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The government must transition towards a transparent government centred on information communication technology (ICT), the Public Enterprise Development Deputy Minister said.

“It is possible to fight corruption with the Right to Information (RTI) Act and digitalization. There is no reason why the government can’t share information. It saves time for the people,” Eran Wickramaratne, who was the founder Chairman of the ICT Agency, said at the eighth National Conference on Cyber Security.

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Sri Lanka needs to have a political strategy to support the implementation of reforms and restructurings of state owned enterprises to reduce the burden on the treasury or the tax payer, deputy minister of state owned enterprises (SOEs) said.

“We have a situation in which the tax payer at large is paying for the expenses of a few who actually benefit directly from those enterprises,”Eran Wickramaratne, deputy minister of state enterprise development told a forum organized by the Institute of Policy Studies.

 

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Sri Lanka needs to reform taxation, loss making state enterprises, labour market, agriculture and social protection to ensure long term economic growth, observed the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) releasing its flagship report Sri Lanka State of The Economy 2015.

The report spells out a range of economic challenges the new government is facing of which fiscal consolidation is key. Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development, Eran Wickramaratne addressing the gathering said the government’s immediate focus will be the stability of foreign reserves while introducing necessary economic reforms.

“In the past the economy was driven by largely a public investment programme and borrowings. So, the new government has to work hard to improve the enabling environment so that we attract investments,” Minister Wickramaratne said.

 

 

 

Times 1004

Sunday Times – 10/04/15

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Hon. Eran Wickremaratne, MP, who was the Chief Guest at the Annual Meeting of the Membership of The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID) lauded the Institute for the yeoman service that had been done over the last 15 years in creating awareness of the regulatory framework and understanding of positive corporate behavior and values and making solid citizens of the Sri Lankan corporations as they contribute to the economic, social and moral development of this country. He requested SLID to continue to do the good work that the Institute has been doing!

In his speech sharing some thoughts on “Good Governance and Leadership,” he declared that good governance was not about mere technicalities, but was about building a culture and contributing to the whole culture of the country.

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What I learnt from my school is, irrespective of one being privileged at birth, it is equality which matters. When we were on the playing field it was always about who had the better defence to open batting, who was more accurate in swinging the ball and who was the most alert for the slips- the discussion was about that. It never occurred to us that somebody was Tamil or Muslim because always the focus was on commonality. That sense didn’t prevail even among teachers.

Q: What made you quit a high profile office as the CEO of National Development Bank PLC (now known as NDB Bank) and take up politics which undoubtedly would have been challenging and at the same time entailed a colossal financial loss?

A: When one makes a transition, it is the family that will bear the brunt and consequences of it. In my case too, the biggest challenge was not for me but for my family. My decision to come into politics is not considered a personal decision because I found out that when I first came in, that I was the first CEO of a public quoted company ever to come into the Sri Lankan Parliament. If you are 40 plus and well accomplished in your profession and you have a couple of grown up kids who still haven’t got into university or professional education, the risk is greater because between 40 and 50 are the years where your savings got to rise, so that you can take care of your family and your children. But really, the country needs you at 40 despite the barriers to enter politics. I came into politics hoping that at some point we could remove that barrier so that others too could come in.

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Today the software industry generates an income close to a billion dollars for the country, this is something we can be proud of however our dreams have always been much more.

In the past the Government adopted a model that centered around economic activity meaning it was the public investment program of six or seven percent that drove the economy. The next Government needs to be an enabling Government, actively creating opportunities for the private sector to flourish via continuous investment.

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MIX FIX!

We need better candidates. Unfortunately none of the proposals that were forwarded so far on this issue are being discussed. There are no qualifications, actually as to who should contest at an election. It is being left open and as you have rightly pointed out even the National List has been left open and therefore parties have put all kinds of people on the National List with different backgrounds.

I think there is a call in the country for better candidates and my view is that if a young person is entering politics, we should insist on having some level of education; either they should have a professional qualification or a University qualification.

But if people who are older and let’s say 40 years or something, they need not have formal education in terms of professional or University education, because they have a lot to offer too because after all they too have come through the school of life or the University of life and that is very important in politics. But what I can say is that none of these Amendments will ensure that the quality of candidates will improve.