The country’s strategic plan of development should focus on rural infrastructure development to bridge the disparities in income distribution between the Western Province and the rest of the country, Director of the Central Bank’s Statistics Department Dr. Mrs.Anila Dias Bandaranaike said yesterday
Presenting the Consumer Finance and Survey Report 2003/2004, Dr. Bandaranaike said that the countrys’ overall socio-economic situation had grown with the improvement in the education, health and others sectors, but, according to the key findings of the survey, policy makers should pay attention on issues like aging population , quality of education and others.
Simultaneously, sectional disparities had also been reduced.
According to the Survey, the estate sector is still backward compared to other sectors. Many economic indicators clearly show that the Uva and Eastern provinces are also in the backyard.
Referring to the income disparity between the Western Province and the rest of the country, she said that 49 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had been from the Western province while the contribution of the Uva province to the GDP had remained at four percent only.
“ Infrastructure development is needed to reduce the regional disparity. The productivity in the agricultural sector should also be increased to generate income for those engaged in the field,” she said.
In the Health sector, people have shifted from the state sector to the private sector for health services even in rural areas, probably due to the absence of options for such services, and she stressed that this sector should be rationalized.
“Our population is aging and therefore attention needed in areas like providing medical facilities, retirement and saving schemes. The government and the private sectors should make investments regarding this aspect,” she said.
Around 70 percent are employed in the informal private sector. One fifth of the employed people in the country are under employed as seen mostly in the informal private sector.
The individual living conditions have improved compared to 1996/1997 period, and overally housing, communications and other facilities have also shown marked improvement.