Connect with us


Godahewa explains body blow country suffered , but says future is bright through innovation



State Minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa said yesterday that covid-19 caused a debilitating blow at a time the government was struggling to settle foreign loans amounting to a staggering USD 11 bn. Dr. Godahewa said that the GDP contracted by 3.6 % percent in 2020.

The State Minister explained that at a time they were struggling to bridge the huge trade deficit of about USD 10 bn, the country lost entire earnings from the tourism industry. The loss of about USD 4.5 bn had a significant negative impact on Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange earnings. To make matters worse, during 2020 and 2021, the government had to settle foreign loans of more than USD 11 bn, draining the country’s reserves down to USD 3 bn.

Dr. Godahewa said so delivering the keynote address at the Inaugural CSSL CEO Conclave@ NITC2021 organised by the Computer Society of Sri Lanka.

“I would like to draw your attention to a recent McKinzie report on the topic “Unlocking Sri Lanka’s digital opportunity” and invite you to think out of the box in order to capitalise on the post pandemic surge in economic rebound and the unique opportunities that come with 4.0 digital revolution”

The eminent panel consisted of Jayantha de Silva, Secretary Ministry of Technology, Rohan Fernando Chairman SLT, Kumar Parakala, President at GHD Digital USA and invited member of Forbes Business Council, Sujeewa Rajapaksa, Chairman People’s Bank and Damith Hettihewa President CSSL and Managing Director of Nimbus Cloud Lanka Ltd. The session was moderated by Arjuna Seneviratne, Leading development Strategist and Former Director of the Strategic Enterprise Management Agency (SEMA).

Delivering his keynote addres, Dr Godahewa said that the recent McKinzie report on the topic Unlocking Sri Lanka’s digital opportunity has highlighted five key areas that CEOs should focus on. They are as follows:

1) .You must set big, bold aspirations, and integrate them into the overall business. Constantly evaluate your unique competitive strengths, identify imminent threats, and reinvent your business models as necessary.

2). Build digital capabilities around customer experience. Use digitalisation to improve you customer-satisfaction by making operational enhancements, primarily by accelerating and simplifying your interactions with the customers.

3). Leverage data analytics to drive real-time decisions across the value chain. Use of data analytics may include targeted marketing and dynamic pricing.

4). Foster an innovative and agile corporate culture. Build a culture that encourages risk taking, experimentation, and accepting failure.

5). Invest in digital organisation and talent. Create a work environment that will enable you to attract and retain employees who can execute your digital agenda. Have organisational structures that encourage autonomy and flexibility.

A digital transformation requires a wholehearted commitment from a company’s leadership. So as CEOs you have an important role to play in driving the required changes in your own organisations. If you don’t see the future unfolding and remain inactive, your companies can get adversely affected by sudden market changes. On the other hand, moving quickly and becoming a leader in the digital transformation will dramatically increase your revenue potential and the returns to shareholders.

At the time we are having this discussion, the Covid-19 pandemic has reached almost every country in the world. We are passing through a very difficult period in human history. More than 4.8 million lives have already been lost, despite the vast advancements in medical sciences.

In addition to the enormous loss of human lives, the current pandemic has resulted in catastrophic economic losses across the globe. In 2020, except China, all other world economies reported negative growth. Even in China which reported a mere 2.2% growth, the growth rate had declined significantly compared to previous years. The global economy is expected to lose nearly 8.5 trillion US Dollars in terms of output, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is estimated that the world student population has lost more than 3 trillion learning hours. This too will have serious consequences for human development in the years to come.

Pandemics are not new to the world and we all know that the bad times will be over soon. Therefore, we must look to the future positively. The good news is that the global economy is expected to bounce back with about 5.4% growth rate next year. We must try and follow suit with the right strategies and efficient implementation. Currently we anticipate an economic growth of about 3.4% for 2021 and we should aim for a much higher GDP growth for 2022. However, the slow global recovery, coupled with continued trade restrictions and the high debt burden could continue to affect our growth targets.

