It is important that the private sector doesn’t encourage corruption and show commitment to precision and detail, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa noted when he delivered the keynote at the inauguration of the 32nd National Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL), this week.
“It is most important that the private sector does not engage in malpractices and with more and more work being awarded to the private sector, it is important for business leaders to put their foot down against such malpractices and set an example,” he told an eminent gathering of chartered accountants.
He highlighted that most Sri Lankans lack committment for attention to 'detail'. "I find that there is a lack of commitment to high quality work and attention to detail,” he noted, making a sound example of road construction which requires both these elements. “A simple road construction where the face of the road looking good isn’t enough, but proper drainage systems, well laid out pavements are also part of this construction,” he explained.
He also mentioned that those sectors which suffered during the war are now recovering rapidly. He noted that Sri Lanka as a country has huge potential and now is the time for this potential to be realised.
He also called for a proper balance between the activities of the Government and the private sector, debunking the popular belief that public sector firms (only) are lethargic. "There are many private sector companies which are also lethargic as well as weak," he noted.
He added that both sectors now need to concentrate on improving the areas in which they are presently weak. He also said that there're many great opportunities for the private sector to invest in the booming sectors. He also noted that the private sector must also provide leadership through the maintenance of proper standards and high quality work.
“The rapid development of infrastructure in the north has created a lot of potential for the construction industry as well as many others. I can tell you from my experience that there is presently a dearth of contractors in several fields, including in minor ones. Companies engaged in these are already stretched to the limit and have not trained people for high quality work. The private sector should take advantage of the boom,” he said, urging firms to develop worker skill sets.
He added that there’s a ‘clear’ reluctance from the private sector to relocate/expand outside Colombo.
“The situation is becoming much more conducive to investment throughout the land and if our collective vision is to be fulfilled, it is important that investments move outside Colombo. The Government will fulfill its role ensuring that a proper environment is maintained for economic development, but it is up to the private sector to be the engine for growth,” he added.