms, rehabilitation, resettlement, development, relief measures and repayment of debt. That government faced the plethora of challenges that confronted it through systematic planning and strategic implementation of such plans. As a result, unprecedented improvement took place in infrastructure; interest rates and inflation were at manageable levels; the Sri Lankan rupee was stable as never before (or after) in history. Overall, all macroeconomic fundamentals were on a sound footing.


For a country to progress, it is necessary that there should be far reaching proposals that are realistic, useful and beneficial to the people of the country. If that happens, the entire country will become a dynamic worksite. 


This proposal for the NEE is one such proposal. At the same time, there is no doubt that there will be many challenges when this proposal is being implemented. Many crucial decisions will have to be taken. At that time, lamentations and excuses, similar to those that the leaders of the current government make before the people on a daily basis, 
will be of no use. 


Therefore, it is the bounden duty of the people to entrust the governance of the country to leaders who have a proven record of facing challenges and who are knowledgeable and experienced. That responsibility will need to be taken seriously by the entire population. 
(Ajith Nivard Cabraal is an ex-Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka)
Ajith Nivard Cabraal : He indeed helped Rajapaksha family to grow at the expense of poor Srilankan citizen  Sad Sad

samaritan


Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Ajith Navard will be an adviser to incoming president GR.

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