COYLE calls on Govt to create growth models on local demand | Daily News


COYLE calls on Govt to create growth models on local demand

Leading members of the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs called on the government to implement economic policies that harnessed local demand for growth.

The COYLE webinar was held on May 9. Chairman Epic Technology Dr. Nayana Dehigama said that even components making up the staple consumption of the nation were imported. Dr. Dehigama said, “when the crisis hit we don’t know where to run.”

Dr. Dehigama was of the view that even though the cost of production may be higher in Sri Lanka it would be beneficial to protect local industries for the level of value addition that they can create. He also felt that a higher base of local manufacturing would have helped Sri Lanka come out of the crisis on its own volition.

Chairman Laugfs Holdings W K H Wegapitiya felt that as a nation Sri Lanka had a short term memory. Wegapitiya called on people to realize the failure of US economic orthodoxy to predict and make allowances for the damage of a short disruption to the regular functioning of the economy. On an export lead growth model Wegapitiya said “we were never exporting industrial goods. Even things we could produce locally were imported.”

Chairman Natures Beauty Creations Samantha Kumarasinghe said that the economic models the country followed for the last 60 years were obsolete. Kumarasinghe said, “because of globalization and prescribing blindly what the IMF decides we are losing our roots. We need to think again. We need to get out of the colonial mentality at least today.” Kumarasinghe called on the government to leave the Commonwealth.

And said, “No country can develop if foreigners come and invest and make citizens of their own countries employees.” He called on BOI agreements to be strictly based on technology transfer and domestic value addition. Kumarasinghe said that the Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement was drafted in the interests of foreign multinationals. He said companies were using India as a channel to import products from a third country and evade custom duty. He called on customs officials to act as they did in Vietnam when Coca Cola faced severe fines for import violations. “Unless this is rectified don’t expect local entrepreneurs to thrive,” adding that Kumarasinghe felt that the banking sector was not passing on the lower interest rates mandated by the Central Bank to lenders. “All the banks can (afford to) make a loss. Everyone in the country is suffering,” he added. Wegapitiya felt that both the nationalization drive in the 1950s and the open economy in the 1970s were poorly implemented. Dr. Dehigama said that Sri Lankans had spoilt the soil with the use of artificial chemicals.

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