None of the chambers in Sri Lanka spoke against the arbitrary takeover of the Sevanagala Sugar Company by the previous government, Primary Industries Minister Daya Gamage lamented.
Speaking at the 15th CNCI Achiever Awards of Industrial Excellence annual awards ceremony organized by Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI), Gamage said that special laws were drafted in a day to take over his Sevanagala Sugar Company for political reasons.
“But I am sad to state that none of the Chambers spoke against this and made any kind of representations to the then government.”
Gamage, who himself won the best entrepreneur awards at this ceremony in 1987 said today times have changed and no such political victimisation is taking place.
He recalled that when his parents died when he was very young he started the business, Daya Group of Companies without any assistance and worked 16 hours a day to make the company what it is today. He said that his wife (and Deputy Minister) Anoma Gamage too was dedicated and she was voted as the best women entrepreneur for three successive years due to the hard work and taking no short cuts.
He advised entrepreneurs to get their wives also involved in the business as it could bring about better results for their business.
Gamage said Sri Lankans should also work hard. “When I went to Korea I spoke to a Sri Lankan female worker who manages 15 machines. “But in Sri Lanka you need 30 operators to look after 15 machines and this attitude must change,” he said.
Minister Gamage who was the chief guest at the event said Sri Lanka should try to intensify exports by 14% to double exports by 2020 and the government will give maximum support for exporters.
“I think the best way is to form small ‘exports groups’ so that the cost of freight could be shared by producers.This will also help to bring down manufacturing costs,” he said.
He said that today the world exports have come down with China’s exports dipping by 12% and Thailand by 24%. “Sri Lanka too has had a negative impact due to this and Sri Lankan is also faced with a huge foreign debt left over by the previous government.” Petroleum Resources Development Minister Chandima Weerakkody who was the guest of honour, said Sri Lanka needs to build up its discipline.“You can see how indisciplined our drivers are and this should be corrected and this is the time to do it since there is a government that is very disciplined.” Link Natural Products became the cynosure of all eyes when they won the Extra Large Gold award.