Corporate leaders outline way forward for ‘disruption age’ | Daily News


First Capital Holdings/Oxford Business Group round table discussion;

Corporate leaders outline way forward for ‘disruption age’

The panel of members
The panel of members

Sri Lankan interest rates are one of the highest in the world and steps should be taken to lower them. This in turn would help to create more business opportunities, said Dilshan Wirasekara, Director/CEO, First Capital Holdings Plc at the Oxford Business Group organized “How Can Sri Lanka Enhance Competitiveness In The Age Of Disruption?” round table discussion event in Colombo yesterday.

“Without lowering interest rates the government cannot blame the business community for not reinvesting.” Wirasekara also added that Sri Lanka is also notorious as a high international borrower and this has led to a huge debt servicing and currently Sri Lanka’s total debt is around Rs. 8 trillion. He opined that the current and ongoing discussions for FTA’s were good and it could bring huge economic benefits.”These FTA give marketing access to almost half of the world population for local manufactures.”

He said Sri Lankans also have a bigger appetite for consumption rather than going in for bigger savings. CEO, Colombo International Container Terminals - Jack Huang, said that Colombo Prot not only lacks capacity but also infrastructure. He also said that it was sad to note that the East Container terminal has been delayed for five years.

“Colombo Port is still a transshipment hub but authorities should try to go beyond it and convert it as an international trading distribution hub taking the unique location of the Port. Today the Chinese are operating the Hambantota Port for three years all negative publicity aimed at it has become futile. It was said that Chinese war ships would come to H’tota. But today only US and Japanese war ships have anchored at H’tota.”

Chief of Digital & Commerce, Dialog Axiata Plc Nushan Perera, said that Sri Lankans are very resilient and this was evident during the LTTE terror period, tsunami, Easter Sunday attacks and even when the country had two Prime Ministers last year.

Similarly, Sri Lankans are fighting against global giants such as UBER, (by Pick Me) and similar players through local brands.

This is happening all over the world and soon these global giants would disappear as their profit margins are thinning. He said that Sri Lanka is also fast adopting to new technology such as FinTech, digital payments, Easy Cash, Genie and new mobile APPs and this is a good sign of maturity for Sri Lanka. He said that regulators must encourage this positive wave and provide vitamins to up this enthusiasm.

He disclosed that there are only around one million current accounts used by Sri Lankans.

Managing Director, Stax Inc, Ruwindhu Peiris, said that Sri Lanka should concentrate more on a knowledge economy as there is tremendous potential for Sri Lanka youth to design technological innovations to global companies. He also quipped that the 52 day political scenario late last year also proved beyond all reasonable double that democracy is live in Sri Lanka.

Moderator for the event was Regional Editor for Asia, OBG, Patrick Cooke.

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