CMA National Management Accounting Conference 2014
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 00:00
18, 19 & 20 June 2014, Taj Samudra, Colombo
Sri Lanka 2.0 & Beyond – Fast Tracking Economic Development
CMA has organised its National Management Accounting Conference to be held on 18 and 20 June on the topic ‘Sri Lanka 2.0 & Beyond – Fast Tracking Economic Development’. Sri Lanka is poised for economic growth and this Conference will focus on topics relevant to the growth and development of the economy.
On the inauguration day on the 18th the stage will be set for paying the foundation for the technical sessions to follow on the 19th and 20th. Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama will give the Government’s role and the policies to be followed by local and foreign investors to be engaged in this major drive of the economy. Having lost three decades because of the civil war in the North now peace has dawned in Sri Lanka and a new outlook is essential for it to catch up on the lost opportunities that existed. The Government’s role in the infrastructure development to catalyse the investment in the private sector is commendable. Also investments in the mega projects of port development, airport development and construction of highways should bring in the returns to the country. This needs a Public Private Sector co-operation and is a must in the modern world.
The Key Note Speaker Prof. Ho Yew Kee from the National University of Singapore will speak on ‘What will it take Sri Lanka to become an Economic Power House like Singapore’. The Singapore experience which has resulted in an economic miracle with the GDP per capita of US $ 52,000 increase and bringing prosperity to the nation due to important causes such as stable and efficient government, advancement and promotion based on meritocracy, market driven economy, pursuit of excellence, investment in education and infrastructure and adapting to a changing world.
Hence there will be many lessons to be learnt from the Singapore Experience and will require lot of determination and courage to implement policies to achieve success.
The Private sector point of view will be addressed by Guest of Honour Suresh Shah the Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The private sector needs the government support to fast track their investments. The financial and exchange rates need to be stable with exports, industries, services to expand and create the growth momentum.
It is also necessary to make our industries and services competitive and hence power, fuel and other major costs and availability of skilled personnel need to be concentrated upon. The shortage of labour is another problem faced by many industries. The universities and technical colleges and professional bodies need to produce the requirements of the private and public sector and hence this is needed to restructure the higher education and technical education to meet these needs. Quick approval of projects especially on the infrastructure sector and tourism is essential if fast tracking the economy is going to really work.
On the first day the first session will concentrate on the Hub Concept for fast Tracking Economic Development and will have the key note address by Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy who will speak on Making Sri Lanka a strong Economic Hub. This will entail all sectors of the economy and how the economy will be impacted by external shocks and how we can withstand them. Of course the final benefit of the development of the economy which will provide benefits to the nation and uplift the living conditions of the people. Also the need to have development taking place in all parts of the country and to have more concentration on the North and East that have been neglected for last three decades.
The next speaker will be Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka who will speak on the topic ‘Sri Lanka as a Financial Hub – Challenges and opportunities’. This will be of great importance taking into account the restructuring of banks and financial institutions started by the Central Bank and how it will link up with the Hub Status. Although this has been spoken of in many forums the benefits that the financial sector and the economy can derive from a hub status is tremendous. Here again we may need to look at examples of Singapore which has been successful.
The other important element in the financial sector is the Capital Development and the role of the Capital Market in driving the country’s economic growth. This will be handled by none other than the Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission Dr. Nalaka Godahewa. He will speak on the role of the Capital Market and what the SEC will do to activate the stock market which is relatively inactive at the moment. Giving a boost to the stock market at a time the interest rates are falling will be a challenge thrust upon the SEC. Also the diversification into debentures and new instruments may be another way to activate the market.
Session 1 will be chaired by Dr. Anura Ekanayake a former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The second session will cover three important aspects of Transforming Sri Lanka to a world class port and shipping destination handled by the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Dr. Priyath Bandu Wickrama. He will speak on the developments such as the Hambantota Port development, Colombo Port development and the projects implemented by the Government and the new developments to take place. Also the development of the Port City will be another area to be covered. He will also speak on the further development of Hambantota Port and to make it a hive of economic activity.
