Sri Lanka plans to establish new economic zones to attract foreign investment

Aerial photo taken on Nov. 17, 2018 shows the construction site of the Colombo Port City project in Colombo Port City, Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo: Xinhua)

COLOMBO, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government will establish new economic zones in the country's Western and North Western provinces as well as Hambantota and Trincomalee districts to attract foreign investment, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Monday.

At least 1,000 acres of land will be allocated for each zone, said Wickremesinghe when presenting the 2023 budget in parliament.

Wickremesinghe said that a new agency will be established to create a conducive environment to promote investment and external trade.

He said that the country plans to attract foreign direct investment worth 3 billion U.S. dollars annually over the next 10 years.

The president said that a presidential commission will be established to assess and make recommendations on the public service and taxation to increase government revenue.

He also proposed to establish the National Productivity Commission to investigate and study productivity issues based on quantitative and qualitative data. The commission will make recommendations on trade adjustment programs and advise the government on micro-economic policies on industries, commerce and trade.

The president said that economic reforms of the government will not be confined to the reforms agreed on with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as reforms proposed by the IMF are focused on economic stabilization.

The government expects a high economic growth rate of 7-8 percent through reforms and modernization, said Wickremesinghe.

He added that the necessary legislative amendments and new bills for economic transformation will be presented to parliament soon.