INDUSTRY CLASSIFICATION, INDUSTRY AUTHORITY, AND INDUSTRY POLICY DEVELOPMENT
Posted on July 13th, 2020

BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

In the 1980s, I attempted to develop industry averages in Sri Lanka, and the purpose of my effort was to support credit policy development, which needed to successful credit management in a government bank, where I had been working. When I was talking about industry averages, bank executives, and the government authority had no clear understanding of it, and the unpleasant environment of the country at that time, and in the bank where I was working, I left the country. Recently, I read a statement issued by the governor of Central Bank, which was an issue related to the financial system of Sri Lanka. The statement of the Central Bank governor confirmed that Sri Lanka needs working lots for the development of many industries, services, and business for sustainable growth.

The concept of the industry has broadly expanded in Sri Lanka during the past several decades, and I observed that many issues related to the various industry are being discussed in news media, and such problems seem to be continued in the country without proper solutions.  When I was talking about the concept of industry standards with a higher level director of the Ministry of Industry, he admitted that my point was vital, but top people in the country have no understanding about the concept of the industry, the executive personnel of the ministry had an excellent understanding of my idea, and the executives of the Industrial Development Board and the Central Bank did not concern about the concept of the industry because they were self-centred, and they did not want to work on the idea I presented.

When the world has been rapidly transforming to the dynamic environment I noticed that Sri Lanka has relegated to higher risk in business activities, and I wrote to the president of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Chandrika Kumaranatunga was holding the office on this complication of industry concept and how it could be used to attract foreign investments to the country.  The operation of various parts of the financial system had a negative implication to Sri Lanka’s economy and policy personnel did not concern on the matter.

Colombo Stock Exchange also rapidly expanded at the beginning of the 21st century and the concept of the industry was valuable to attract and promote investments in the CSE, and to attract the confidence of international investors.  I mentioned this point in the letter addressed to the president. I saw in news reports some crooks were playing dishonest games in the Colombo Stock Exchange

I read a public statement of a person that Colombo Stock Market is an adorable place that supported him to purchase a piece of land from Colombo 7. Many people became rich short selling and misleading people.  Investors had difficulties to estimate investment returns of various industry and individual firms within an industry as averages of the industry with firms were not available in the country.   

 The lack of knowledge of industry classification, role of the industry authority, weak industry policy development negatively impacted the development and opportunities of CSE.  Nobody can underestimate the Asian crisis in the late 1990s and impact made on Asian currencies and stocks. Indonesia is still in the same mud pond without overcoming fundamental issues.

In this background, Sri Lanka needs an industry authority, which prepares industry average, industry regulation, and plays an ombudsman role. If it takes the financial system of Sri Lanka sub-system or markets such as insurance, non-bank finance companies, leasing institutions, Superannuation organizations, hire purchase companies and others are operating in the system.  The Central Bank of Sri Lanka cannot regulate the broader system and develop industry averages.         

The industry authority needs to perform a regulatory role and they need to meet quarterly and discuss issues.  The Central Bank of Sri Lanka cannot perform all activities and need to delegate the powers to sub-industry authorities and supervise the roles of industry authorities.

Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the president of Sri Lanka must order his advisors to perform this role.  If this work successfully effective in the country nearly one hundred graduates could be provided good jobs and there cannot be graduate unemployment in the country.

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