Private sector vital for country's development: Speaker


Overal winner. Aitken Spence, receiving the award Pic by Dharamasena Welipitiya

By Steve A. Morrell

'The private sector is of vital importance for the economic growth of the country, Chief Guest at the recently held Ceylon Chamber of Commerce ‘Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Award 2018,’ Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya said.

Amid laughter Jayasuriya said he was particularly pleased to be present at the awards presentation because he experienced a peaceful situation in the hall, quite in contrast to his recent experiences in parliament.

The Speaker said he was with the private sector of this country from 1965 to 1995, a period of some 30 years. Growth seen during this period and subsequently was a pointer to the economic growth over the years, he explained.

Jayasuriya added: 'The Millennium Development Goals set out in 2015 included 17 sector goals. Additionally, it was of significance that the government’s support for the 2013 ‘Gender for Development’ programme was a facilitating factor that placed the country among the first to accept the Sustainable Development Goals in the UNDP’s agenda. Peace and justice, climate change, women’s empowerment, poverty alleviation, food and agriculture, permanent housing, water supply, among other goals, were among the sector targets. 191 member countries accepted these sector changes. Sri Lanka is among these member states.

'The Sri Lankan parliament was first in the world to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee to adopt this model and is worthy of emulation by other parliaments.

'The private sector is an important axis in development. Innovative thinking, bold action for progress, were all part of their contribution to the economic progress of the country.

'Sri Lanka was geographically in the right place for envisaged progress. Dedication and discipline were the essential factors that stimulated progress.'

Chairman CCC Rajendra Theagarajah said initiatives of the Chamber with the Dilma Foundation for 80 member companies to encourage bio diversity, along with environmental sustainability, were now an important aspect of their businesses.

'This was the 15th consecutive year the awards were held. Generating profits for share holders was part of each business; however, corporate business models also included bio diversity models of management, he said.

Theagarajah added: 'It is important that each company affords recognition to its staff who are important connectors that ensure the success of each organization.

'The Chamber is positioned to give leadership to environmental sustainability. Member companies should take advantage of this position. Additionally, although participating companies could not all be winners, competing for such awards was pursuit of excellence which gave rise to a keen sense of direction which augured well for progress.'

Country Representative, International Union for Conservation of Nature Dr. Ananda Mallawatantri also spoke.

Aitken Spence was judged the Most Outstanding Company, winning the overall award.

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