Panel Discussion in Canberra, Australia on “Pathways to Economic Recovery in Sri Lanka”

Panel Discussion in Canberra, Australia on “Pathways to Economic Recovery in Sri Lanka”

Given the importance and interest in current developments in Sri Lanka and at the request of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) with the Institute of Global Development, the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra organized a round table discussion on “Pathways to Economic Recovery in Sri Lanka” on Tuesday, 17 October 2023 at the UNSW Campus in Canberra.  The discussion was held in hybrid mode with the virtual participation of Sri Lankan experts and professionals.

The panellists from Sri Lanka included member of parliament and Chair of Public Finance & former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha De Silva,  Executive Committee Member of National People’s Power political party former deputy minister and former parliamentarian Sunil Handunetti, Executive Director of Verite Research, Sri Lanka Dr. Nishan De Mel, CEO of Advocata Institute, Sri Lanka Dhananath Fernando, and Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on Strategic Trade Policy and Board Member of Geopolitical Cartographer Dr. Ganeshan Wignaraja.  Prof. Satish Chand of UNSW Canberra School moderated the panel discussion and the Q & A session.

Senior Lecturer of UNSW Dr. Sarath Mataraarachchi Sydney welcomed the participants and gave an outline of the subject matter and the objective of conducting the panel discussion from an academic point of view.

Inaugurating the roundtable discussion, Deputy Rector of UNSW Prof. Michael O’Donnell welcomed the participants who joined virtually as well as the other  participants who were in the audience.

High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia Chitranganee Wagiswara in her introductory remarks spoke briefly on the economic crisis and the debt recovery process in Sri Lanka.  While appreciating the interest of the academics and think tanks in Australia on Sri Lanka, she stated that Sri Lanka welcomes objective and independent views that would contribute to the deliberations on the subject.

Dr. Harsha De Silva spoke of the consequences of the present economic and debt crisis, the taxes introduced by the present government and its effects, and issues that the government of Sri Lanka could focus on to prioritize and rectify the current situation.

Mr. Handunnetti spoke of the importance of focusing on political decisions that are necessary for economic growth. The three representatives from the think tank highlighted the root causes that led to the economic and debt crisis and the decisions and requirements that need to be taken by the government of Sri Lanka to move forward in the recovery process.

Director of the UNSW, Global Development Institute Prof. George Varughese  delivered the vote of thanks and stated that the roundtable discussion brought together scholars and practitioners to an open discussion on innovative pathways to economic recovery in Sri Lanka. The audience in Canberra included Emi. Professor of Economics at the Australian National University Prof. Premachandra Athukorala, officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade of Australia, diplomatic officers from the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canberra, among other invitees.

Sri Lanka High Commission


20 October 2023

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