Sri Lanka says optimistic economic growth to remain intact despite terror attacks

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Tuesday said the island’s economic growth was expected to get back on track in the coming months following the set back suffered from the Easter Sunday terror explosions.

In a media briefing, Samaraweera told journalists that the economic growth was not expected to fall below targets in 2019 and the growth outlook had not been dimmed at all.

“Although the tourism industry is facing a downturn, by the end of this year, I believe that will also return to normal,” Samaraweera said.

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank has forecast a GDP growth of 3 to 3.5 percent for 2019.

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have also predicted an optimistic growth rate of 3.5 percent.

Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy said on Monday evening that though the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21 would cause a minimal setback to the island, they had not thrown macro fundamentals off-track, nor was there any basis for growth to dip below 3 percent this year.

“The April 21 attacks have had and will have an impact, especially on tourism, but it was manageable as a larger part of production capacity of the economy such as manufacturing, exports and agriculture hasn’t been affected,” Coomaraswamy said.

He added that from a medium-term perspective, the view on Sri Lanka was a “great upside” with its strategic location in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Over 250 people were killed and over 500 injured when nine suicide bombers hit three luxury hotels and three churches on April 21.

Police said security forces had arrested a majority of the suspects linked to the explosions and the country was soon returning to normalcy.