President Ranil Wickremesinghe has emphasized the paramount significance of digital transformation in securing Sri Lanka’s economic prosperity.
Drawing from his extensive background in information technology, dating back to the 1980s, President Wickremesinghe stressed that embracing IT is no longer a choice but a necessity.
In the upcoming budget speech scheduled for next month, he said the initial phases of this reinvigorated economic vision will be delineated and will introduce legislation to facilitate this transition.
Addressing the National ICT Awards NBQSA 2023, President Wickremesinghe outlined a comprehensive vision for Sri Lanka’s digital future, centred on competitiveness, green transformation and digital transformation.
He acknowledged that this journey is not devoid of challenges and necessitates not only favourable laws and regulations but also substantial investment in digital infrastructure and human capital development.
Reflecting on his earlier efforts as the Minister of Education to introduce IT in Sri Lanka, the President acknowledged the missed opportunities and economic setbacks resulting from underutilizing the global IT wave. However, he underlined that it is time to move beyond past failures, with the present representing Sri Lanka’s final opportunity to partake in the digital revolution.
President Wickremesinghe encouraged collaborative efforts between the private sector and the government to foster IT human capital across all levels, from postgraduates to skilled workers, recognizing that government initiatives alone may prove inadequate.
President Wickremesinghe emphasized the need for a well-defined roadmap and adequate funding to materialize this digital transformation. He also noted the potential requirement for foreign investments to expedite the process, given the rapid pace of technological advancements.
President Wickremesinghe called on the ICT industry to accept the challenge, drawing parallels with the transformative journey undertaken by the apparel industry in the past. He expressed optimism regarding the industry’s potential and underscored the urgency of advancing Sri Lanka’s progression towards a digital future.