Lankan professionals can help the country overcome the crisis – Engineer
Trust and reliance on Sri Lanka’s expertise and professionalism will help put the country back on a solid footing to become a developed country, said Shiromal Fernando, Managing Director and Leading Structural Engineer, Civil and Structural Engineering Consultants (Pvt) Ltd.
He said it was high time the country stopped relying on foreign expertise and services to develop the economy and learned to depend on the huge skilled and talented workforce that could spur the growth of key sectors of the economy.
The only solution to the current economic crisis is the change of attitude and values from being too dependent on foreign aid for everything rather than trusting the country’s professionals, said Fernando, adding that everyone must first love everything about the country and give it priority. “We should rely on our professionals in the agriculture, manufacturing, construction, healthcare and education sectors to name a few who could be the engines of growth.
“We must believe in our technologies before adapting others and develop materials/machinery rather than importing them. Being a developing country with limited technological resources, adapting our own technologies will help increase the use of our own resources, such as labor and materials, Fernando said, adding that it would lead to the development of new technologies and would reduce imports which drain the value of the country’s currencies,” he said.
Given the country’s position, attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) for export-oriented sectors could be a feasible alternative. The Port City project is a key attraction for foreign direct investment if the government offers an attractive long-term FDI package to investors.
Sri Lanka has the potential to become great again. It is up to the engineers/decision makers to take the initiative and think outside the box to find solutions to the current economic crisis, Fernando said. Sri Lanka has a proud history of over 3,000 years of gifting outstanding technologies and constructions to the world. As a country, we were ahead of the rest of the world. We were the first to build earth dams, chaityas and irrigation systems.
Throughout history, we have faced many challenges and yet we have always proven our resilience. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with abundant natural resources, placed in a strategic location on the world map with a well-educated population.
Despite gaining independence in 1948, Sri Lanka has still relied on foreign alliances for over 74 years due to a lack of self-confidence and self-reliance.
All crises such as the Easter Sunday bombings and the pandemic are not mere obstacles but opportunities that test our self-reliance, Fernando said, adding that the current currency shortage puts pressure on the exchange rate. .