Qatar and Sri Lanka have witnessed a surge in diplomatic relations in the last three years, Doha Bank CEO Dr R Seetharaman has said during knowledge-sharing session titled ‘2018 Qatar-Sri Lanka Bilateral Opportunities’ held in Doha recently.
During the forum, Seetharaman said Sri Lanka has enjoyed close ties with Qatar, with over 140,000 Sri Lankans in Qatar.
“Sri Lanka can support Qatar in food. Sri Lankan companies are looking to take part in Qatari projects and establish joint ventures in various sectors. Qatari corporates can also explore opportunities in Sri Lanka’s infrastructure and energy sector. Qatar and Sri Lanka bilateral partnerships are in a defining moment,” Seetharaman stressed.
Sri Lanka’s central bank governor Dr Indrajit Coomaraswamy, who also spoke at the event, said Qatar has been a key contributor to Sri Lanka’s remittances. He said Qatar and Sri Lankan banks enjoy “excellent relationships, and want to take it to the next level.”
“Sri Lanka’s economic growth was at 3.3% in 2017 and will be returning to 4% by end of this year. The outlook for Sri Lanka remains strong with improved macroeconomic conditions.
“The economy is expected to rebound to a higher growth path in the medium term with the implementation of policy reforms by the government. Inflation is expected to remain within the targeted band of 4% to 6%,” Coomaraswamy said.
He added: “The central bank is moving towards flexible inflation targeting (FIT) by 2020. Fiscal consolidation efforts are expected to bring down the budget deficit to 3.5% by 2020, while both the current account and primary balances are expected to be surpluses.
“The external sector strengthened with a higher level of international reserves underpinned by a better export performance, a flexible exchange rate policy, and continuous inflows to the financial account.
The government’s economic vision seeks to transform Sri Lanka into a hub of the Indian Ocean.”
Sri Lankan ambassador A S P Liyanage said Qatar and Sri Lanka have unique opportunities to engage with each other.
“Qatar-based entrepreneurs can explore the opportunities in major areas such as investments, food and agriculture, hospitality, oil and gas, infrastructure, tourism, and Trade Services.
“I am pleased to inform that the Sri Lankan embassy in Qatar, under the guidance of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, and with the support of Doha Bank, has made arrangements to form the ‘Sri Lanka Qatar Business Council’, which would enable to improve the bilateral relations between the two countries in trade, investment, tourism, and other activities,” the ambassador said.
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