With preparations for the upcoming General Elections gaining momentum, the major political parties recently laid down their plans for the people through their respective manifestos. The Nation Gain provides the readers a gist of the proposals made by the three major political parties in terms of the country’s economic development
UNP to focus on economic zones
The United National Party (UNP) has pledged to establish several economic zones for various sectors of the country’s economy in its manifesto.
Accordingly, the party has proposed 11 industrial and technological development zones island-wide as part of its economic development plan.
In view of that, the zones would be established in Hambantota (shipping related manufacturing industry), Raigama (user-based and modern technological products), Maha Oya (manufacturing industry), Trincomalee (manufacturing industry), Wanni (manufacturing industry), Colombo (aircraft and maritime hub – supply services), Colombo central (industry initiatives and financial service facilities), Kandy (information, agriculture technology and other technological industries), Galle (information technology and other technological industries), Jaffna (information, agriculture technology and other technological industries) and Kilinochchi (manufacturing industry).
The manifesto also stated that the UNP would also work towards establishing a gem and jewellery export center in Sri Lanka.
Further, the manifesto also in addition, a future UNP government has also set out plans to set up 45 economic zones island-wide while also providing one million jobs. Besides, 23 agricultural zones and 10 fisheries development zones have also been proposed in the manifesto.
An Agricultural Sales Authority will also be set up to coordinate the sales of agricultural products while also improving transport, storage facilities. Further, the authority would also improve refrigeration facilities to preserve the products.
A Southern tourism zone from Bentota to Mirissa (including Dedduwa) will also be established while development of the cultural triangle (including Kandy) would also be a priority of a UNP-led government.
The manifesto has proposed concessions to women living in rural areas who are burdened with debt.
UPFA pledges 1.5m jobs
The United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in its election manifesto has pledged 1.5 million job opportunities during the five years leading up to 2020.
In its manifesto, the UPFA has also proposed a Rs 50 guaranteed price for a kilo of paddy, while the amount for a kilo of tea and rubber is Rs.90 and Rs.300 respectively.
In terms of tourism, the UPFA plans to achieve a target of four million tourist arrivals by 2020, with revenue of US$ 5 billion.
Thereby, the sector would provide 350,000 job opportunities through this proposal. Tourist hotels would be provided with electricity at a subsidized rate in order to enhance its operations to improve the quality of service provided.
Moreover, the manifesto has also pledged the formulation of a pension scheme to the workers and employees of the apparel sector.
Furthermore, the UPFA intends to establish five Information Technology (IT) villages in Kandy, Galle, Jaffna, Katunayake and Trincomalee and also hopes to train the youth in the respective regions to be employed at these villages.
The manifesto also proposes an increase of the basic government sector salary to Rs.25,000 and increase the cost of living allowance to Rs.10,000. In addition, the basic salary of the private sector would also be increased by Rs.3,000 while the daily wage of estate workers would be increased to Rs.1,000.
JVP roots for agriculture development
The JVP in its manifesto has pledged to set up plants for production of key components of local industries while calling for tax exemption during the first five years for private sector institutions involved production activity.
Further, the manifesto also contains several proposals pertaining to the development of the agriculture sector of the country.
Accordingly, the JVP has proposed the setting up of production plants for fertilizers, sulfuric acid, which is a key component in many industrial sectors, the recommencement of the scrap metal industry.
The JVP has also proposed a plant to produce calcium carbonate for toothpastes in Balangoda. Accordingly, the plant would cut down the importation of the chemical component, since there already is a deposit of calcium carbonate in the region.
The JVP also proposes to empower 1000 dairy producing villages by expanding the local and international market for milk, cheese, curd and other dairy products. Thus, the local dairy production would be increased to make the country self-sufficient in fresh milk and milk products.
In addition, a pension and life insurance schemes for fishermen have also been spelt out in the JVP election manifesto.
The JVP also plans to increase daily flights to and from the country from 70 to 150, while also looking at increasing tourist arrivals to three million.
SOEs in one umbrella
Sri Lanka’s United National Party said it will place all State owned enterprises under a holding company, whose trustees will be appointed with the agreement of political parties and civil society.
“The government owns the biggest commercial enterprises in the country and this ownership is maintained on behalf of the people,” the UNP said in its manifesto for the August 17 General Elections.
“Unfortunately, for the past 50 years these enterprises have not been managed properly and therefore suffered huge losses. “As a solution all State enterprises will be placed under a holding company.”