COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the government is burdened with the payment of installments and interest of massive loans obtained by the previous regime. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the newly modernized Ambeywela Highland Milk Powder Factory today, the Prime Minister said the debt burden can be relieved by increasing investment on exports. The Highland Milk Powder Factory in Ambeywela has been modernized installing modern machinery at a cost of. US$ 30.6 million. It has the capacity of producing milk powder from 160,000 liters of milk an hour. The management of the factory revealed that the new factory could supply 25 percent of the milk powder requirement of the country. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe inspected the fully-pledged factory with modern machinery and later handed over certificates to milk farmers in the Nuwara Eliya District.
Speaking at the occasion, the Prime Minister said that the government hopes to increase investment and trade as well as plans to export more items. Earlier Sri Lanka was confined to three export commodities – tea, rubber and coconut. Thereafter the country began exporting apparel and solid rubber tires. Plans are underway to export 6000 products after regaining the GSP+ facility, the Premier said. He emphasized that Sri Lanka would be able to increase revenue by exporting 50-100 items in the short run. Measures will be launching to increase the investments, the Prime Minister added. He said the country has lost Rs. 46 billion as a result of the construction of the Hambantota Port and the government has gained US$ 1.12 billion (Rs. 165 billion) under the present agreement of the Hambanthota Port development initiative.