Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said that the country’s debt-to-GDP currently stands around 75% and a significant portion of all Government revenue is currently going towards debt repayment.
As a result he says the government is experiencing fiscal difficulties to meet its development and rehabilitation goals.
Speaking at a World Trade Organisation meeting in Geneva, Bathiudeen said that despite Sri Lanka’s commitments to trade liberalization, a lower tariff structure has forced formidable challenges to the Government in particular to revenue sources.
He said the global market slowdown and the fluctuation on the global demand for the commodities that Sri Lanka trades with have increased the country’s vulnerability to external pressures.
“While upholding the country’s commitments to multilateral trading system, Sri Lanka will explore further opportunities for bilateral and regional trade with emerging economies. Sri Lanka aims at effective implementation of Trade Facilitation. Sri Lanka, being a country open for trade, believes that minimizing trade barriers and reducing transaction cost of trade are effective and efficient ways for future development,” he said.
The Minister said Sri Lanka is looking to establish a productive trade facilitation programme in the country with the assistance of the international agencies and the donor community. (Colombo Gazette)