Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the Government is currently discussing bringing in several pieces of new legislation to give special tax incentives to the industrial sector, to set up a logistics centre and an offshore financial center.He said that Sri Lanka’s first-ever ‘Digital Economy Strategy’ has now been drawn and is before Cabinet for approval.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the inauguration of a two-day forum to mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information at Mount Lavinia hotel yesterday.The PM, while stressing that the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is based on knowledge, pointed out that the Sri Lankan Government has made many commitments to promote knowledge industry and open access to information. “The journey has begun,” he remarked.
He also highlighted the need to bring in a ‘digitalization law’ to make all Government bodies comply with the Government’s initiatives to promote digital technology and set timeframes for such transformation.“Cabinet has been discussing the prepared Digital Economy Strategy over the past few weeks and hopefully it will get the Cabinet nod next week,” he said.
The Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Ministry, with the support of McKinsey and Company began work on the strategy in December last year.McKinsey and Company in its first report said that Digital Economy could uplift the country’s GDP by 1-3 percent in 2019. The strategy will focus on ways the Government, businesses and the community can adjust to seize the benefits of digital transformation. The Prime Minister also said the legislation on setting up a “Logistics Centre” and an “Offshore Financial Centre” is now being discussed.
The Logistics Centre is in line with the country’s aspirations to be the logistics hub in South Asia and will be located within the proposed Western Megapolis. An offshore financial centre is a small, low-tax jurisdiction that provides corporate and commercial services to non-residents in the form of offshore companies and the investment of offshore funds. The Colombo Port City has been planned as an offshore financial centre.
Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando, Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, UNESCO Delhi Office Director Eric Falt and UNESCO Knowledge Societies Division Director Dr. Indrajit Banerjee also spoke.