A sector that has expanded and will really be a part of the knowledge economy will be the IT and BPO sector that will be addressed by Madu Ratnayake. The outsourcing industry is one that has been expanding and also resulting in the knowledge services industry been developed. This really requires the skilled manpower which needs to be supplied by the Private and Public sector training and higher educational institutes. This is also an industry that can be spread to the periphery provided that the knowledge and skills are available. It is a great opportunity to our youth for better prospects and good salary packages.
We will also have Dr. Saman Kelegama who will speak on Building a World Class export Economy. Here the Free Trade Agreements with different countries have really not made much progress and is an area we need to utilise for the boosting of our exports. It is also necessary to make our exports competitive and for this especially power has been an important consideration and we need to look at it closely. The major exports of Garments, Tea etc need to be further developed and new sectors brought in so that the exports can be diversified. The importance of foreign exchange and having free ports as seen in some other countries may be areas to be looked into. This session will be chaired by Samantha Ranatunge Managing Director of CIC Holdings Plc.
Session three will be on the Delivery Challenges for fast Tracking Economic Development and will cover three areas of competitive power pricing, expediting infrastructure development and the Tourism Sector.
The topic of What it will take Sri Lanka to Produce Power at a competitive price will be handled by Dr. Tilak Siyambilipitiya an expert in this field. He will speak on the opportunities available to make power competitive and also look at the challenges faced currently in the production and distribution of power and alternative cost saving devices which will give a boost to the power sector.
Another is the production of power from renewable energy sources and how they can be encouraged. On the whole the power sector covers all areas of the economy and the consumers are also an important part in this process.
Today the main development and foreign direct investment is coming from the infrastructure and tourism sector. Hence the Urban Development Authority is one of the most important government arms that handle the approvals. Today we have the DGM Projects Nihal Fernando from the UDA handling this project. Many are worried about the time taken and he will be able to inform them how approvals could be obtained expeditiously.
For many years the main FDI has been in the infrastructure area and today it has rapidly increased. Hence the UDA is a key partner in the economic growth and development of Sri Lanka.
Tourism is a key area of development that the Government has targeted. We have Prema Cooray an expert in this field both in setting up projects in Sri Lanka and overseas handling this topic. Today the major thrust and development is in the Tourism Sector. Many approvals have been granted for the construction of hotels and few have already opened with the balance in the final stages of construction. The numbers coming into the country have greatly appreciated and very soon we will hit the 2.0 m mark. Additional rooms and upgrading of hotels are required to be carried out and the government is giving incentives and many facilities to this sector. This session will be chaired by Basheer Ismail Vice President of CMA and Partner of SJMS Associates.
Session 4 will be on Implementing Fast Tracking Economic Development and will cover the areas of FDI, Knowledge hub and Apparel industry growth using the hub concept.
The Foreign Direct Investment will be handled by the Chairman of the BOI Dr. Lakshman Jayaweera and he will outline the incentives and the sectors promoted by BOI. They are an important link in expediting FDI in Sri Lanka and need the support of the other government departments in achieving this goal. A one stop concept that is talked of needs to be practiced if foreign investors are to expedite and fast track their projects. The inflow of FDI is extremely important if we are to meet growth targets of 7 to 8% on an annual basis. Therefore the importance of such FDI will be emphasised.
Dinesh Weerakkody Chairman of the Commercial Bank will speak on the Knowledge Hub. This is an area of prime importance to Sri Lanka to march forward in its economic development. We are still struggling with outdated methods of education and courses and hence a radical shift in necessary if we are to make progress. While free education is enjoyed by all citizens it has to be focussed on the right areas or otherwise it will result in negative results.
The new industries of the value addition, IT and BPO sector, trained staff for the tourism and other sectors are a few that are identified for growth. Hence the knowledge economy should be concentrated on sectors that there is a demand.
The apparel sector has been the major export commodity from Sri Lanka for a long time. Although at one time it was called a sunset industry it has now developed and also with the backward integration made it a stable industry. The government has given a new incentive to promote the hub concept in the apparel industry with linkages with overseas countries and making Sri Lanka a Hub for these exports.
This topic will be handled by Hasitha Premaratne from Brandix and he will describe not only the hub concept but how apparel companies have gone overseas and spread the export industry to the other countries.
This session will be chaired by Jayampathy Bandaranayake Former Chairman of the BOI.