It is a matter of great pride to us that Sri Lanka is a founder member of the recently established Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank of China, a bank whose financial capacity is comparable with the combined resources of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and further benefits will flow to our country in significant measure, External Affairs Minister Professor G.L. Peiris said in Mulkirigala over the week-end.
He was addressing a series of rallies organised by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party in the Hambantota and Matara Districts.
Prof. Peiris said that the Free Trade Agreement with China, for which the ground had already been prepared by the completion of feasibility studies, is expected to become a reality very soon, and this will enable Sri Lankan exports to secure access on a highly advantageous basis to the vast markets of China.
He said in view of the location of Hambantota sea port and the Mattala international airport, there is no doubt that the district of Hambantota will benefit immensely. The value of exports out of Sri Lanka has reached its highest level ever, and the country has received as many tourists during the first seven months of this year as it did for the whole of last year, the minister said.
“A further fillip will be added to tourism with the completion of Shangri-La Hotel in Hambantota next year,” he added.
Speaking in Kamburupitiya, Prof. Peiris said that a large number of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs hailed from the Matara District, and they would no doubt be assisted by the conducive business environment which the Government had established for them.
He referred to opportunities for enhanced human resource development which will be available with the greater infusion of Japanese assistance in the spheres of training and technology transfer.
Prof. Peiris recalled that Deniyaya had been seriously considered as the site for the establishment of the University of Ceylon before Peradeniya was finally decided upon.
The Minister said all these developments which had been made possible by the government’s firm commitment to an agenda which gives pride of place to sections of the community which had been neglected previously.
These are the policies which need to be protected today against onslaughts from within the country as well as outside, Prof. Peiris said.