The tasks and challenges for Sri Lankan Diaspora -For the future of Sri Lankan Economy…
Posted on October 7th, 2009

JayanthaWeerasekera Sri Lankan Community Group “”…” Australia

I feel the Sri Lankan expatriate’s contribution to the Sri Lankan economy can come in many ways. The expatriates living outside Sri Lanka watch all the critical moves on internet because they miss the motherland so much. Having spoken to, many Sri Lankan’s living in Australia I carry the view that many of them want to help Sri Lanka through their expertise and looks for opportunity. Currently with the limited source of information available, without much reliability they wonder round how this could be done. These investors/expertise can be really tapped as an untapped resource body in the development activities of Sri Lanka. In this sense the Sri Lanka Diaspora could now be more effectively directed as a resource body in identifying and helping those who want to be part of the development; working with the Government of Sri Lanka..

 Small scale projects

Develop an interest among expatriate Sri Lankan’s in different countries to invest in small scale enterprises. Those interested could support the existing small scale business projects or a new project. The opportunities available should be marketed inviting investors world over where ever the Sri Lankan expatriate communities are living. An opportunity driven campaign could drive this with a properly constructed WEB attached to the foreign missions linked with the Ministry of planned implementation. There are many Sri Lankan’s and other well-wishers from different nationalities who are retiring form long years of expat jobs looking for investment opportunities to keep them occupied for the rest of their life. No one had looked at these probable investors seriously. They need reliable information and a dependable organisation to guide them; of opportunities available and attract their interest. The excess of dollar savings on Foreign Service could attract many with a drive to invest part of the savings in productive businesses. Shouldn’t the government of Sri Lanka be interested on these untapped resources? This can be done with the support and interest of the investment bankers. See the short term employment that could be generated through these investments. The Sri Lankan foreign missions in different counties’ can carry this opportunity driven campaign to attract these investors by identifying small scale opportunities available in various parts of the country.

 Medium  & Large scale projects

 The Sri Lankan Diaspora’s major contribution to the Sri Lankan economy could be extended far beyond this. The Sri Lankan foreign missions can provide leadership in formulating business development modals (forums) with interested Sri Lankan expatriates. The modal can carry different expertise and it can act as an intermediary investment advisory body attracting foreign investors to medium and large scale projects. These Business development forums can do a more effective campaign on investments. They could attract many joint venture or investors looking for stable economies to invest. They can carry out business promotional forums backed by government opportunity driven campaigns to attract investments. This is the ideal time to look for opportunities and   link the large scale investors with existing businesses or business opportunities in Sri Lanka.

 This could justify the value of Sri Lankan foreign missions, which had been criticised for non-effective tax payer funded entities which do not bring effective returns to the Sri Lankan economy. Promote at least two to five investments per year could be an effective achievable target without much sweat on a value added campaign.

 With a level of literacy in Sri Lanka what we lack are the opportunities. The three decade terror that ruined our economy is no more. Very few countries have this safe environment. Not even in China or India. Why waste time. This is the best time attract these investments.

 Concept of One product One Village

 This concept is driven to maximise the economic advantages of each village in Sri Lanka and turn the resources of the village into a business opportunity. It is important that the decision makers do not think traditionally but think of value added products that could be sold in the export market.

 In Thailand the concept is driven well.  Sri Lankan expatriates’ business forums backed by the foreign missions can obtain the assistance of the Sri Lankan government and tap the excessive/underutilised resources of different villages to create an export market or look for an investor to turn the resource to a marketable product. They can hold exhibitions /investor forums supported by the government of Sri Lanka. A canned natural fruit drink could be a good example.

 Why only look at traditional exports .Why not harness the opportunities with our strengths in different villages. Where is the Sri Lankan Export Development Board? These statutory bodies should work together with the Sri Lankan missions in different countries to generate investment opportunities. The exhibitions on traditional export products organised by Sri Lanka Export Development Board has been a high waste of tax payer funds. They have attracted only limited investments. Take the statistics of the last five years to analyse the investments brought by these exporter forums and do a cost benefit analysis, the department will warrant a closure. It is such a white elephant.

