Make up your minds – Harsha tells businessmen

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By 2017-12-18

By Mario Andree

Highlighting that the present regime was moving towards better integration of Sri Lanka with the world economy, State Minister for Policy Planning and Economic Affairs Dr Harsha De Silva told the business community to make up their minds on what they wanted.
Responding to a query at a recent forum organized by the Sri Lanka Economic Association of Sri Lanka, he asked what the private sector wanted exactly, accusing them of being in two minds.

Businessmen attached to a shipping organization asked the Minister about the Government's plans for the shipping industry monopoly and the adverse effects of shipping liberalization.
De Silva countered the question by asking the shipping industry and even other industries to make up their mind on whether they favoured liberalization or monopolies.

"What do you want? If you want liberalization, you don't want a monopoly; if you want a monopoly, you don't want liberalization," he asked. However, according to him, the Government would not stop its efforts to liberalize the economy further, as it was the policy direction of the present regime.

Multichemi Group of Companies and Natures Beauty Creations Chairman and MD Samantha Kumarasinghe also slammed the Government for liberalizing the cosmetic industry in a presentation, highlighting that a large number of unhealthy products had entered the market.

A furious De Silva slammed the businessmen and economists present at the event, claiming that he accepted the invitation to address the forum on economic terms but it had turned into a political argument instead.
Despite many questions in the minds of those present, the minister took off early, before an economist stood up to point out that economics was a part of politics and vice-versa.

Before the Minister left, his final comments included, "The Government made some promises to the people and we have kept some of them. There is more to do, but it will take time."

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