President optimistic that economy could be re-built

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is optimistic that the economy adversely affected by the COVID – 19 pandemic could be re-built on a solid basis, the President’s Media Division said.

The Presidential Task Force in charge of the Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication has been entrusted with the responsibility of formulating a new economic model to achieve this objective. President directed that the Task Force should prepare economic plans with specified targets in different areas that come under its purview and implement them.

The President expressed these views during a meeting with the members of the newly-appointed Task Force held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday to discuss modalities relating to the resumption of civilian life and work from May 11th. “Apparel and tourism sectors which make a huge contribution to the national economy should be revitalized to suit the changing situations,” President said.

The President was of the view that new opportunities are now open to attract tourists from countries where the COVID – 19 virus has subdued. Medical tourism can be promoted by highlighting the capabilities of indigenous medical system which was used for treatment of the virus-infected people. In order to encourage high-spending tourists, visas must be issued to them supplemented by an internationally recognized certificate. Some tourists prefer to stay longer than usual in a particular country especially during the winter season.

President highlighted the possibility of strengthening the tourism sector by attracting such long term travellers. Members of the Task Force were told to pay attention to promote domestic tourism so that the local hotel industry could be saved from collapse. President also pointed out the possibility of attracting more foreign investors to invest in the Port City and the Industrial Zone in Hambantota.

The Ministry Secretaries were entrusted with the responsibility of identifying opportunities for investments instead of seeking foreign loans. During the last few weeks a number of new innovations have been made in the country. Steps should be taken to introduce these products to the global market.

Head of the Task Force Basil Rajapaksa said that the newly instituted Task Force has the capability of fulfilling its mandate with a new vision in order to achieve objectives set out by the President. The Task Force will support new businesses and will extend the fullest cooperation to already existing large, medium and small scale enterprises, he stated. Although the private sector offices have been advised to resume work at 10.00 am daily from May 11th, industrial and production activities can be adjusted in accordance with their requirements.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa warned that no loss of employment should take place both in the state and private sectors while the country is moving forward.

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