We were assured policies won’t change for 5 years; that itself is good enough for me – Sumal Perera

November, 20, 2020

The 2021 Budget unveiled by the Government has given an assurance that the policies will remain unchanged for five years. 'That itself is good enough for me', Sri Lankan Billionaire Sumal Perera said whilst addressing the Post- Budget Forum 2021 today (20), that brought in Sri Lanka’s foremost businessmen in the country who control the key sectors of the economy to provide a critical view from the top, with State Minister for Money, Capital Markets and Public Enterprise Reform Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Treasury Secretary S. R. Attygalle in attendance.

"We can’t budget ourselves if the policies are changing from 'year to year' or from 'budget to budget' or from 'Finance Ministry to Finance Ministry'. So, this time we have been given an assurance that for five years the policies will remain same. That itself is good enough for me. The balance; it is up to the private sector to manage and deal with,"  Access Engineering PLC Chairman Sumal Perera said addressing the Post-Budget Forum 2021.

Meanwhile, reiterating the fact that a Budget should always be based on economic principles and should be consistent, Perera expressed the following; 

"When I was attending this conference, one of my business unit leaders came to me and said; why don’t you canvas for car imports. Because we are agents for JaguarLand Rover, and Isuzu and I said when the rupee goes to 215 what are you going to tell me. So, I understand individual pains that certain industries might have but, it's a choice for the better of the economy."

"As you know, over the last fifteen- twenty years, we have lived beyond our means as a country and our foreign reserves have depleted. Now it has come to a difficult position, where difficult decisions have to be made in order to put the economy back on track. I like to congratulate State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal. He is also an accountant like me. But this budget has been based on economic principles and not on accounting principles. A national budget should be based on economic principles and should be consistent. So, I like to thank State Minister Cabraal and Attygalle for doing this difficult work. I hope the private sector and all other stakeholders will support it. Of course, all of us will have some reservations and some different opinion."

Emphasizing on the role of the private sector in promoting economic growth, Perera stressed that the Government must be enabling the private sector to do their business.

"I think the business must be done by the private sector."

"The Government and the Ministers must be enabling the private sector to do their business. But when the Government also try to do business, I feel other than in certain industries where it has an impact by giving it all to the private sector like; banks, insurances, because if you give it only to the private sector it's fraught with danger when things get difficult. But, trading, running hotels, that type of basic business enterprises must be left in the hands of the private sector."

"I’m consistent with what I said two years ago and what I’m saying today. Those things don’t change with Government," Perera said.