Sri Lanka business chamber seeks end to corruption, poor decisions in government

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s largest business chamber, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) called for structural changes to end corruption, which should create better policies for economic growth.

"…we will also call for the installation of a meritocracy and the eradication of corruption at a fundamental and structural level," Hans Wijesuriya said, after being appointed the new chairman of the CCC.

"Here we refer not just to the direct leakage of rupees and cents but also the cost of bad decisions and even inaction which are motivated by factors other than the national interest," he said.

He said the CCC seeks enabling policies from the government which boost growth, after a recent dollar bond issuance showed foreign investor confidence in Sri Lanka’s macroeconomic policy making.

"From government we will seek enablement – a call for constructive policy frameworks which are designed to enable growth," Wijesuriya said.

"We will also continue to seek transparency and consistency."

"We will assume as a fundamental deliverable of government, the fostering of national harmony and the maintenance of law and order."

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He said if the emerging extremism and radicalization are not addressed, they could threaten national unity and economic growth.

Businesses view the current political, social and economic climate negatively, he said.

However, he said the private sector can play a large part in driving change as well.

"Integrity and the eradication of corruption should start from within the private sector – let us set standards which are uncompromisable [sic]," Wijesuriya said.

"If we seek a meritocracy and a dilution of the influence of political patronage – let us create growth and opportunity for people across all parts of this country so that there is no place for political patronage."

"If we recognize the importance of equality and the eradication of disparity as a foundation for peace and harmony – lets us pledge our efforts towards a establishing a more equal and inclusive economy."

"If we so walk the talk – I believe we will succeed in driving a resurgence not only of the economy but also of a new social order and meritocracy which will be a benchmark in the region."