The government has initiated measures to establish economic zones in the former war affected Mullaittivu District with the aim of empowering the region, officials said.

Accordingly, the Board of Investment (BoI) has requested the government officials of Mullaittivu to identify land areas to establish economic zones in the future.

Mullaittivu GA, Roopavathi Ketheeswaran speaking to Nation said the officials were in the process of identifying possible locations for the government to set up the economic zones.

“We are currently identifying and assessing certain areas. We would then provide the necessary reports of our studies and analysis to the BoI for them to take the next step,” she said.

The move to establish economic zones in Mullaittivu comes in the backdrop of a recent World Bank report stating that the district was the worst affected by poverty followed by Mannar and Kilinochchi.

The report stated that the lack of access to labour markets and and high unemployment rate among youth and educated women were key factors that had contributed to the high rate of poverty in the region.

Ketheeswaran pointed out that the region lacked proper job opportunities where the youth and women could earn fixed and stable salaries and added that focus had to be shifted towards establishing opportunities for them to improve their livelihood.