Amidst challenges developing strong fundamentals for future growth is key : Army chief

Friday, 12 February 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

 Army Commander General Shavendra Silva

Army Commander General Shavendra Silva on Wednesday told the private sector that as the country strives to overcome today’s challenges and seize tomorrow’s opportunities it was important to develop strong fundamentals for future growth regardless of revenue size or industry sector. He made this observation during his speech as the Chief Guest at the Most Admired Companies 2020 Awards ceremony organised by the CIMA, International 

Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka and the Daily FT at the BMICH. Following are excerpts of General Silva’s speech:

Boston Consulting Group India Managing Director and Senior Partner Alpesh Shah
Judging Panel Head Ravi Abeysuriya
CIMA Country Head Zahara Ansary
ICCSL Secretary Shanil Fernando

“It is indeed my pleasure and honour to participate in the ‘The Ten Most Admired Companies Sri Lanka’ award ceremony 2020 and address this gathering this evening. At the onset let me congratulate the companies who were awarded today as the most admired companies in 2020. Also let me congratulate International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka, the Chartered Institute of Management Accounts and Daily Financial Times for organising this great event for the third time amidst many constraints.

“The events of this nature to recognise the organisations who have excelled in the business including the value they have created for the customers, employees and public, are fascinating, and I hope this will encourage the entire commercial sector of this country to support stakeholders, build capabilities, and seek for innovations as well as venturing abroad into new markets for more revenues.

“As you all know, the commercial sector is one of the worst-hit aspects in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. The menace which has adversely affected the entire world, and often labelled as the most significant socio-economic hiccup in the recent history, has arguably retarded Sri Lanka’s economy, which mainly depends on the tourism trade, readymade garment industry, and agricultural export. Therefore, understand that every business is under constraints. However, during the last year, you have relentlessly taken the effort to prevent this country’s economy, falling to an irreversible level. Therefore, as the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Pandemic, I would like to thank the commercial sector of this country on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka.

“With the new normalcy prospects, the Government has taken many important initiatives and policies to create a favourable trade environment and encourage businesses to support achieving inclusive and sustainable growth. Learning from COVID-19 impacts, new prospects focus on attaining the resilience in the country’s economy by increasing the local business opportunities, value-adding of exports, increasing finished products, diversifying the exports, moving to renewable energies, exploiting the foreign market demand for skill and knowledge base human capital, increasing the domestic food-making capacity, etc.

“Also, changes to the pattern of living, supply chain, tourism as well as information and data management will have many other associated changes in the business domain, and introduce more opportunities as never before. Therefore, the business sector has a significant role to play in time to come, for the country’s sustainable growth and development. Moreover, under the new normalcy, and safer environment prevailing in Sri Lanka compared to other countries in the region, will enable the commercial counterparts of Sri Lanka to gain an edge over other competitors, increase their market share, boost stakeholder value and absorb foreign investments and partnerships. 

“Therefore, I request to grab today’s business opportunities in front of you with a positive mind. Cooperation and partnerships are essential tools for companies to strengthen their capabilities and internationalise the trades. It helps the companies to be resilient and recover soon after any hiccup. This also is an area that the Government has been strongly supportive of. These initiatives can provide companies with a narrow roadmap to broaden their scope and achieve success. 

“I hope the COVID-19 situation gave us a good opportunity to understand where we stand, and how our trades can restart. Therefore, companies can assess and identify weaknesses and strengths and areas for improvement, and then act on those via a systematic approach to improve business performances. It is often essential to have the prospects or a way forward strategy at least for five years aligning the desired business and cooperate objectives with the present standard of the company so that benchmark standards to be achieved after each year and the necessary changes in the organisation can be decided. Sri Lanka Army bears the testimony for its usefulness with our highly effective ‘Army Way forward Strategy 2020-2025’.

“As this award ceremony correctly assessed, caring and consideration of business partners, consumers, and employees other than the profit are critical cornerstones to measure how successful a company is. Therefore, accolades of this nature enable companies to distinguish themselves whether they are credible players in the business arena and understand the stability, connectedness, accessibility, and ease of doing business compared to other counterparts. Therefore, I must thank the organisers of the event for creating such a culture within the business community.

“Once again giving my profound gratitude for International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka, the Chartered Institute of Management Accounts and Daily Financial Times for inviting me for this event as the Chief Guest, let me close by congratulating this year’s award winners. Your achievements clearly demonstrate the importance of developing strong fundamentals for future growth regardless of revenue size or industry sector. 

“As we are striving to overcome today’s challenges and seize tomorrow’s opportunities as a country, I hope the success stories of tonight’s award winners will motivate other organisations to improve their standards and foster effectively in the future economy. I wish you all the best in taking your businesses to even greater heights with health, wealth and happiness to you and your beloved ones in time to come.”

Pix by Ruwan Walpola and Upul Abayasekara