Sri Lanka should move into a high tech industry base by 2020 by attracting global high tech companies to the country, having met a number of pre-requisites to create an environment for such companies to operate in Sri Lanka, Pathfinder Foundation, Executive Director Luxman Siriwardena told Daily News Business.
* Sri Lanka transformed to a low-industry based economy.
* Need to satisfy pre-requisites necessary
* Government will introduce reforms in vital sectors.
He said that Sri Lanka has been transformed from an agrarian to a low-industry based economy during the past few decades and its industrial exports have grown to become the major export category by the turn of the century.
Today industrial exports account for 78 percent of the total exports. However, given its high concentration on low tech garment and apparel exports the country s economy will become vulnerable to the adverse impact generated by unfavourable domestic or external developments. Therefore, it is necessary to move into a high-tech industry base as countries such as Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong had done, he said.
By attracting high tech global companies, Sri Lanka could produce a number of high tech products such as micro chips, communication equipment drugs, products based on nano technology, computer peripherals, vessel and boat building and petro chemical products.
However, there are certain pre-requisites which Sri Lanka has to satisfy to attract high tech global companies.
A consistent economic policy package avoiding policy reversals on an ad hoc basis, the maintenance of law and order, observing the rule of law and proper legal enforcement of contractual arrangements of the highest level are needed, he said.
Siriwardena said that the Government will introduce reforms in the area of taxation, import duty structure and labour regulations in the near future to maintain the competitiveness of Sri Lankan products in the international market. BOI facilities will also be extended to local entrepreneurs to overcome discrimination.
With the end of the war, Sri Lanka is becoming ripe for a quick economic take off and people from all corners of the country should be empowered to unleash their talents, skills and initiative to create wealth and generate prosperity for the nation, he said.