The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transportation (CILT) Sri Lanka Logistics Leaders Evening was held recently with a lecture titled ‘Sri Lanka’s Competitiveness – A Tiger or a Small Miracle’ by former Central Bank Deputy Governor W.A. Wijewardene at the auditorium of the National Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka to a well-attended audience.
Wijewardene started off by explaining why measuring the competitiveness was important for Sri Lanka and advocated several imperatives for the country to move out of the current ‘middle-income trap’ towards a high-income nation.
Despite the government projections of 7 percent minimum growth, it is only likely that Sri Lanka will achieve somewhere between 5 and 5.5 percent growth rate till 2020 with the current state of affairs. Some of the key growth imperatives were:
Economic reforms on a wide scale
Make the private sector move the country forward
Introduce measures to improve productivity and efficiency of using both human and physical capital
Create a bigger market for Sri Lankan products
He highlighted the example of Singapore’s forward-thinking mindset that allowed a small state to become a global economic powerhouse. A deeper evaluation of the current situation revealed that the biggest reason why Sri Lanka is lagging behind is a need to change our cultural mindset to be more modern and hardworking, to rethink how education is delivered and to leapfrog the four cycles of the industrial revolution in order to become relevant.
Wijewardene’s suggested way forward plan included:
Take a stock of the state of human capital (un)development and the quality of the facilitating logistical services.
Get into an economic policy capsule with participation from politicians, bureaucrats, academia and civil society organisations; map out strategy for developing the talent pool of the country needed by 2025, 2035 and 2045.
Sign off the strategy with time-bound key performance indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress; rectify deviations and plan out for emerging developments.
His final conclusion was that, as it is, it is neither Tiger nor Small Miracle for Sri Lanka unless a massive reform programme is implemented with consistency, consensus, dedication and commitment!
Wijewardene’s full presentation is available with the CILT Secretariat and anyone interested may contact CILT.