Sri Lanka has taken bold steps to minimize the severe impacts of polycrisis on various sectors and communities while ensuring that the country’s sustainable development priorities remain on track, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said.
Addressing the United Nations ‘Sri Lanka Partnership Accelerator High-Level Forum’, which provided a platform to discuss the importance of partnerships, in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals on Monday (08), Semasinghe pointed out that the polycrisis has severely challenged Sri Lanka’s development trajectory, constraining its ability to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.
Explaining the steps taken by the government to mitigate impacts of the crises on various sectors and communities, the Minister said the Government has introduced further progressive tax reforms that go hand in hand with tax administration reforms to have a broader tax base, better compliance, and stricter enforcement.
The government has taken strict measures to manage appropriation of funds effectively. State Owned Enterprise Reforms are being carried out for restructuring the most fiscally significant State-Owned Enterprises.
The new Public Financial Management Act will be introduced incorporating binding fiscal rules and steps have been taken to widen the social safety nets to support the most vulnerable people in our society.
The Minister also stated that an export oriented diversified economy, an environmentally friendly blue-green economy, a digital economy and a knowledge economy will be created while safeguarding the human rights of all people and the commitment of the government to create the enabling environment for private sector led growth, while ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are shared by all segments of society.
He also highlighted the support of UNFPA, to launch the first ever ‘National Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment’ to establish a framework to guide and standardize the development of laws, policies, programs, and mechanisms to ensure, equal rights and opportunities for women in all spheres, structures and spaces.
Speaking further Minister Semasinghe mentioned about the two important legislations, the new Central Bank Act and the Anti-corruption Bill which will grant administrative and financial autonomy, to the Central Bank and prevent it from external influences.
The proposed Anti-Corruption Bill seeks to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework to address bribery and corruption and enhance transparency, integrity and accountability of government.
“It is our belief that both pieces of legislation would contribute immensely to strengthening governance frameworks for sustainable development in the country,” he said.
“We are pleased to note that the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2023-27 for Sri Lanka (UNSDCF) has been developed in partnership with the government and other stakeholders and that it is well aligned with our national development priorities.”
The four priority areas for action identified in the Cooperation Framework are critical to Sri Lanka’s sustainable development agenda. These include;
- Inclusive and Equitable Human Development and Well-Being;
- Resilient and Green Recovery and Growth for Shared Prosperity and Environmental Sustainability;
- Social Cohesion and Inclusive Governance & Justice
- Gender Equality.
The State Minister further assured Sri Lanka’s commitment to working closely with the UN and other partners to advance sustainable development in the country.
“We believe that partnerships are essential in achieving our shared vision for a more prosperous and equitable future for all Sri Lankans,” Minister Semasinghe told the Forum.