Home » Sri Lanka boosts ties with Maldives focusing on health and education sectors

Sri Lanka boosts ties with Maldives focusing on health and education sectors

By: Staff Writer Colombo (LNW): Sri Lanka and Maldives have agreed to implement practical strategies to derive maximum benefit from the evolving concept of the blue ocean with proper management of the exploitation of marine resources. Economic co-operation, tourism, youth and skills development, employment, collaboration in the fields of health and higher education, as well as consular and community issues were also included in the work plan. Cabinet nod has been given to ink MoUs with Maldives on Customs regulations, health sector.The Government has decided to boost its cooperation with the Maldives to further strengthen, promote and improve affiliation and mutual assistance. The Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting on Monday approved two proposals following the Attorney General clearing the draft Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs). One of the Cabinet clearances was for the resolution presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as the Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies Minister to enhance cooperation and mutual assistance in Customs affairs. The key objective of this MoU is to strengthen mutual understanding and communication between the two countries. The second approval was for the proposal tabled by Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to bolster combined efforts in the health sector. The aim is to improve health services, promote research and development (R&D) activities and enhance the overall well-being of the people of the two countries. “Sri Lanka and Maldives have a longstanding relationship in the region. The Maldivian citizens have high regard for the education and health sectors of Sri Lanka. Most of their children come for studies, while the majority of Maldivians come for health purposes. Therefore, both these proposals will further strengthen the ties between the two countries,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing .He also said it is a win-win agreement for Sri Lanka and the Maldives. The short travel distance between the Maldives and Sri Lanka (an hour and five minutes by plane) facilitates trade of goods and services, and there is a long history of economic relations between the two countries. In the modern trade relationship, however, there are several comparative advantages that the two nations can explore. The Maldives, being an archipelago with a total land mass of 298 square kilometers compared to Sri Lanka’s 64,630 sq km, is heavily constrained by a lack of land and its small domestic market of just 392,473 people. This limits its ability to farm, extract natural resources without great environmental cost, and develop an industrial sector. Thus, it is heavily dependent on imports for almost all its goods. Sri Lanka had a trade surplus of USD 16 million with the Maldives some times back , making it the 23rd largest market for Sri Lanka’s exports. The goods exported to the Maldives are predominantly machinery and electronics, vegetables, metals, and food products.

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