Private-public sector suspicions nullify commercial progress: Time to move on, says Minister Weerakkody


Minister Chandima Weerakkody addressing the ceremony

By Steve A. Morrell

Skills Development and Vocational Training Minister, Chandima Weerakkody, says the usual outlook of the business community was that the private sector was suspicious of the public sector. The public sector, in turn, harbored similar suspicions about the private sector.

The end result of this unwritten animosity was that commercial progress was gravely stifled. Allusion to this internecine continuation of working at cross purposes achieved negative results, in consequence the economy did not progress.

The Minister was addressing the Chartered Accountants awards ceremony, where he was the joint chief guest last week.

"Of intense concern was that accountants such as yourselves, were the catalysts who ensured that each sector performed, and you were comfortable within your area of responsibility. Such a restrictive work ethic was not conducive to economic progress", Weerakkody noted.

He said the private sector’s success was good governance. The policy of the government was continuation and progress for a healthy climate for investment. If there were weak areas of uncertainty, investors would not be attracted to bring in their capital for commercial interaction.

What was now of importance was that suspicions existing on both sides should be ironed out, and some form of unification of purpose must be established. It was an established inference that transparency was an important guideline that made the private sector move on, he said.

Additionally, the private sector is attributed with an efficient work ethic. "I do not blame you if you are suspicious that your plans may be dislocated if you must collaborate with the public sector. I need to reiterate, however, that if you are effectively broadminded, some sort of togetherness could be worked out", the Minister streseed.

Also of relevance, Weerakkody pointed out, was that in all areas where accountants were necessary, it was conclusive that most such persons were CA members. They do, in point of fact, speak the same ‘language’. It should not be a big job to inveigle a situation of corresponding thinking common to both sectors.

"Some 44,000 accountants are in training. They would pass out shortly. About, 300 passed out this evening. We are yet short of people to fill these employment slots", he said.

It was also factual considering the government’s investment goals, both private sector and public enterprises must realize that these economic realities cannot be avoided. What is envisaged is public /private partnership, the Minister observed.

"Considering the preconceived mismatch could this proposition be reality? I would think so".

"The CA continues to be of great service to the country. But your members who are employed out of this country and continue to earn well, will they come back when they are still productive? Quite often that does not happen. They come back for retirement. What the Government says is bring your experience and expertise back. Your country needs your skills.

You are aware that housemaids contribute a major share of their earnings to the GDP. What would you contribute?", he queried.

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