Private sector mirrors SL's macro economic developments
Given the privilege to deliver a keynote address at the Annual Sales
and Marketing conference at one of the largest multinational companies
in the country which recorded a turnover of around 65 billion rupees and
a contribution of 1.5% GDP to Sri Lanka. The event gave me an amazing
insight that motivated me.
I was exposed to diverse macro level economic development
initiatives, as the information that was being highlighted at the
conference was sales, customer growth, profits, shareholder value,
mirrored to the macro-economic highlights of the country that is seen in
the media daily.
The quarter two at 2011, registering an impressive 8.2% GDP growth
and at year end almost a eight percent, poverty at single digit,
unemployment at 5.2% and exports growing by forty percent are numbers
that surely demonstrate as a top fifty country of the world, although we
are up against some issues internationally that need to be managed
However, just like any other country, we have our fair share of
issues like the ballooning trade deficit that has touched 5 billion
dollars as at end July 2011 and exports tapering out at nine percent in
July, tea industry in the red but, from qualitative aspects on
attributes like infant mortality rate, underweight children and their
immunization. Sri Lanka out beats global performance and are in line to
the Millennium Development Goals(MDG's) that we should be proud about.
This makes Sri Lanka a very healthy country and in good stead for the
future from a qualitative perspective.
While the government focuses on the resettlement of IDPs and
livelihood development in the Jaffna peninsular, this rhetoric and
political mantra what was seen last Friday was that the private sector
has worked in tandem. The said company has appointed 10 distributors to
drive retail penetration in the peninsular since May 2009, while another
set has been appointed in Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi which was once
ravaged by the war. Sales growth was at double digit level from these
The private sector who works on a profit and customer base
developmental model would not have increased their operations if it did
not make financial sense. Separately, the strong growth seen in
2010/2011 performance further justifies the thought that the private
sector performance mirror the macro economic numbers flashed in the
In the recent past we have seen policy makers working on projects
like 'Divi Neguma' which is focused on developing 1.5 million economic
units across the country to uplift the micro SME sector.
The increased credit to the private sector in the recent past was 33%
which further justifies this thought of the resurgence of the Sri
Lanka's economic landscape.
From Jan - May 2011 the commercial bank loans to business rose 33.3
percent or 416 billion rupees.
Another strategy that caught my eye at this conference was a range of
products that has been developed to cater to the emerging lifestyle of
the consumer, backed with the technical expertise. This was similar to
the lifestyle development that we have seen with the brand 'Singer'
which won the Youthful Brand of the year at the Peoples award 2011. The
new products launched by the said company reflect on the macro
development trends flashed in the media.
The company had increased its visibility with a sales material and
above the line, advertising has made the company secure a 93% share in
the country and a top of the mind-brand when it comes to bread, noodles
A particular aspect the emphasis the company made towards skill
development. Even the conference was themed synergy through team work so
that through strategic development of the sales force how business
growth can be catapulted.
In conclusion we can infer that from just one sample of the private
sector that accounts for 1.5% of the GDP, many parallels can be drawn to
the Macro economic numbers that we have seen getting flashed on media.
The challenge is to diversify the business agenda and attract more FDIs
and improve the doing business indicators which is at a low ebb of 105
as per the global report on competitiveness of nations.
The next step is to identify the immediate challenges in case the
euro zone splits and the emerging recession looming in the US, that
consume almost 60% of the export we market globally.
But the reality is that Sri Lanka is poised to be a 100 billion
dollar economy by 2015.