We all know that a crisis always sparks innovation and entrepreneurship. That is why there is a famous saying “Necessity is the mother of invention”. If we look at statistics from various parts of the world, 2020 shows a surge of applications for new businesses. The COVID-19 crisis has created an imperative for companies to transform and reconfigure their operations. To the extent that they do so, greater productivity will follow. This is mainly propelled by the readiness of the ICT and the circumstances pushing for change.

We are aware that there has been a major pandemic every 100 years or so. Similarly a technological revolution too has occurred in almost every century. We are in the early stages of the 4th industrial revolution. It is a technology revolution, mainly a digital revolution.

For the ICT industry, the pandemic has been the silver lining in the dark cloud. Things have accelerated in the digital revolution. The ‘future of work’ has arrived ahead of schedule, as a result of the pandemic. The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that more than 20 percent of the global workforce now work away from the office and yet they are just as effective.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


EC opposes govt. move to appointment its henchmen to monitor local councils



By Priyan de Silva

The Election Commission (ECSL) has opposed a move by the government to appoint representatives of the Chairpersons of the Regional Development Committee to monitor local government institutions.

ECSL Chairman Nimal G. Punchihewa told The Island that the government had informed the ECSL of its plan to appoint representatives of the Chairpersons of the Regional Development Committee to monitor the local government bodies and the ECSL had decided to write to the Ministry of Local Government opposing the move, he said. A Chairman of a regional development committee ESD a representative of a particular political party and it would be unfair by other parties for such appointments to be made, the EC Chairman said.

Punchihewa said that the administration of local government institutions could be done through Municipal Commissioners and Divisional Secretaries.Many political parties had complained against the government move, he said.

Continue Reading


JVP says govt. has enough funds for elections



By Saman Indrajith

The JVP would file a fresh application before the Supreme Court against the government for not holding the local council polls, JVP MP Vijitha Herath said yesterday.Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Pelawatte, Herath said that his party had ascertained fresh information by invoking the Right to Information Act about the funds needed for the holding of the elections and his party would file another fundamental rights case against those responsible for conducting elections.

“The LG polls were to be held on 09 March. They were postponed until 25 April, and later they were put off indefinitely. The President appoints Governors to the provinces and the local councils are under them. Now, he says no party commands the support of 50 percent of voters.

Is this reason why he is not holding elections? His claim that there are no funds for elections is not acceptable. The Election Commission (EC) has, in a letter to the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, asked for Rs 1,100 million in installments for conducting local government elections. The Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, on 07 March, informed

the EC that the latter’s request had been referred to the Minister of Finance on the same day. But so far the money has not been released. As per a report released by the Treasury, the government revenue was Rs 177,900 million in January this year alone. Of that amount, Rs 156,760 was allocated to government institutions. The Treasury has Rs 21,410 million. In February, the government revenue was at Rs. 271,750 million and of that Rs. 208,620 million was spent. The balance was Rs 63,130 million. In January and February, the Treasury had Rs 84,270 million. These figures have been officially confirmed by a Deputy Treasury Secretary. The EC is seeking only Rs 2,460 million for elections. So, the claim that there is no money for elections is false as per official records. We will submit this information to the Supreme Court when we file a fresh application. We will prove that the government has lied to people,” Herath said.

Continue Reading


Rosy’s appointment violative of election laws – Mujibur



SJB mayoral candidate for Colombo Municipal Council Mujibur Rahuman alleges that President Ranil Wickremeisnghe has violated election laws by appointing UNP’s mayoral candidate Rosy Senanayake as the Presidential Advisor on Local Government.

Participating in a talk show hosted by a private TV channel, Rahuman said that Senanayake was a candidate for the delayed local government polls. “She has submitted nominations for the Colombo Municipal Council from the UNP list. It is illegal to appoint a candidate to such a post pending an election. The local council polls have not yet been cancelled and cases pertaining to the holding of elections are in progress,” he said, adding that of all the posts the local government candidate had been given the post of Presidential Advisor on Local Governance.

“More than three months have lapsed since Senanayake stepped down from the Colombo Mayor post, but she is still occupying the Mayor’s Residence. The President says that he is implementing the system change demanded by people. The change he is actually doing is giving appointments to his cronies. Is it the change the people expected,” Rahuman queried.

Continue Reading