The Government would soon introduce new policies make Sri Lanka a regional education hub for South Asia, said Minister of Information and Communication Technology and Minister of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Bandula Gunawardana.

The Minister said that he would put in place policies to create hubs such as the Biyagama Economic Zone for the export of services.

Gunawardana was speaking at the launch of a Commemorative stamp for the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants on January 17. CIMA Chairman Amal Ratnayake was also at the event. Gunawardana said that when Sri Lankans think of exports, they tend to only think of the exports of goods. He felt that Sri Lanka could emulate the Malaysian model and begin to export educational services to students from the broader South Asian region. He noted that there was a considerable number of Maldivian students in the country. He called for a Human Resource based export zone.

He noted that CIMA was present in Sri Lanka even before Independence.

He described this period as being one where in only the English media existed. He noted that after Independence, the Sinhalese and Tamils came into a more widespread usage.

Gunawardana regretting the civil conflict said it had a negative impact on development.

He alleged that development came to a halt following the election of the previous government. He said the construction of roads, port infrastructure and land reclamation, were all at a standstill. He said Sri Lanka was far from its production possibility frontier during the tenure of the previous government.

“Entrepreneurs were treated as rogues. He said that entrepreneurs had been dragged to the FCID and asked to explain their wealth.

He said that this resulted in the low growth rates experienced in the recent past. He hoped to rebuild confidence to bring in foreign investment.

He said that the previous government had fallen and he would bring institutions to the stature of CIMA into the country.

He said that the Port City would be suitable for the location of educational services and that he would help create the enabling legislation.