Pay taxes and be winners in Lankan industry
By Quintus Perera
The country director of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), made an interesting suggestion last week, saying that every contestant in a competition to pick winners from a Sri Lankan industry should also prove they are good tax payers.

“That should be one of the criteria in selecting a winner,” Alexandrio Pio said at the Annual Awards Ceremony 2005 of the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI), held in Colombo. He said an effective tax collection could reduce budget deficits that have become a critical aspect of the economy and the ADB is working with the government to achieve this (efficient collection).

He said that a recent survey conducted by the ADB and the World Bank showed that inaccessibility to cheap power, lack of good roads, inadequate infrastructure and inaccessibility to funds were some of the reasons that restricted industrial growth in Sri Lanka. Pio said that they are working to improve the situation through its involvement in the major infrastructure and road development projects in the country. Ceylon Biscuits Ltd won the gold award, becoming the overall winner in the large level National Category while Kelani Cables Ltd, and Silicone Coatings (Pvt) Ltd were the joint winners of the Silver Awards in the same level National Category.

Carol Baker, Resident Director, USAID Sri Lanka speaking as Chief Guest said the awards not only recognized excellence but also served to show the innovativeness of the companies.

She said the public-private sector partnership was essential to the economy of the country and USAID has been working with the private sector to increase the competitiveness of industries. Baker said that Sri Lanka needs to exercise change and through the culture of change to innovation.

She said that the private sector should absorb youth with such skills as language and problem solving and office culture and called upon CNCI to work with the government to train the youth to the required standards of skills.

Nimal Perera, President, CNCI said that Sri Lanka has been in the same situation like recently developed countries like Malaysia, but the difference is that the leaders of other countries have focused their attention on industrialization while in this country there were petty political agendas. He said that such leaders should be present at important events like this awards ceremony to encourage and appreciate the industrialists.

The other Gold Award winners are: SAARC Country nominated Ynus Textile Mills, Pakistan; Janata Jute Mills, Bangladesh; Beximco Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Bangladesh and Static Company (Pte) Ltd, Maldives.

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