Indrajit Coomaraswamy: Transforming Sri Lanka's export sector

Speech by Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at the 20th Annual General Meeting of the Exporters Association of Sri Lanka, Colombo, 24 October 2017.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
18 January 2018

Today, in addition to the growth and employment objectives, we have this onerous debt problem that we have to address. We can't really address that without a significant improvement in our export performance.

Now, by way of introduction, before I get into the issues relating to the export sector, specifically, let me just give by way of background, some remarks about the growth model that the government is trying to put into place. It is private sector driven with exports and FDI as key figures.

If I may say a few words about each of those: I've been a public servant all my life, so I don't subscribe to the view that the private sector is the panacea for all our ills. In fact, if you look around the world, you get different mixes of the private sector and the State in terms of delivering good development outcomes. But in our case, the public debt and deficit dynamics are such, that the State simply cannot lead the development process. It's nothing to do with ideology. It is a purely pragmatic assertion that it has to be the private sector that has to drive the growth in the regeneration process of this country.