Home News English “Take the lead from within the field you represent”

“Take the lead from within the field you represent”

by Shyama Basnayake

NPP Executive Committee Member Chathuranga Abeysinghe

For the past three years, I have been looking for an answer to a question. That is the question my daughter will ask me in another 10 years. She will ask me, father, I am well educated, but I do not have a job and I do not feel safe. For a good life, I need to go to another country, should I go? Since there is no answer to that question, I decided to leave my professional responsibilities for a little while and actively involved in politics. We are in an open economy. If social justice needs to be established within this circumstance, it is necessary to create equal opportunities, equal opportunities in education, equal opportunities in the economy. Otherwise, justice cannot be achieved.

In Sri Lanka, 8.6 M people are engaged in various occupations. However, many people have not been able to convert a job to a profession. 62% of the Sri Lankan jobs are unorganized. That means there is no ETF, EPF and no rights to work. Many people have not been able to have a profession that would bring a family income. 70% of the Sri Lankan families are relatively in poverty. They are not as capable as we are. Professional dignity is lost. The professional dignity of the public servant is lost.

And we know you are stuck if you are a small or medium-sized businessman. There is no one to provide you with capital or technology. There is no one to support your foreign trade. We are a poor country. Not everyone in our country has capital. Due to the lack of capital, if you start a small business, you will not be able to compete with big businesses. To be competitive, need to be obtained the state contribution. You could be an incorporated company; you could be an import or export company; you could be a re-exporting company, a value-adding company, but you are unsuccessful today. As professionals and entrepreneurs, it is necessary to understand even if we try to achieve personal goals, we cannot achieve that goal individually.

When the whole country collapses, when its own people collapse, we collapse as well. Within this system, we have a situation where we cannot solve our personal goals. How do we proceed from here? We need to come to the forefront of economic theories. The production capability curve needs to be developed. We must develop human capital, technology and productivity of natural resources. We have not done it. A country needs products and services that have relative advantages over it. We have that advantage in the garment industry and technology industry. We also have a relative advantage in agricultural crops. However, we have not been able to take them to the international level and capture our portion of the world economy. Also, there is an advantage for our country due to the location, an advantage in fisheries resources, an advantage in mineral resources. Today we are selling that absolute advantage to foreigners. That’s what our rulers have done. Their goal is not to improve the lives of our or your children; they spend billions and share three to four times of that money among their friends. We must make a political choice from what we have chosen so far. First, we must consider the candidates’ goals, whether it is a common goal or a personal goal. We need to see what their use is; we must see their lifestyles. We need to see whether they have sympathy. Also, there must be a team. We have experienced the devastation when a single person is appointed for power. It must be a collective effort. Must line up for one vision.

Data science is my subject field. This subject has the highest demand in the world. Data science provides the management, the knowledge they need to make decisions, to solve problems by using data. We can use data to solve problems in a country. It can forecast. But our leaders do not want to use them. Even though the world has achieved maximum industrial revolution, Sri Lanka has not even gone to a second industrial revolution. Productivity has not gone up. We exchanged our universal voting power with the corrupted business elite. We need to regain that power. We definitely need a team for that solution. That is the team that we are creating. We propose our youth community to take the lead from where you are.

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