Sri Lanka is facing the worst socio-economic crisis in its history. This situation has arisen due to mismanagement. These issues have also been exacerbated by macro-economic factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn. A group of professional organizations, headed by the Chamber Of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE) and comprising; the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam, United Trade and Industry Association, Dehiwala, The Matara District Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Nugegoda Entrepreneurs and Professionals Alliance, Minuwangoda Trade Association, Lanka Business Ring, Nawalapitiya Traders Association, Entrepreneurs Lanka, Mahanuwara Sinhala Welanda Peramuna, Kiribathgoda Sinhala Merchant Association, Galle District Chamber Of Commerce & Industries, Event Management Association-Sri Lanka, Lanka Confectionary Manufactures Association, Kurunagala Sinhala Welada Peramuna, All Ceylon Bakery Owners Association, Association of container transport, Association of clearing and forwarding, and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, have put forward a 10-point action plan to overcome the current crisis. This plan was presented at an event held recently.
The first point which was put forward was the need for immediate political and administrative stability. This would mean the reduction of the powers vested in the executive president as well as appointing professionals with relevant expertise and experience to the cabinet and other key positions.
The second point is addressing the immediate financial and essential goods crisis faced by the people while also supporting those engaged in activities that bring in foreign currency to the country.
The third point is adopting a “Sri Lanka First” negotiation strategy for long-term debt restructuring by engaging with the sovereign bondholders as well as reaching out to international organizations such as the IMF and friendly countries.
the fourth point is the reduction of government expenditure and making government-owned entities efficient and self-sufficient. This would mean focusing on performance and output.
The fifth point is to bring about good governance by making the necessary reforms to the political structure.
The sixth point is to enhance industrialization through an accelerated drive towards export-led real GDP growth. This would mean bringing about certain fiscal reforms while also bringing in a structure that encourages foreign direct investments (FDIs).
The seventh point is the redefinition of policies to empower traditional and disruptive industries. This means the promotion of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, and utilizing them in industries such as agriculture.
The eight-point is a proposed global campaign for promoting FDIs via Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). This campaign would promote Sri Lanka via targeted exhibitions and forums across the globe and capitalize on the potential return on investment.
the ninth point is the need for effective communication and transparency with all stakeholders of the nation, including the public to ensure accountability. this would mean adopting a framework that tracks and maintains a record of all activities carried out by the public sector including public office bearers
The tenth point is capitalizing on the Port City and integrating a model for a transformed Sri Lanka. This model would attract immediate FDIs through the Port City while simultaneously supporting exporters through this initiative.
If these proposed 10 points are implemented immediately and followed, COYLE and the other organizations who put forward this plan are confident that Sri Lanka can recover from the current crisis and be stronger than ever before in the future.