President Mahinda Rajapaksa has expressed his appreciation for Australia’s support in a number of different sectors, including the support that has been extended thus far with preparations for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that will take place in November, the President’s office said.
The President also said that the tourism and service sectors are two areas that the Government is particularly keen on promoting further, particularly because of the high literacy rate of Sri Lanka.
The President said this when a high-powered Australian business delegation, led by Sri Lankan-born Australian businessman Dilip Kumar, met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees, the President’s office said.
The team, which includes some of Australia’s top business leaders, toured many parts of the island last week – including the East, South and Central regions.
Speaking about their impressions of Sri Lanka, the members of the delegation, many of whom were visiting the country for the first time, said they were very impressed by what they saw. One member of the delegation who had visited Sri Lanka 17 years ago said, “I can’t believe the change in Colombo” describing what he saw as “remarkable change.”
Responding to a comment by the delegation about the “fabulous roads” around the country, President Rajapaksa explained that rebuilding infrastructure was one of the main priorities of the Government after the war ended.
“After 30 years of war, we were destroyed,” President Rajapaksa said.
The Australian delegation consisted of the following:
1) Dilip Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, Kumar Group and Peninsula Motors in Sydney.
2) Simon Mordant, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Greenhill; Co/Director, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
3) Peter Ivany, Executive Chairman, Ivany Investment Group; Director, TAHL.
4) Andrew Banks, Chairman, Talent 2.
5) Stephen John Chapman, Deputy Chairman, Blackmore’s Limited; Independent Director, ANZ Wealth Group.
6) Danny Goldberg, Executive Chairman, Dakota Capital.
7) Phillip Cave, Chairman, Managing Director and Investment Committee Member, Anchorage Capital Partners.
8) John Marshall, Chairman and Founder, Marshall Investments; Chairman, Apparel Group.
9) Arvid Peterson, Managing Director, Peterson Investments.
Consul General of Sri Lanka in New South Wales and Queensland Ambassador Bandula Jayasekara, who coordinated the visit, was also present. (Colombo Gazette)