Budget will focus on ‘Empowering Private Sector’ - Finance Minister


Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Dr Harsha de Silva with foreign delegates

 Minister of Finance and Media  Mangala Samaraweera met the Director for South Asia of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, Mengistu Alemayehu, in Washington, Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund/World Bank. Wide ranging discussions focused on ways and means of enhancing mutual cooperation to promote private sector contribution for the economic development of Sri Lanka.

 Finance Minister Samaraweera commended the cooperation extended by the IFC towards promoting the private sector contribution for the development of the country’s economy at a time where the government had accorded high priority to private sector involvement in the economy by way of Public-Private Partnerships. 

Samaraweera, who is scheduled to present his maiden Budget next month as the Minister of Finance said the budget was aimed at creating a robust, flourishing and modern economy and would  focus on a start - up culture of "empowering the private sector". Following extensive deliberations with Minister Samaraweera and his delegation, IFC Director Alemayehu pledged IFC support for infrastructure development, eco-tourism and affordable housing initiatives in Sri Lanka.

 IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has its focus on the private sector operating in more than 100 developing countries and applies lessons learned in one region to solve problems in another. Sri Lanka has been a member of the IFC since its inception in 1956 and it has so far committed over USD 1.3 billion in Sri Lanka.

 IFC’s committed portfolio in Sri Lanka covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and healthcare. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities.

 The Sri Lankan delegation included Deputy Minister Dr Harsha de Silva, Senior Advisor to the Finance Ministry Mano Tittawella, Deputy Secretary to the Treasury S.R. Attygalle, Additional Director General Ajith Abeysekara and Hemantha Pubudusiri, Director of the External Resources Department. 

 Mengistu Alemayehu was accompanied by Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, WB Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives and Amena Arif, IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

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