Business tycoon at Exporters’ forum: Politics has corrupted all of us | Sunday Observer

Business tycoon at Exporters’ forum: Politics has corrupted all of us

Harry Jayawardena
Harry Jayawardena

Stassens Group Chairman and business tycoon Harry Jayawardena blamed the current political system for the rampant corruption in the country, which adversely impacts the business environment, particularly for local businesses, during a forum in Colombo this week.

“The problem in this country is politics. Politics has corrupted all of us, including myself. There is no policy; no discipline and no rule of law,” he said at the Export Vision 2030 Forum organised by the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE), in Colombo, on Tuesday.

Jayawardena said that as a businessman, he had become a victim of policy changes and the lack of rule of law in the country.

“Democracy is very good but every five years we have different policies and the position of the goal posts changes. Today, the government owes me over Rs. 20 billion. If it was another man, he would have gone bankrupt by now,” Jayawardena added.

He pointed out that settling legal disputes via the current judicial system has become a nightmare for businesses.

The forum held on the theme ‘Focusing on the future of the country’ highlighted the issues faced by exporters and discussed the changes necessary to meet the Export Vision 2030 target.

“We have to go back and learn from history - the mistakes we have made; where did we go for 70 years. We gained independence in the 40s. There was a great leader during that time – D.S. Senanayake – who had a vision for agriculture. I think he was right. First you have to read your people before you talk anything else. The problem in the country right now is politics. Politics has corrupted all of us including myself.

“Look at our dairy industry. We spend billions of dollars to import milk powder and milk products and then the government imported cows spending more money and they are all sick cows. This is where we go wrong. We have everything here – what are we doing?,” he queried, adding that it was not necessary to bring everything from abroad.

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