Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya
Pic by Samantha Perera
- Instead of waiting for brighter externalities, asks private sector to lead resurgence
- A private sector-led action plan being worked out to reach US$ 140 bn economy by 2025
- Says Sri Lanka having lowest growth rate in SAARC, a serious concern
- Calls to weed out sinister clouds of extremism and radicalization
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
As Sri Lanka strives to progress to the next level while grappling with the current turmoil that has caused a major setback, urgent is the need to catalyze a wave of economic resurgence that will place the country on par with its regional peers in terms of competitiveness, according to the newly elected Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dr. Hans Wijayasuriya.
Dr.Wijayasuriya, who took over the mantle from banker Rajendra Theagarajah, stressed that leading the resurgence as opposed to hoping for brighter externalities is the mindset change the private sector will need to undertake in these times of uncertainty.
“Each action we take individually may admittedly be a small step of faith as opposed to a giant leap, but collectively we will make strides. It is hence imperative to catalyze a wave of economic resurgence. Resurgence which envisions the return to growth rates of 7-8 percent within the next five years,” Dr. Wijayasuriya told the chamber’s 180th Annual General Meeting last Friday.
He pointed out that to realize such growth rates, 17 committees within the chamber eco-system are working on bringing together a private sector-led action plan towards reaching a US $140 billion economy combined with 7 percent growth rate and regionally benchmarked social development indices by year 2025.
Dr. Wijayasuriya asserted that a serious concern is that Sri Lanka’s growth rate of 3.5 percent is the lowest amongst the SAARC, thus there needs to be a collective concern on the going forward trajectory specially within a framework relative to the regional peers.
“Our positioning relative to peers also throws the headlights on national competitiveness and the question whether we as the private sector have focused sufficiently on building competitive advantage as a pathway to growth,” he noted.
“If we are truly the engine of growth of the Sri Lankan economy, we need to be resolute in our belief that as a collective, we have the capacity to re-mobilize a growth trajectory at least on par with our regional peers,” he added.
Dr. Wijayasuriya also noted that as the country moves forward into the 2020 – 2025 period, which according to him marks the entry into an era of exponential change, capturing of this opportunity would however need the country to exploit with keen awareness, the mega trends, realities and tools of this emerging age.
The mega transformational trends that would provide a springboard to leapfrog were pointed out as: ethos of inclusion and the thesis of inclusive capitalism, mega trends around the Fourth Industrial Revolution, power of eco-systems, and acceleration of pervasive globalization.
Dr. Wijayasuriya also cautioned that with the island nation currently being threatened by the emergence of the “sinister clouds of extremism and radicalization” which if unabated, will fracture the unity and collective momentum of Sri Lanka’s economy.
Stressing that the future of Sri Lanka can be bright, Dr. Wijayasuriya said it is for the nation to shine the beacon with collective energy and to do so with singular focus and positivism.
“I sincerely believe the future can be bright – it is for us to shine the beacon with collective energy and to do so with singular focus and positivism. It is for us to envision with clarity the facets of the future we wish to create, and to be the change we want to see,” he said.