Sri Lanka should open up more than two sectors for ETCA: Prof. Samarajiva

Mar 29, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should open up more sectors for the proposed Indo-Lanka Economic and Technology Cooperative Agreement or ETCA, a head of regional think tank said.

A former telecoms regulator and founding Chair of LIRNEasia Professor Rohan Samarajiva said at a seminar that the construction industry is a one sector that should be opened up for both countries.

“I disagree with this ETCA. I think we should open up more than two sectors. I think we should open up construction,” Samarajiva said.

As per the professional associations, ship building and ICT are the two sectors that have been included by Sri Lanka for the proposed framework agreement.

“Don’t think of people only coming here; you should go there. Everybody talks about Indians coming here,” he said.

“Commercial Bank has gone to Myanmar and Bangladesh. ‘Virtusa’ is a company which has got establishments on the Indian side. ‘Damro’ can go, he can make money but you people can’t.”

He was speaking to a group of professionals at a seminar organized by the Chamber of Construction Industry yesterday.

Samarajiva used his experience as a case in point to explain to the audience the motive for opening up for competition.

“When we were going to reform the Telcom sector, there were so many people who said fix the problems first. But we didn’t do that,” he said.

“We just opened the market; we committed to the gap; we got the investments; we created competition; now the pressure was on and we did certain things and SLT reformed.”

He said the idea behind creating a legal framework of this nature between two countries is to reduce the uncertainty and discretion when dealing with business activities.

“What we must care about is whether the people get good quality services. I think it will be done by creating incentives for companies to become more competitive,” Samarajiva said.

“We know that all export industries are under pressure. They have to improve their productivity.”

Samarajiva however stressed that the agreement should be well negotiated and crafted well.

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Nish
Nish
5 years ago

wow we are so unlucky that such economic hitmen are not taking decisions in countries like USA or Australia. We could have gone with just the passport in our backpacks and taken their jobs in the name of competition.

upul arunajith
upul arunajith
5 years ago

Mouth piece of Harsha De Silva. How on earth can this think tank justify allowing Indian construction firms to come to Sri Lanka ? Look at what’s happening with that 65000 housing unit project that Mittal is going to make a killing with pre fabricated houses at high cost when the line minister Premadasa himself has rejected Mittal offer due to cost over runs as the local construction companies can do the same unit for less than half the cost. These theoritical economist should remain in the universities only and not mislead the public. Development economist to date not been able to come up with one single development proposal but running around with a fancy term economic diplomacy…..

Garawi
Garawi
5 years ago

Yes a few Sri Lankan companies will go to India but the flow in the opposite direction will glut our markets. The learned professor doesn’t seem to see that!

bandara
bandara
5 years ago

this man is always boasting about success of SLT and trying to get the credit for that. But this man has no any connection for that success. Privatization was happening from JRs era and SLT was also such a privatization done going on the same line. Luckily technology changed during that time and CDMA , mobile communication , digital and various wireless technologies became cheaper and flooded the market replacing old land lines. this man is trying to say the success of SLT is due to his management.

upul arunajitj
upul arunajitj
5 years ago
Reply to  bandara

I guess if his background is in telecom then he should stick to his domain. Unfortunately he is all over country side misleading the people.

AndrewGS
AndrewGS
5 years ago

This is a highly controversial person who has been accused of running a years of corruption circle, and an internal mafia inside CEB being an outside Consultant through his peers. Being only concerned about $$ coming into his wallet, he would sell the country to anyone pay the price. These are the people whom should be kicked out of influential positions of the government to protect Sri Lanka from economic invasions!!