If consumers gave preference to locally manufactured products and services Sri Lanka could be a first-world country in four years time, Chairman of Mawbima Lanka Padanama told The Island yesterday.
`The Mawbima Lanka Padanama (MLP) will today make public facts and figures on which we have made this declaration. A saving of about US $2 billion can be made and this will significantly reduce the budget deficit,` A. Wickramanayake said.
He said rice shortages could easily have been avoided but an apparent lack in effective policy has left acres upon acres of rice fields barren and uncultivated. He said that Sri Lanka has the capacity to be self sufficient in milk but too much reliance in international brands had led to there not being a need to develop the local milk industry, until now.
`We can easily produce enough bio-fuel through sugar cane ethanol which can be used as a substitute for petrol, but the government still has done nothing about it. The need for a port in Hambantota was mooted 10 years ago and it is only now that it is materialising. We cannot wait ten years more for the state to look into the possibilities of producing bio-fuel in the country.
MLP introduced a voluntary accreditation policy for companies with a local equity ownership of 51 percent and above.
`While MLP strives to encourage people to purchase local products we also emphasise the need for local manufacturers to improve product quality and standards and reach international standards so that we could gain from exports as well,` Wickramanayake said.