In his address at a workshop on trade finance organized by the International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL) at the Ramada Hotel Colombo this morning, Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary to the Treasury and Finance Ministry, highlighted the multifaceted challenges plaguing the Sri Lankan economy.

He attributed the prevailing economic crisis to entrenched structural weaknesses that have persisted for decades.

These weaknesses, he pointed out, encompass fiscal imbalances, inadequate policy buffers, vulnerabilities in the financial and monetary sectors, governance deficiencies, and institutional shortcomings.

The workshop’s opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Shanil Fernando, Chairman of ICC Sri Lanka, emphasizing the significance of addressing economic challenges for sustainable growth.

Additionally, Mr. Hemakumara Gunasekara, Secretary of ICC Sri Lanka, introduced the keynote speaker, Mr. Tat Yeen Yap, ICC Academy Trainer, who brought decades of banking experience to the event.

Mr. Yap’s expertise spanned various areas of trade finance, including documentary trade, supply chain finance, risk distribution, and correspondent banking.

Siriwardana also underscored the importance of accurate data provision to the government, stressing that previous economic collapses were partly due to a lack of precise information.

He affirmed the commitment to avoid replicating past errors by diligently furnishing precise data to the present government.

Siriwardana emphasized the necessity of addressing these longstanding issues, cautioning against the temptation to attribute the economic downturn solely to recent events.

While acknowledging the significance of efforts to combat corruption and enhance revenue collection, he stressed that these actions alone cannot serve as substitutes for comprehensive macroeconomic reforms.

Furthermore, Siriwardana elucidated that the delay in implementing essential reforms was primarily due to political factors, underscoring the imperative for the present generation to make sacrifices for the betterment of future generations.

The Finance Ministry official’s remarks come at a critical juncture as Sri Lanka grapples with mounting debt burdens and fiscal challenges.

Despite the inherent difficulties associated with implementing unpopular reforms, Siriwardana emphasized the necessity of prioritizing the nation’s long-term economic stability and prosperity.

In conclusion, Siriwardana’s address serves as a clarion call for concerted efforts towards comprehensive economic reforms, highlighting the indispensable role of proactive policymaking and collective sacrifice in charting a path towards sustainable growth and development for Sri Lanka.



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