Dhammika Perera Chairman Sampath Bank Plc, The Richest Sri Lankan 2013”
The most significant matter worth speaking about, is the need to be aware that whatever the outcome in Geneva, the atmosphere created by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in terms of the peace following the thirty year war, has permitted all the people of Sri Lanka to lead ordinary lives, without fear for their safety. This same atmosphere has inspired businessmen and it has been the principal reason for the progress being made on the development and rebuilding front. Important sectors of the economy are showing a very good growth pattern that has been lacking for over three decades.
The very people who created a culture of fear and intimidation and who blocked the progress and development of this country are now making a concentrated effort to destroy the atmosphere that has accrued due to the peace dividend. This atmosphere is enjoyed by all the people of Sri Lanka and has reached every corner, every hamlet, town, district and province in our country.Opportunity has been created, jobs are available, education and training is available and Sri Lanka is a land that appeals to investors – local and foreign alike. Those of us in business are united in our resolve to play a dynamic and patriotic role in developing this country’s economy. We detect unity amongst all people who live in Sri Lanka – their quest is to live in a peaceful environment. After thirty years of terror, the people of Sri Lanka rightfully expect to enjoy the peace dividend and the benefits that are created from there onwards. In short the people of Sri Lanka are united in their resolve to eradicate obstacles to progress.
W K H Wegapitiya Chairman, Laugfs
I see no impact on Sri Lanka economically and otherwise. This is a resolution of the Human Rights Council and they have no mandate to impose sanctions for example. That is the preserve of the UN Security Council. Historically speaking we must remember that Europeans are precluded from speaking on Human Rights violations: the greatest violations of Human Rights were carried out by none other than the colonialists who imposed their will on a reluctant people of Sri Lanka. Three nations ruled this country against their will and imposed their strictures whilst raping the resources of this country. Now these very people have the temerity to invade our sovereignty by asking for us to be investigated for Human Rights violations.
There will be a zero tolerance of these spurious claims and there will be no impact at all on our economy. On the contrary Sri Lankans – although composed of a rich cultural and ethnic mix– have been united in the pursuance of the new war: on the economy. We are progressing well, private sector investment in new projects is encouraging and to be in business now is to experience new highs never reached before.
The proof is there to be seen: everywhere in Sri Lanka development is on the up. There is ample opportunity for expansion and employment to take Sri Lanka on an economic path that is both, new and exciting – one never enjoyed before.
If as a nation we think of the notion, “united we stand” and ensure unity and patriotism, we will be able to overcome and carry on with the progress we have made and are continuing to make.
Ashok Pathirage Chairman, Softlogic Group of Companies
The world should know that we had suffered a long war with significant losses to our country and its people. We have come out of this crisis and there is peace in the country today. We need to rebuild our Nation. The resolution that the US has proposed should not prolong this Nation’s agony but must ensure that we as a Nation rise up to a new level of economic prosperity. We need all countries to support us in this way so that we can focus on economic development where all minority groups coexist and benefit from equal opportunities.
Rajendran Theagarajah CEO, National Development Bank
Sri Lanka has gradually gained the attention of frontier market investor coverage after the end of the civil conflict in 2009. I believe that Geneva will certainly attract the attention of press but what is more important for serious investors would be the consistent story regarding our national economic vision and what we offer as improved ease of doing business.
We as the private sector must play our part in building solid businesses and demonstrate that Sri Lanka is ready for business.
Sriyan Gurusinghe CEO, LOLC Securities
Sri Lanka’s government has displayed a healthy appetite to address all issues not just post May 2009 but in fact since November 2005. This is a fact not highlighted enough. It was then that positive steps were taken to kick-start the economy and rid this nation of the menace of terrorism.
Our economy has shown remarkable fortitude and opportunity abounds as do optimism and medium and long term sentiment.
If we suffered we did so in the period prior to the renaissance we are experiencing now. Geneva is a Human Rights Council level session and I feel there is too much hype. The reality is that this will have little or no impact on our economy. Tourism is strong, infrastructure development is buoyant and the country is making steady progress. Decision makers are transparent in their willingness to address all issues which in the long term will prove to be beneficial to Sri Lanka.
There is no need to be overly worried and it will be a case of “Business As Usual” in spite and despite Geneva.