Lankan professionals can help country overcome crisis - Engineer | Sunday Observer

Lankan professionals can help country overcome crisis - Engineer

23 January, 2022
Shiromal Fernando
Shiromal Fernando

Trust and reliance on Sri Lanka’s expertise and professionalism will help put the country back on a sound footing to become a developed country, said Civil and Structural Engineering Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, Managing Director and a leading structural engineer, Shiromal Fernando.

He said it is high time the country stops relying on foreign expertise and services to develop the economy and learns to depend on the enormous skilled and talented workforce that could drive growth of key sectors of the economy.

The only solution to the current economic crisis is the change of attitude and values from being over-dependent on foreign assistance for everything rather than reposing faith in the country›s professionals, Fernando said, adding that foremost everyone must love the country and give it priority. “We should depend on our professionals in the agriculture, manufacturing, construction and health and education sector to  name a few which could be the drivers of growth.

“We should believe in our technologies before adapting others and develop materials/machineries rather than importing them. Being a developing country with limited technological resources, adapting our own technologies will help increase the use of our own resources, such as manpower and materials, Fernando said adding that it would lead to the development of new technologies and reduce imports that drains out the valuable foreign exchange from the country,” he said.

Given the country›s position, attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for export-oriented sectors could be a feasible alternative. The Port City project is a key attraction for foreign direct investments if the government offers a long term attractive FDI package to investors.

Sri Lanka has the potential to be great again. It is up to the engineers/policymakers to take the initiative and think out of the box to find solutions to the current economic crisis, Fernando said. Sri Lankan has a proud history over 3,000 years of giving great technologies and constructions to the world. As a country we were ahead of the rest of the world. We were the first to build earth-dams, chaityas, and irrigation systems.

Throughout history, we have faced many challenges and yet has always proved our resilience. Sri Lanka is a beautiful island with abundant natural resources, placed in a strategic location in the world map with well-educated population.

Despite gaining independence in 1948, Sri Lanka still relies on foreign alliances for over 74 years due to the lack of self-belief and self-reliance.

Every crisis such as the Easter Sunday attacks and pandemic are not mere obstructions but opportunities that test us our strength on self-reliance, Fernando said, adding that the current foreign exchange shortage is  exerting  pressure on the exchange rate.