By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Leading blue chip John Keells Holdings (JKH) has expressed optimism on Sri Lanka’s recovery if the country successfully pursues its first ever fundamental framework of economic policies.
JKH Chairperson Krishan Balendra in his review in the company’s FY23 Annual Report commended the efforts of the Government and policy-makers for successfully navigating the economic stabilisation measures over the last few quarters and in reaching some key milestones including securing the EFF with the IMF, together with the implementation of difficult policy actions.
“While many challenges remain, the country has, possibly for the first time ever, put in place the fundamental framework of economic policies that will enable us to emerge from this crisis stronger,” Balendra said adding, “We are optimistic that Sri Lanka is on a path to recovery, particularly, if these measures continue to be in place and sustained over a period of time.”
It was emphasised that whilst these measures, as expected, would curtail consumer spend and activity in the short to medium-term, the stability and confidence in achieving fiscal consolidation will lead to a more sustained recovery.
Balendra said the new legislative enactments regarding fiscal responsibility are much needed to ensure policy consistency and macroeconomic stability as it provides the required checks and balances.
“JKH urges the authorities to expedite the implementation of much needed public sector reforms, including privatisation, as done by countries when faced with similar challenges in the past, to restore and sustain fiscal discipline.
These reforms will also aid the Government in raising revenue through investment while ensuring better collaboration, technology and knowledge transfer in key industries,” JKH Chief said.
He noted that through the volatility and uncertainty of the previous years, JKH maintained its belief that challenges can also be catalysts for positive transformation.
He expressed confidence that these investments come to fruition, and JKH Group will see a “significant upward ‘re-rating’ of its performance from the already strong platform we have built over the years.”
The recurring Group profit before tax (PBT) decreased by 30% to Rs. 17.14 billion while the recurring profit attributable to equity holders of the parent decreased by 35% to Rs. 13.33 billion for the financial year ended 31 March 2023.
JKH Chief also reiterated the need for tourism authorities to expedite the launch of Sri Lanka’s much awaited global marketing campaign, especially in key source markets, particularly to address the lack of awareness and negative perception regarding the ground situation in the country.
He noted that Sri Lanka recorded over 770,000 tourist arrivals for 2022/23, with March 2023 recording the highest number of arrivals since the peak of the economic crisis.
The Group is confident that the current recovery trend in arrivals will continue, particularly given the opening of the Chinese borders for international travel after a period of three years and the increase in frequencies of flights by a few major airlines,” Balendra said.