“We reiterate our commitment towards supporting the growth oriented policies of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. However we regret to note that some state agencies do not extend positive support to the private sector in its role as the engine of growth. This is a major drawback” noted Daya Weththasinghe. He was unanimously re-elected president of the SLJBCC for a further term of office. He expressed his regret over the failure of certain state agencies to keep the SLJBCC adequately briefed about the recent visit of a business delegation from Japan. He pointed out that “unfortunately this prevented a more positive interaction with the Japanese delegation.”
Referring to the opportunities for enhancing socio economical linkages between Japan and Sri Lanka, Weththasinghe specifically appealed to the Chief Guest H.E. the Ambassador Nobuhito Hobo to convince Japanese tour operators to promote Sri Lanka as the “Miracle of Asia and a “Destination like no other”. Further he suggested that travel agents in Japan should be invited to promote both Island Nations in the Indian Ocean amongst Japanese tourists facilitating them to have a combined holiday during their visit to South Asia.
Addressing the gathering, Nobuhito Hobo stated that it is a remarkable achievement of the Government of Sri Lanka to have an 8.3% GDP during last year despite various challenges due to global economic downturn. HE Hobo assured that every possible support will be extended to SLJBCC for the 17th joint committee meeting in December 2012. A “Symposium on Sri Lanka – Japan Diplomatic Relations” will be held on 5th December 2012 followed by the 17th Joint Committee Meeting with Japan – Sri Lanka Business Co-operation Committee on 6th December 2012 at the BMICH, Colombo. These two main events will be organised to coincide with the 60 years of Diplomatic Relations between Sri Lanka and Japan. In addition, “Sri Lanka – Japan Cultural Show” and “All About Japan” Quiz will be held on 15th December 2012.
In the field of economic co-operation, Hobo stated that “the Government of Japan will continue to assist Sri Lanka's development by utilizing the schemes such as yen-loan, grant assistance, and technical cooperation. Based on the Country Assistance Program which was formulated in June this year the Govt. of Japan will focus on the three areas, namely, promotion of economic growth, Support for the lagging regions and alleviation of vulnerability. We believe that by supporting the social and economic integration in Sri Lanka particularly the ethnic reconciliation will not only pave the way for the stability in this region, but it will also contribute to the security of the Sea Lane. Now that Sri Lanka is a middle income country, it needs to foster industries particularly in the high value added export sector in order to achieve the sustained growth. For this to happen, we need to make an environment that is conducive to promote private sector dynamism. We may need to promote privatization and Private Public Partnerships. We may also need to seek a socially acceptable model for growth in Sri Lanka. I would also like to note that the role played by Foreign Direct Investment is of prime importance. If we fail to face these challenges, I am concerned that there is a risk that SL might get caught in a situation known as the middle income trap.”
The re-appointed Committee at the Annual General Meeting comprised of President – Daya Weththasinghe, Chairman/Managing Director, Globe Commercial Agencies, and Advisors - Deshabandu Tilak de Zoysa and Desamanya Deva Rodrigo. Five Vice Presidents appointed were, Mahen Dayananda, Chairman, Total Tea Concepts (Pvt) Ltd., Tissa Jayaweera, Chairman, Advanced International Management Services (Pvt) Ltd., Sarath de Costa, Managing Director, Amano Lanka Engineering (Pvt) Ltd., Dayasiri Warnakulasooriya, Chairman, Midaya Ceramic Company Ltd. and Merrick Gooneratne, Executive Director, TOS Lanka Co. (Pvt) Limited. Navindra Abeysekera, Delmege Forsyth & Company and Dinesh Saparamadu, HSenid Software International (Pvt) Ltd. were elected as Committee Members. Ms. Lilakshi de Mel, Senior Assistant Secretary General will represent the Secretariat of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.
The Sri Lanka – Japan Business Co-operation Committee was set up in 1979 by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce following a Memorandum of Understanding with the Japan - Sri Lanka Business Co-operation Committee set up by the Japan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) and the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The SLJBCC is the first bi-lateral business council to be set up by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. The Sri Lanka - Japan Business Co-operation Committee in Sri Lanka represents the Business Community who has business interests with Japan.