New team at ICTA plots fresh path for ICT in Sri Lanka

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 02:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Newly-appointed CEO of the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) Muhunthan Canagey  yesterday vowed to bring a fresh perspective and vision to ICTA which will fall in line with rapid technological development. Canagey assumed duties as the new CEO of ICTA yesterday, taking over from Reshan Dewapura who served as its CEO for a period of almost 12 years. Canagey and Dewapura will continue to work together until 28 February in order to ensure a smooth transition of operations, ICTA stated. ICTA also announced the appointment of a new Chairperson, Chitranganie Mubarak, as well as a new Board of Directors which includesCanagey, Dr. Ajith Madurapperuma, Ananda Wijeratne, Upul Kumarapperuma and Chanuka Wattegama.                 Speaking at a press conference held at the ICTA office in Colombo, Canagey stated that ICTA neededa fresh outlook with an effort to widen its role in the private and public sectors while also assuring that it would work towards taking Sri Lanka’s IT products to the global market. “There needs to be a lot of new thinking that has to be added to the State sector along with private-public participation. The members of the private sector need to be very closely associated with the State and there have to be synergies built in order for us to deliver newer thinking, newer culture, newer technology and adaptability by society,” he said. Canagey stated that ICTA would like to see more products coming out of Sri Lanka and getting into the global markets as well. “It is also the mandate of the ICTA to see that Sri Lanka’s IT products are taken to the global market and that the country is perceived at a very high end of the value chain rather than being a country that just provides intellectual workforce at lower ends of the value chain in terms of revenue generation.” ICTA stated that it would also focus on establishing 250 new local software companies within a period of three years while creating around 25,000 new jobs in the field of IT. Outgoing CEO Dewapura, who was instrumental in the success of the World Bank-funded e-Sri Lanka Development Project, also gave a brief overview of Sri Lanka’s global position in terms of ICT. He noted that it was time to take ICT in the country to the next level and highlighted the importance of infusing new plans and initiatives in an ever-changing field. Responding to questions raised regarding Sri Lanka as a viable location for hardware manufacturing, he stated that the country would need to look into demand from outside Sri Lanka as it would not be a viable business option to produce hardware locally for the domestic market alone. He however stressed that it would be an important area to look into in the future. In the ensuing discussion, Canagey added that today Sri Lanka had no bottlenecks in terms of infrastructure, resources and access to markets with regard to software. “Innovation never stops. Software as a service has drastically grown in the last five years. The same resources available at Silicon Valley are accessible today in Sri Lanka. The way in which software companies were created in the past was very different; with a focus on enterprise software. Today we produce consumer software.” Canagey also shared his belief that software could be produced locally and could appeal to the global market as long as the developers had the right attitude and technology as well as the capability of being adaptive. Canagey has been involved in the ICT industry for over two decades, stepping into the field of IT at the age of 16. He holds a Master’s Degree in IT from the University of Keelle and was the founder and CEO of multiple technology enterprises including successful ventures in the area of satellite communication and media. Commenting on his suitability for his new role, he stated: “I’ve been in the field for 25 years with experience in the fields of electronic component development and manufacturing. I’ve also been involved in software development, the telecommunications industry and media. I come from a background of IT and I’m certain I’ve been given a task that isn’t alien to me.” Newly-appointed Chairperson Mubarak also spoke at the media conference, vowing to take forward the vision of the new Government and to repay the trust placed in the Board of Directors.