Govt. seeking to curb foreign dependence, says Prasanna Ranatunga
By Dinitha RathnayakeA programme to boost local production will be implemented in the 2022 Budget to curb Sri Lanka’s reliance on foreign nations for imports, noted Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga.Speaking at a meeting held in Minuwangoda last Saturday (23), Ranatunga stated that the current Government aims to centre the country’s development on the local economy instead of depending on outside sources.The event was organised to mark the commencement of the construction of a park in Minuwangoda to attract tourists to the local product sales centre that is being developed under the “100 Town” development programme under the President’s vision statement. The local product sales centre, developed under an investment of Rs. 20 million, will have 16 stalls and is scheduled for completion by the end of this year.Eleven more such outlets are scheduled for construction in the Gampaha District under the Urban Development Authority (UDA). The centres will be based in Peliyagoda, Ekala, Attanagalla, Makewita, Ganemulla, Mellawagedara, Divulapitiya, and Awariyawatta. A total of 120 such outlets are to be built throughout the country.“An urban development programme is now being implemented in collaboration with the UDA. We are working to make Minuwangoda a sleepless city, especially near the Katunayake Airport,” explained the Minister. “We too are facing the global crisis. Once the country is open and returned to normalcy, there is the potential to solve current problems. Also, everyone should follow healthcare policies; we have lost many human lives in the recent past.”Ranatunga added that the Government will present the 2022 Budget on 12 November, which will prioritise local products to develop a methodology to deal with such situations.“We are launching a programme to provide essential food to the people who produce village food to boost the village economy. The results of these will take time, but the result is a sustainable programme that will build the future of the country,” he stated.