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SL’s economy must be run just like the elections - Page 2

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SL’s economy must be run just like the elections
Best Brains
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Winning at any cost
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Best Brains

A first key feature of the last elections was that competition was so entrenched that there was no room for a back of the envelop strategy to be implemented. Hence, many politicians hired professional marketers and advertising agencies to conceptualize and implement the campaign. The manner in which the campaign rolled out on media and how hit the masses, demonstrated the professionalism which is commendable. Scientific techniques were also used by some candidates to evaluate the effectiveness of the communication with concepts like awareness and top of the mind awareness (TOM) so that voter behaviour can be tracked and corrective action taken if need be.

What is now required is for the similar behaviour to be extended by the same policy makers in running of the economy. The best brains must be picked for strategy development from each sector so that the most relevant game plan can be orchestrated. The National Council For Economic Development (NCED) was a very good model that existed in the country at one time. Policy making and evaluation was done by the top six private sector and public sector officials under the mandate of the Presidential Secretariat. A similar model can be used so that a ‘home grown developmental model’ will come into play. This is some times called a ‘National Committee on Economic development in some countries.

The private sector must also respect that being politically right is also very important, in today’s day and age. As history has proved in South Asia a developmental model based only on an economic developmental agenda has resulted in the government getting kicked out. It happened in Sri Lanka in 2004 and in Indian in 2006. Hence we must be sensitive that in our part of the world, community development is equally important together to be practiced with a very more urban approach. Hence if this balance is not maintained in Sri Lanka, we will loose the opportunity to grow even after winning a record 144 seats in the new parliament.

Strong game plan

Going back to the best practices in the last elections, we saw that the candidates that had a sharp strategy came through well at the elections. We need to extend same in the economic development agenda too. This requires discipline and the ability of focusing on a few key priorities that will generate the best results.

For example if we take the tourism sector as a case in point, the focus should be how do we build more hotel rooms in the country, given that the room current capacity even at a 100% occupancy can attract only a 760,000 visitors into the country.

If this single-minded strategy of developing tourism infrastructure is pursued, then all it requires is to flesh out the components that fit under this strategy like approvals from different stakeholders such as wild life, archeology, and environment.

We also require a competitive financing model for the private sector to use he credit structure of the banking system. If this is not conceptualized and launched we will be up against the project being not be financially viable..

If I take the tea industry as a case in point, we need to address the supply chain issues in the industry like re-planting, fertilizer applications, lease period of the privatized tea sector to be extended whilst from a demand side, driving home the unique positioning of Ozone friendly ethically manufactured tea proposition are some of the strategies that can be pursued. This needs to be supported by a multi barrel dollar marketing budget if we are serious of the development of this noble industry. Currently the pivotal promotions agency for tea- the Sri Lanka Tea Board is on survival mode to be very specific with responsibility.


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