PIM launches new program on public policy for business leaders

Thursday, 11 July 2013 02:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

For the first time in Sri Lanka, the Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM) will be launching a short-term interactive program for business leaders on public policy. The closing date for registration being 15 July 2013, the program has openings for only 40 participants, who will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Sharing details on PIM’s latest program ‘Public Policy for Business Leaders,’ PIM Program Director Public Policy Dr. Lloyd Fernando spoke to the Daily FT regarding the relevance of such a program in today’s business context.  Following are excerpts of the interview:     By Shabiya Ali Ahlam Q: Tell me about the Public Policy for Business Leaders’ program? A: This is a three month program. If we are talking about senior people, they don’t have much time. Acknowledging this, the program will require them to come together once every two weeks, that too for three hours only from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays. The participants will be given reading and textual materials beforehand. The program will aim to prepare the participants for good interaction with the Government in terms of the public policy since it has a bearing on business performance.   Q: Who are you targeting with this program? A: We are targeting very senior business executives or business leaders rather. The idea behind this is that people who are in leadership positions in the private sector should understand the importance of public policy. For that purpose, we are inviting people of that calibre to come and interact with us. This is not a normal training course where we will be delivering lectures but is a short term learning program for knowledge sharing.   Q: Why is this important for your targeting segment? A: Those in the strategic positions should be aware of the current situation of the public policy and the direction in which the Government is moving. For example, at the moment the exchange rate is down, which means we have to pay more for a dollar. Business leaders would know the implications of that on their business, but they would also like to know how long this would persist. They would want to know will there be a further deterioration of the exchange rate. To do so, they must be able to understand the contributing factors. There are certain objective factors. The subjective factors are short term measures. It is important for them to know about the exchange rate, how the interest rate will behave, what is the impact of the Government budget deficit and similar matters. What is important about this course is that it not only tells you how to analyse the current situation, but to foresee what is going to happen in the future. That is far more important. To do that, you must have the basic knowledge and the analytical skills. This course is heavily loaded with economics. But when you are talking about public policy with economic policy, you cannot avoid learning economics. Most of the people who are at the helm of business have not gone through any courses in economics. Also we chose August to launch this program since the proposals for the Budget 2014 will be put forward in November 2014. The Government Secretary will call for a meeting with business leaders for consultations, and various chambers of commerce will also be having meetings of their own with this regard. Very often what happens in these types of consultations is that business leaders do not come up with an overall perspective. So our program will help them on that regard.   Q: What are the areas covered? A: We are trying to give a holistic view of the entire development process, the role of public policy, and the direction in which it is moving. If you look at the structure of the course, we start with the foundation of the public policy. We have a session on fiscal policy. This is very important and as it is in line with the national budget. The Government Budget has a very big impact on business, whether it is revenue, tax, budget deficit or expenditure. Then we talk about the monetary policy, where we will be covering interest rates, exchange rates, and help the participants understand what pushes the Government with regard to monetary policy. Then we have international trade and balance of payments policy, which again brings out some strategic issues with regard to the economic development. We also have a program on strategic planning.   Q: Who are the facilitators? A: When you look at the resource persons, they are all very eminent people and experts in their respected fields. Our resource persons and discussion leaders include Dr. Indrajit Aponsu, Dr. Anila Bandaranayake, W.A. Wijewardena, Dr. Saman Kelegama, Professor Uditha Liyanage, Dr. Rohan Perera, Dr. Ranee Jayamaha, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Dr. Anura Ekanayake, Dr. Koshy Mathai, Dr. Sarath Rajapthirana, Dr. Richard Vokes, Dr. Wickrema Weerasooriya. We have selected them because we want to give an opportunity for business leaders to interact with such top personalities.