Sri Lanka celebrates her 66th anniversary of independence at a time when the country has gained remarkable achievements in economic, social and cultural spheres ushered in by the present government during its eight year tenure.
With the defeat of terrorism in May 2009 which was considered unachievable, normalcy returned to the country that enabled the government to embark on many a development project that yielded far-reaching benefits to the country and the people.
The war devastated economy and the social fabric of the North and the East of the country are being speedily restored through the implementation of a multitude of physical and social infrastructure projects.
Rehabilitation and resettlement of displaced persons were completed within a short period.
The livelihood of the people was strengthened by resuscitating the agriculture, fisheries and small industries, etc.
The successful completion of the elections in September 2013 for setting up of the Provincial Council of the Northern Province is a landmark event that augers well for promotion of reconciliation, understanding and peace among our different communities.
It is significant that a record number of major development projects in the vital sectors of the economy; such as power generation, water supply, irrigation, shipping, aviation, telecommunication, housing, information technology, transport, etc. were implemented within this eight year period under the visionary leadership of the President.
Among these projects, power generation plants at Norochchalai and Upper Kotmale, Hambantota Port, South-Colombo Port, Mattala International Airport, two expressways, take pride of place.
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Five new thrust sectors of the economy— maritime, aviation, knowledge, commercial and energy referred to as “new hubs” had been established to propel the country’s economic development to greater heights.
Tourism sector had recorded unprecedented improvement with high tourist arrivals and increased hotel accommodation.
There is a construction boom in all parts of the country.
Beautification of major cities and townships have attracted both local and the foreign visitors.
The country has achieved self-sufficiency in rice production.
The poverty level and unemployment had been brought down below 5 percent.
Sri Lanka is now considered a middle-level income country.
We are optimistic that the country will reach per capita income of $4,000 by year 2016.
The country’s advancement in diverse spheres could be showcased to the outside world when Sri Lanka hosted quite successfully CHOGM in November 2013.
The visiting heads of states were marveled at the vast strides the country has taken in many fronts in a short period since the defeat of terrorism.
Additionally, at the CHOGM Sri Lanka was elevated to the Chair of the Commonwealth for the next two years which marks a high-point in the country’s achievements.
The country is poised to take off for further advancement in the economic, social and cultural spheres by implementing many more ambitious projects to emerge as the “Wonder of Asia” before long.
It is therefore incumbent on all of us, the patriotic citizens of the country, to extend our unstinted support, cooperation and commitment to the government in its endeavor to achieve this objective.
On this day, we celebrate the 66th anniversary of Independence of our motherland, we resolve to dedicate ourselves to contribute collectively to this laudable task of nation building.
D. M. Jayaratne
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka