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Sri Lanka expectation higher after new President: Businesses
14 Jan, 2015 12:41:47
Jan 14, 2015 (LBO) – Following the change of government in Sri Lanka last week, businessmen and economists expressed hope for better commerce in the country.
Sri Lanka in its Presidential Election on January 8, elected United National Party (UNP) backed President Maithripala Sirisena to office and dethroned pro-China President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The UNP is seen as traditionally pro business and pro-West, while the ousted President has been pro-China.

The previous government passed the budget for 2015 under president Rajapaksa in November outlined the economic road map for the country. The Central Bank and the Securities and Exchange Commission also presented their strategic guidance under Vision 2020 targets.

In this context the LBO spoke to academics and business leaders on economic and political changes took place in the Island.

A senior economist of the Colombo University said that Sri Lanka would have a better economic prospect with inclusive political and economic institutions under the new government.

Chairman of LAUGFS Holdings Limited W.K.H Wegapitiya however said that he expected better fiscal policies under the new government.

“As a businessmen it is too early to comment. But we hope there will be better fiscal policies,” Wegapitiya told the LBO.

“We need good governance and anyone who creates the environment mostly welcome.”

A senior capital market analyst said that the political change looked positive for private sector.

“The political change in the island looks positive for the private sector,” Ravi Abeysuriya, senior capital market analyst and CEO of Candor.

“We are very positive towards the new political change which will lead to much better governance and better management of government institutions. It will good for the capital market,” Abeysuriya said.

In 2014 the S&P SL20 crossed the 4000 mark for the first time since its launch, while market capitalization reached LKR 3 trillion closing the year on 3, 104.9 million and the All Share Price Index (ASPI) crossed the 7500 mark and closed the year on LKR 7, 298.95 million.

The daily average turnover increased by 71 percent over the previous year from LKR 828 million in 2013 to LKR 1.415 million in 2014.

Priyanga Dunusignhe, Senior Economist of Colombo University said that private sector expectations were high with the new government.

“With the new government hope has been created among the business community,” Dunusignhe told the LBO.

“Normally UNP policies are pro-business. Definitely there must be some higher expectations among the business community.”

Senior tax consultant N.R Gajendran said that change was good but expressed doubts. “Change is good, but I don't think there is going to be major challenges,"

"Expectations are high. There is lot of democratic hope after election,” he said.

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