President’s policy statement : 09 key economic facts

February 7, 2024 at 11:23 AM

The fifth session of the ninth Parliament of Sri Lanka was inaugurated by President Ranil Wickremesinghe today (Feb 07). 

Presenting the policy statement, President Wickremesinghe announced key economic highlights of his government.  

Following are 09 economic highlights announced by the President;

  1. Despite the 1.9% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deficit in 2022, Sri Lanka achieved a surplus by the end of 2023, marking the first such occurrence since 1977.
  2. Sri Lanka managed to achieve a primary budget surplus in 2023, despite a budget primary deficit of 3.7% of GDP in 2022. 
  3. Despite suffering a loss of Rs. 745 billion by the end of 2022, State enterprises managed to generate a profit of Rs. 313 billion by September 2023.
  4. Substantial increase in tax registration, with the number of registrants soaring from 437,547 in 2022 to 1,000,029 by the end of 2023, representing a 130% increase.
  5. A notable development for the tourism sector with a substantial increase in tourist arrivals. From 194,495 visitors in 2021, arrivals surged to 1,487,303 in 2023, with over 200,000 tourists visiting in January alone. Additionally, he projected a further increase in annual tourist arrivals to 5 million.
  6. A positive shift was highlighted in Sri Lanka’s economic trajectory. Despite a 7.8% GDP contraction and six consecutive quarters of negative growth in 2022, the nation rebounded with a 1.6% growth rate in the third quarter of 2023.
  7. Plans were announced for implementing a debt restructuring strategy within the first six months of the year, which the President views as foundational for restoring the country’s economy and alleviating debt pressures.
  8. Plans were outlined to reduce the tax burden as economic reforms continue to stabilize the economy, while also revising the VAT percentage to further support economic growth.
  9. The President expressed optimism about achieving economic growth of 2% to 3% this year, with efforts underway to increase it to 5% by 2025 based on predictions from the IMF, World Bank, and Asian Development Bank. (NewsWire)