Professionals urged to take up active role in governance

5 November 2018 09:46 am - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • UNP MP Eran stresses business of government is also business of professionals
  • Says there’s dire shortage of professionals in local political landscape
  • Quips majority of Lankan lawmakers doesn’t have sense of what they are doing

 

By Nishel Fernando 

United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne recently urged Sri Lankan professionals to play an active role in governance to nudge the country into the right direction, stressing that the business of the government is also the business of professionals. 


“They (politicians) are never going to ask you. If you want to change the destiny of this country, we have to have the ownership and we have to take responsibility. 


“The system works for those who are already in it, and therefore, why should they change it? There is no point complaining about it, because complaining will not really help to change the situation. The professionals are needed in politics. There’s no point lamenting the issues that we are facing,” he said. Wickramaratne was addressing construction industry professionals at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) organised by RICS Sri Lanka in Colombo, last week.


He emphasised that there is a dire shortage of professionals in politics of the country, while pointing out that the majority of the lawmakers in the country don’t have a sense of what they are doing. 


“I have been often told that I’m the first institutional professional—CEO of a public quoted company in the 70-year history of Sri Lanka’s Parliament.

You (professionals) talk about policy, process and you want to make sure that there is a professional touch in that.   

Your professional procedures have codes of conduct, you know what conflict of interest is, and you know how you and your profession are governed.

However, don’t assume that these concepts are automatically accepted in the halls of governance in this country,” Wickramaratne said. 

Commenting on the current political crisis in the country, he said that while the public were adversely impacted by it, the MPs are benefitting from the crisis.  

“What’s the discussion in our country today? Who has benefited from the crisis that we are facing? It’s only the members of the Parliament who have benefited, because our monetary value has gone up. I am ashamed to say that and it’s no joke. This is the culture that we must change, because it’s an indictment on our country,” he said. 

Moving forward, Wickramaratne noted that the professionals can respond to the current deadlock situation in two ways—ignore the whole thing or support the right principles and policies.

“One way to respond is to walk away and say we can’t do anything about it or we don’t care about it. Your children will migrate, that’s the result of that attitude. 

“But if you take the responsibility, we can change it however, dark it might look. Therefore, I urge the professionals, lets resolve this in our country and let’s change,” he said. 

Speaking of the construction sector, Wickramaratne acknowledged that local construction firms have been facing unfair competition from foreign firms, who are competing with local firms with cheap imported foreign labour. “The local industries have to compete with the labour coming from elsewhere, which doesn’t have the same cost. Then it become unfair competition. Therefore, we have to protect our industries, not from competition, but from unfair competition. Therefore our government will take necessary steps to do so,” he said.

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  Comments - 5

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  • Bala Tuesday, 06 November 2018 03:00 PM

    Dear Mr. Eran, We are happy indeed, at least now you understand the value of the contribution of professionals after ditched out of power. But during your so called era how many times you consulted professional institutions prior making a decision important for the country's strategy. This is because so called politicians think and believe they know everything when they are in power. One of the service you did to the country is stoppage outflow of Dollars by barring of the duty free facility to professionals, only after all MPs imported their vehicles cost billions worth of poor taxpayers money. Who will pay the fuel cost of imported vehicle, which does not run more than approx.5km per litre is also so called professionals.

    Sunil Tuesday, 06 November 2018 03:21 PM

    Eran, No you are not right. Karu Jayasuriya was CEO of C W Mackie PLC is also in politics. There may be others too. Also, professionals are also not honest. They play it in a cunning way with or without circumventing the law. Lawyers drag cases, Accountants don't always give the true and fair view resulting in public unaware of the real situation until company crashes. Doctors are over billing patients and are on the payroll of pharmaceutical companies. You have to a strong legal system where all laws are implemented and compliance is monitored. Also, you must have a strong Civil society forum to voice wrong doing and injustice.Finally, you must have checks and balances in place and ensure all who go for nomination to parliament and local bodies are throughly vetted and validated that they have no black marks.

    Nan Abey Tuesday, 06 November 2018 04:18 PM

    Well said.

    Jesica Tuesday, 06 November 2018 09:10 PM

    Spot on. Couldn't have said it better.

    Cynical Tuesday, 06 November 2018 03:46 PM

    One sensible and honest man among 225.. its like walking up sri pada with 4 inch high heels.. my best friend will tell you its painful, but possible. All the best Minister, we have much respect for you.


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