Key pillars of reforming economy and business for Sri Lanka | Daily News


Key pillars of reforming economy and business for Sri Lanka

Founder Vice Chancellor of the Uva Wellassa University of Sri Lanka

There are three pillars for a progressive Sri Lanka to regain sustainable development. At the outset we should bear in mind development should always be sustainable. Therefore, the pillars are People, Environment and the Economy.

Sometimes it is referred to as People, Planet and Profit or the triple bottom line. Many words that would go into summing up the formula can be interjected with the picture below.

The first pillar is people and any development imperative should be about keeping people happy. Therefore, Sri Lanka has in the past adopted several welfare systems -Education, Health, Transport, Agriculture, etc.,that go beyond any other nation in the region.

One of the welfare systems is free education. Value of people outcomes would increase when the education system is reengineered to transform students into powerful knowledge persons. This is student centred learning.

The second pillar is about maintaining a green environment. The green environment would ensure the carbon footprint at a healthy level. The global warming is now intolerable due to the economic greed of the major economies disregarding the sustainability imperatives.Biproducts of their profit driversare causing poor quality air, water and land very rapidly. It has depleted the carbon sinks around the world threatening the very existence of humankind.

The third pillar is economic development which requires us to focus on growth and productivity. Our GDP has been unimpressive relative to the countries in the region. The situation is summed up in the chart. It is essential for Sri Lanka to increase production and to do that we have a vast resource base that is disposed at primary level, which needs value addition to gain value for the GDP growth. This would be realized when a new generation of students with knowhow on value addition would serve the organizations in the country.

Most of them are ill prepared due to laxity of their learning. They await handouts from the government. Instead they should be capable of venturing into the market with entrepreneurship and technology knowhow to bring value added businesses. The current thinking on entering red oceans is futile as it does notgenerate enough wealth to grow due to poor competitive advantage. Productivity is doing the same thing with lesser resources.

It is also the quality of our products and services. Technology infusion is essential for productivity. 4IR is swallowing unproductive jobs and we too should upskill our workforce to meet that challenge.

While remembering the pillars it is essential to blend with security, good governance, and integrity in practice. In the final assessment all the three pillars must be strategically poised for development with new products and services capable of competing in blue oceans.

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