Red tape and bureaucracy hamper progress - Eran | Sunday Observer

Red tape and bureaucracy hamper progress - Eran

Sri Lanka needs specialist skills to grow faster and employ more people to gain socio economic development in the long run, a senior government minister said.

Finance State Minister Eran Wickramaratne said that the government will cut red tape in issuing visas to fill critical skills gaps and this is a welcome development as it will help Sri Lankan businesses grow faster, win bigger contracts and employ more people.

“Though, we have performed below standard in the ease of doing business index, the country needs to fast track the current process of entering in to contracts and securing skilled workers to enable accelerated growth.

Red tape and bureaucracy are two key factors that hamper the progress of the country,” he said.

Shortages are apparent in several sectors as Sri Lanka’s labour market, with unemployment falling to 4.4 percent in 2016 from 6.5 percent in 2006.

Tourism, agriculture and construction sectors are among those complaining.

The leisure sector not only needs well-trained workers until domestic training catches up but also specialists with Chinese language and cooking skills to cater to a sudden influx of tourists from China.

Firms in the information technology and business process outsourcing (IT/BPO) sector also find it difficult to get specialist workers in particular.

“The bottom line is that we do not have sufficient skilled workers for several key sectors of the economy and training them will take a long time.

Therefore, filling the gaps in the employment requirement is a hugechallenge and the government is taking measures to facilitate foreignworkers until the local employees are ready to take the jobs that are available at present,” he said.

Sri Lanka has dropped one place in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index despite some key reforms, the bank’s latest ranking showed.

“Over the past year Sri Lanka made progress in two reform areas that are covered by the Doing Business Report, namely Starting a Business and Protecting Minority Investors,” a statement said.

“The improvements, while important, were not enough to stop a decline in the country’s overall rank from 109 in 2016 to 110 in 2017,” it said.