 The foreign missions should come forward and invite the expatriate Sri Lankans to join in economic forums in support of this task. The expat Sri Lankans are ready: Tap them “¦.It is not costing a cent to the tax payer funds.


 Work closely with the Sri Lankan Tourist Board and organise package deals in tourism with exhibitions ,presentations and advertising done in different countries and cities where the Sri Lankan Diaspora is strong and interested. The Sri Lankan Diaspora can work closely with the commercial secretaries and Sri Lankan Foreign missions in getting the advertising support from the government of Sri Lanka. Use the negotiation strengths for better package deals with hoteliers’ air lines, transporters.

 Supply of Skill tradesmen to the developed economies.

 This is a very strong area where the Sri Lankan Diaspora can work with the tertiary education units in Sri Lanka by linking up with such bodies in developed counties. For example TAFE Australia. This skill trade recognition will create employment within the country and will support self employment. Sri Lanka Diaspora can be the intermediary with it’s academic expertise in such negotiations.

 Building up foreign exchange resources in the country

 Work closely with the Central bank and treasury in creating government treasury bonds and bills where the expatriate Sri Lankan s can invest giving confidence of long term stability and guaranteed attractive returns on investments. This will lower the dependability with financial dependency from developed world. Sri Lankan Diaspora can lobby this with the Government of Sri Lanka.

 Policy body for Expatriate contribution.

 I recall HE President of Sri Lanka Mr Mahinda Rajapaksha was once having an idea of formulating a separate Ministry in getting the Sri Lankan expertise working in foreign countries to contribute to the Sri Lankan economy. Establishing a separate Ministry will give more clout and away from the established bureaucracy. This is a good area to lobby.

 Strengths of Expatriate Sri Lankan Business forums

 The advantage of such Business forums would be the professional clout to negotiate with large scale business organisations and give the investor confidence. The Sri Lankan Business forum can formulate links with the BOI, EDB Bankers, Investment Bankers and the Government of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Diaspora has the awareness about the pulses of each country and will give more confidence to an International business organisation and counter any adverse effects.

 Apart from the financial expertise we have the academics, engineers, environmentalists, marketeers, scientists and tour operators, many successful business operators “¦”¦. This is a much of a consolidated structure to conduct an investors forum in any foreign country. The opportunities and strengths are many.

 The Sri Lankan government should take steps to tap these resource bodies of expatriate Sri Lankans to help in its drive in rebuilding the nation. The foreign missions should invite those intellectuals to be part of the investor forums for a successful campaign.

 Energetic Visionaries to lead the foreign Missions.

The Sri Lankan foreign missions had been an absolute scammers and a waste of tax payer funds, What was their contribution to eradicate and counter the anti Sri Lankan campaigns in different strong holds of sympathisers to terrorists. How much of investments the commercial arms of these foreign missions have brought in.

Let not the Sri Lankan foreign missions be gifts to those unsuccessful politicians or their relations or the stooges but a resource body driven by capable people who has the drive, knowledge and a vision to generate economic resources to the country and ability to counter all odds against Sri Lanka.


World is looking for stable economies to invest. With political and terrorism free country Sri Lanka could attract many investors. The Sri Lankan Diaspora should have a new vision. We have countered the terrorism. The economic development will make us more stable and bring back the pride we carried in the past. The ethnic harmony is part of development.

 Can the Sri Lankan Diaspora be effectively channelled world over to meet the challenges of development .If this is done we have won the hearts of the people of all ethnic back grounds. Isn’t this a good dialogue to be carried forward – the Sri Lankan Diaspora?

