Gota gung-ho for expats

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:44 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Urges Sri Lankans who ventured after greener pastures to come back and help in post-war nation’s transformation
  • Says Govt. on its part creating a conducive environment for those best of brains returning to live and work in Sri Lanka
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam Secretary Defence and Urban Development Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday urged millions of Sri Lankan expatriates to return and contribute in transforming the peaceful nation into a leading commercial hub in the South Asian region. Noting that despite the nation having produced smart and hardworking professionals over the years, Rajapaksa expressed that due to the uncertain war situation that went on for three decades Sri Lanka lost many of its “best and brightest” talent to countries that promised a better quality of life at that time. “Whether these individuals left to escape the conflict, pursue higher education, obtain a more lucrative environment, or enjoy a better quality of life, their departure was a serious loss for the nation. Now that Sri Lanka has come out of the war the time is right for expatriates to consider coming back home,” said Rajapaksa at the inaugural ‘Work in Sri Lanka’ conference in Colombo yesterday that had a full house attendance of recent and potential returnees. The Government on its part, he said, is keen on creating a conducive environment for those returning to live and work in Sri Lanka. “The creation of such an environment is extremely important from the perspective of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). It is for this purpose that the UDA together with the relevant local authorities have taken up a range of programs to uplift the local areas,” added Rajapaksa. Following the re-election of Mahinda Rajapaksa as President for second term in office in January 2010, the focus of the country has greatly been on strengthening peace and stability whilst fast tracking economic development. He added that such developments are the main thrust in transforming the nation into a dynamic global hub and such strategies make full use of Sri Lanka’s position, its educated and productive workforce, and its recently achieved peace, stability, and security. “The vision is to establish a five hub and tourism strategy. For this the Government has been laying the seeds of transformation soon after the war and this has created a strong base for building the future. Now the task is to make maximum use of this foundation to take the country to the next level,” he told the forum, while emphasising on arising potential in the country. Rajapaksa further stated that knowledge workers choose to work in Sri Lanka since there are ample opportunities and quality destinations throughout the country. “With such it is clear that Sri Lanka has immense potential to develop much further,” he opined.