PM wants more urbanisation for growth
Nov 1, 2016 – With the Government‘s enthusiasm running high on its flagship Megapolis project Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said urbanisation and related infrastructure initiatives holds the key for Sri Lanka’s economic prospects in the future.
These comments were made at an event organised to celebrate the United Nations declared ‘World Cities Day’.
The ambitious $ 40 b Western Megapolis plan envisions the spatial transformation and infrastructure needed by the capital and related suburbs to achieve a high-income economy. Last month the Government laid the foundation for one of the key ventures of the plan – the Science and Technology Park in Pitipana, Homagama – with an investment of $ 130m.
Referring to cities around the world which has acted as economic cornerstones for their respective countries Wickremesinghe said, “In the world, economic growth was driven by cities. In America it is cities like New York, Houston and Los Angeles that contributed towards the major part of growth. In fact, London was the heart for the total economic development of England.”
In Southern India modern cities – such as Trivandrum, Amaravati and Chennai which accommodate populations up to 100 million – have the potential to outshine smaller cities like Colombo, implied Wickremesinghe.
“We can’t have a small number. We should also have a bigger city. We want this to be the epic centre of the country’s development initiative,” he said.
He also added that as Colombo will be placed strategically between the global shipping and aviation hubs of Dubai and Singapore, the commercial spill offs would be immense and would garner a more influential role in dealing with affairs in the Indian Ocean.
While admitting that Colombo will be the most developed city upon the success of the Western Region Megapolis plan, Wickremesinghe indicated that other regions of the country would also be benefited from the economic overflow generating from the Western Province.
With the completion of the Japanese aided Colombo-Kandy highway Wickremesinghe elaborated his plans to setup industrial factories and develop tourism in the North Western Province, particularly in cities like Kurunegala and Kuliyapitiya.
In the Southern Province, with the lease of the Hambantota air and sea ports to the prospective joint Chinese and Sri Lankan company, a major industrial zone is also to be established. The cumulative value of the lease of both the projects is expected to fetch more than $ 1 b.