DDR: all stakeholders must work together - Outgoing CCC chief | Sunday Observer

DDR: all stakeholders must work together - Outgoing CCC chief

2 July, 2023
The Outgoing Chairman Vish Govindasamy with the new Chairman Duminda  Hulangamuwa
The Outgoing Chairman Vish Govindasamy with the new Chairman Duminda Hulangamuwa

The Outgoing Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) Vish Govindasamy, appreciated the steps taken by President, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance in navigating the debt restructuring process and prioritising the financial sector stability.

“The recent announcement on the Domestic Debt Restructuring (DDR) will provide much needed clarity on the way forward in terms of domestic debt. We hope this will now be passed in Parliament and all stakeholders work together in this process,” he told the Chamber’s 184th Annual General Meeting on Friday.

“The recent steep fiscal changes with taxation as well as the DDR are signals of the country’s commitment towards regaining debt sustainability. We hope these steps will encourage all our external creditors to fast-track the discussions so that we can bring to close the restructuring by September, ahead of the second tranche of the IMF.”

He said that taking over the reins of the Chamber in 2021, when the country was emerging from the pandemic, only to head straight into the worst post-independence economic crisis the country had ever experienced was very challenging.

“I witnessed first-hand the unfolding of the economic crisis, and the monumental effort the Chamber and other stakeholders undertook to bring about stability.”

During the period of political instability, the Ceylon Chamber engaged with all the political parties and even the Maha Sangha for the first time in the process of developing a national consensus towards forming a National Government to steer the country out of the economic crisis.

“The Ceylon Chamber’s leadership also met frequently with key policymakers and the IMF, contributing significantly towards securing Board approval for the Extended Fund Facility.

“The resilience of the private sector during the past year was highlighted by the performance of exports.

“In 2022, Sri Lankan merchandise (goods such as tea and rubber) exports exceeded USD 13 billion for the first time in the country’s history, despite the multitude of challenges.

“The private sector has over the years learned to survive in the face of formidable challenges.

“It is now up to us, as the private sector, to stand together to preserve our enterprises and prepare our businesses for a growth mode as we emerge from the difficulties of the past 12 months.

“The challenges were compounded for SMEs and entrepreneurs, for whom survival and perseverance were the top priorities last year.

“Now the challenges that our sectors faced domestically have reversed to external challenges where global demand has been falling. We hope that with the normalisation of interest rates and improvement in demand will ease some of these concerns for our SMEs,” he said.

Duminda Hulangamuwa, was elected as the new Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.