‘Implement swift measures to build confidence and revive economy’ - Biz community | Daily News

‘Implement swift measures to build confidence and revive economy’ - Biz community

The Sri Lankan business community requests the government to take swift measures to build confidence and revive the key economic sectors which were badly affected since the Easter Sunday attacks.

The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE), is proposing to conduct confidence building programs in partnership with private sector organizations and trade counsellors of Sri Lankan Missions abroad.

“As a result of the recent attacks, the exports sector has been badly affected. Therefore, it is imperative to come up with an aggressive campaign to restore the image of Sri Lanka in particular, targeting its international buyers and high profile investors,” NCE Secretary General and CEO Shiham Marikar told the Daily News Business.

A series of bomb attacks that hit luxury hotels and churches across the country on April 21, would have a detrimental effect on its economy, as almost all businesses in the country have come to a standstill following these attacks, said Raja Hewabowala, President of the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries.

“Businesses have come to a standstill in Sri Lanka with many factories halting operations following these attacks. While most workers still do not report to work fearing for their lives, even those who come to work always try to leave around 3 pm to reach their homes as early as possible,” he said.

In order to mitigate the impact of terror attacks on the economy as well as businesses in the future, he said, “at this juncture, a consistent policy package is the need of the hour, while Sri Lanka needs consistent and clear policies in the areas of economy, foreign relations and national security.

He also emphasized that Sri Lanka needs investments to keep its economy buoyant and to facilitate viability for businesses and also to generate revenue.

Furthermore, Hewabowala stressed the need to appoint well educated career diplomats with foreign language competency to Sri Lankan missions abroad, in order to build Sri Lanka’s image in international markets, rather than appointing political henchmen to key diplomatic positions as well for key positions in State owned institutions.

Since 2009, with the end of war, Sri Lanka’s economy expanded rapidly, while many industries witnessed a large number of investments, particularly infrastructure related investments, he said, adding that unfortunately, the law and order situation of the country was deteriorating day by day, mainly due to unwanted political interventions and many other external and internal factors.

Meantime, eCybersec Managing Director and CEO Sanjee Balasuriya, expressing his views concerning the social media ban following the recent attacks and its impact on online businesses said, “social media ban could be effective in the short term, but it depends on how much they could ban or block. Precisely, this would have an impact on online business activities and promotions. Not only did the people circumvent it in a flash, anecdotal evidence suggests it did significant damage to tourism and e-commerce, both of which rely on Social Media.”

“We all use platforms such as WhatsApp and Viber to communicate with our foreign counterparts or business partners which is faster and easier than emails. With this ban on, we would have to go back to emails, as our primary mode of communications,” Balasuriya said.

Furthermore, he said people rely on these platforms to communicate with their loved ones when the country is facing such tragic situations. This might create an opening for law enforcement authorities to conduct their investigations to identify culprits who are trying to tarnish the national security.

“In Sri Lanka’s context, data privacy laws are not legalized to a great extent, therefore, we need to understand as to what extent people could spread hate speech and communal disharmony through these platforms,” he said.

He further said that there are few technological challenges in implementing false positive systems as such systems are seen as a threat to data privacy.

“So it is important to have a strong a legal framework to regulate this and it has to be passed as an Act in Parliament. In my personal view, national security should be the number one priority at the moment and others secondary,” Balasuriya emphasized.

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