Sri Lankan Community Group “”…” Australia

26th  August 2009

One Response to “The tasks and challenges for Sri Lankan Diaspora -For the future of Sri Lankan Economy…”

  1. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    This is a very interesting article. As you have already mentioned, most of the options referred to in your article are already known to everybody and have had very little impact on upliftment of the overall status of our society. In fact, degeneration of our society and destruction of our land could be the only achievements made by others following such ambitious development initiatives to this day.

    Unfortunately, English have successfully established their way of doing business around the globe in their typical style of pillaging and plundering assets belonging to other communities under the guise of investment opportunities with greater potential returns and through many other grand pyramid schemes including stock market manipulations. In such an environment with recent financial debacle, many of the potential investors are relieved of their life’s’ worth.

    As Sinhala people with many years of migrant background who totally reject English way, we have developed an exclusive system of life essentials management for the native Sinhala community to achieve a life style that goes with their goals of LIFE and LIVING LONGER. Only those who believe in these goals are Sinhala. Our initiatives are developed with world leading knowledge expertise and are in fact extensions of the core Sinhala values that led to the modern society and later hijacked by English, the curse of humanity that brought us very close to the end today.

    Obviously, we are working together with other people who share the same goals. If there are migrants from Sinhala speaking background who are fed up with being part of the imperial human stock born to serve the elite masters and wish to become committed Sinhala people or have left behind relatives in Sinhale’ who need a way to sustain their lives, there are ways and means to integrate with our system. We prefer 100% Sinhala individuals who love interactions with all other ethnic groups around the globe, but at heart, live in Sinhale’ and let their kids grow up with compatriots.

    Instead of desperate and futile attempts to live out of hard labour, bank interest or labour of others, doomed to failure, we offer a system designed to ensure life and longevity, which is the opposite of many experiencing today. We have found interesting historical events that led to our current flight and have the newfound knowledge and skills to reach our goals envisioned by our ancestors. Our people deserve better and that is one reason why many of our Sinhala speaking politicians with a strong migrant background (descendents of those who came looking for greener pastures during our heydays – many others have left for new green lands) have failed to achieve so far. Going behind them and working with English built government system is a nightmare for anyone who has any interest in Sinhale’. I wish that many among you could know why our so-called leaders are looking for the Diaspora to lead them and that we made that to happen with a scenario like giving a razor to a monkey. With such experience, we strongly recommend to rethink your interest in working with the political system in Sinhale’.

    We will be operational by the end of 2010 and have laid down the way to achieve what we desire in our lives though it is not wise to spell out in public at this stage. Any of you who read an English style investment brochure would be alarmed to read the first of the terms and conditions, I mean your money is theirs to manage (or pillage) it. Being Sinhala, we believe the interest of self, immediate family, friends, relatives and community at large are paramount to our living, quite opposite to English way of thinking. As an example, we, Sinhala people do not believe in your wealth in whatever form becoming mine by default or without informed consent, and without affecting to the future of your children. I mean if you fail, they will be my burden too. Your assets are yours as long as you keep them or belong to your descendents. Neither, we encourage enforced grand larceny (you call it tax, levies, charges and so on), or licensed criminal activities (Ten top businesses in Sinhale’ are operated through licensed criminal activities that prohibit others doing the same and hold the natural rights of others as ransom to succeed in business). Sinhala people do not believe in life only when employed, and death and misery when lose it. If you are Sinhala, we believe your life is as precious as mine because you and we make up the Sinhala community and define the future of our children. It may be the most appealing and practical way to live a life when fully detailed. However, you have to become Sinhala first to find out more about our system. Those who curry favours with English way of thinking/living may definitely have difficulties in understand my comments.

    I appreciate your genuine desire to extend your support to the wellbeing of the Sri Lankans (All except Sinhala according to our interpretation). In the mean time, I kindly ask the Sri Lankan migrant community not to become a pawn of your own masters, who are much smarter than you, and who will exploit your ambitions to extend their tentacles around Sinhale’ under various guises. They have done this to many other countries and most recently Challabies of Iraq and Karsais of Afghanistan have done it. I hope we can stop Ranils of expatriate community ever becoming a reality.

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