Most imported items can be produced here:
Electronics engineer vows to save forex
“I had a penchant for electronic systems and
designing various types of circuits and motors was my hobby.”
The brain drain in Sri Lanka has caused a huge impact on the economy
according to intellectuals. Unfortunately most people go abroad when
they do not get the right place and the right value for their knowledge
and skills within the country.
However, people with a strong sense of patriotism always think of
coming back to their home country after learning the technology and
gathering experience abroad. The owner of Audio Telex Telecommunication
System, Electronics Engineer Amila Pathirana also felt that he can make
a name for himself in his home country rather than earning dollars
He was interviewed by Daily News Business.
Being the eldest child in a family of two, Pathirana had to shoulder
the family responsibility at a very young age due to his father’s
untimely death. “I attended five schools as a student because my father
was a Civil Engineer attached to a government department.
Despite this barrier I had a penchant for electronic systems and
designing various types of circuits and motors was my hobby. After my
Advanced Level examination at Kegalle Vidyalaya I followed City and
Guilds Courses and got through the examinations.
It was a tough time for the family and I started giving private
tuition and later found a job in a reputed private company. But I did
not get the right place.
My only task was to clean the computers for three months. I was very
disappointed and quit. On that day I decided to start a company of my
own in the future.
Unfortunately all my efforts to get a bank loan to launch a business
failed as I did not have any properties to show,” he said.
Again he reverted to teaching in a few private schools on a part-time
basis and entered the Institute of Electrical Engineering in Katubedda
where he obtained the(CCNA)qualification Cisco Certified Network
Administration in 2004.
Meanwhile, he secured a job in Dubai as a System Designer at G and M
International (Bose Agent).
“I gained wide experience apart from the good salary there but I
returned after two years realizing that I can do many new things in my
country with that experience, he said.
On returning to Sri Lanka, Pathirana started on his own and did some
projects for a few companies. AMW was one company which helped him in a
Shihan De Zoysa at AMW encouraged me and gave the fullest support to
get many new projects. I worked very hard day and night forgetting my
At the beginning I did everything myself, walking from door to door
to find projects because I did not have a sufficient capital even to buy
a motor-cycle. But I achieved a great deal of customer confidence and
more business by doing that.
Our country spends a lot of foreign exchange to import electrical
items unnecessarily. Some items such as speakers and TV brackets can be
manufactured at a very low cost while giving employment to our people.
My future plan is to set up a factory to manufacture integrated
circuits (ICs) display units in Sri Lanka . At present this item is
imported at a cost of Rs. 250,000 but it costs me only Rs. 60,000 to
produce it,” he said.
The Audio Telex has three main divisions now namely, Audio Visual
Division, Electronic and Communication and Data Net Working division.
A technician puts the final touches to
an electronics component - Pix by Saliya Rupasinghe
The Audio Visual division provides systems such as piped music,
public address, auditorium sounds, audio and visual installation and
building system designing. The electronic and communication division
provides Sensor, Security and Intercom systems while the Data Networking
Division does Computer Networking, Router Configuration Cable and
Cabling and all network accessories.
Pathirana’s monthly business turnover is around Rs one million today
and he has provided employment to forty-five people directly and
indirectly. He had completed more than 200 projects during a short
period of time including the North and East areas.
He has two vehicles for marketing and sales. Some of his clientele
include Hatton National Bank, Dialog Telecom, John Keells, MAS Holdings,
Load Star and Russels (Pvt) Ltd.
Asked what is the secret behind his success, he said, “I had the
courage and determination to come up in life.
“It was a journey full of challenges but I worked very hard and
always did an honest and quality service for my customers.
“I was also careful with expenses. Even now I use a motor-cycle to
visit my clients although I have a car.
“This is done as a cost cutting measure. After my marriage, my wife
and her parents helped me immensely financially and otherwise.
“My wife handles all the accounts while I am fully engaged with the
operational matters, he said.