Sri Lanka has to combat price controls and promote free trade: New Chief of Chamber

BTJ Desk Report
Sri Lanka has to combat price controls and promote free trade: New Chief of Chamber

Ceylon chamber of commerce should get more involved in combatting price controls, support to free trade and also in agriculture said newly elected chairman Mr. Duminda Hulangamuwa recently on a press conference.

In his inaugural speech, he said “ We need to get involved in areas where our members are facing issues such as promoting corporate agriculture, removing price controls, promoting FTAs, tariff issues etc,”. He added “I firmly believe that our success as a Chamber is directly linked to the success of each individual Member.” He is also is the Country Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Sri Lanka faced the worst currency crisis in the history of its central bank in 2022 as the currency collapsed after two years of money printing to enforce artificial interest rates and banks gave loans with printed money instead of deposits.

Sri Lanka and several other countries with reserve collecting central banks including Pakistan and Bangladesh which cut rates as the economy recovered from a Covid pandemic are facing forex shortages and currency depreciation.

The country defaulted on its external debt and private companies also found it difficult to repay foreign suppliers and principal, triggering shortages of goods and political instability. It had faced repeated cycles of money printing to enforce artificially low interest rates, IMF programs and stabilization measures to reign in external instability in the pasts. Deficits widen as corrective measures are applied, and economy slows.

Former chairman of the chamber, Mr. Govinda swamy said “The private sector has over the years learned to survive in the face of formidable challenges,” he said. “It is now up to us, as the private sector, to stand together to preserve our enterprises and prepare our businesses for a growth mode as we emerge from the difficulties of the last 12 months.

“The challenges were compounded for SMEs and entrepreneurs, for whom survival and perseverance were the top priorities last year. “While we look at macro policies that will shape our economy, we must also not forget the backbone of the economy which is suffering. “We hope that with the normalization of interest rates and improvement in demand will ease some of these concerns for our SMES.”


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