Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa attended the CXO Lunch Briefing of the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) held  this morning (20thMarch 2013).
The session was conducted under the theme "Future Outlook for Urban Infrastructure Development in Sri Lanka", at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo.
SLASSCOM is the Sri Lankan IT-BPO Industry Chamber that acts as the catalyst of growth for the Sri Lankan IT and BPO industry by facilitating trade and business, propagation of education and employment, encouragement of research and innovation, and by supporting the creation of a progressive national policy framework. Sri Lanka is emerging as a global IT-BPO destination and is ranked among the Top 50 Global outsourcing destinations by AT Kearney and ranked among Top 20 Emerging Cities by Global Services Magazine.
The country offers a rapidly growing niche workforce which is low cost, highly adaptable, English speaking and loyal. Currently, over 50,000 are employed in the IT and BPO industry in Colombo and the workforce is growing at over 20% year-on-year.
Addressing the gathering Secretary Defence said that as Sri Lanka is now one of the most stable and peaceful countries in the world and there should be a concerted effort to make up for the lost opportunities and rapid development of the country.
The IT and BPO sectors are two of the main sectors in which Sri Lanka has tremendous potential and the industry bodies and private entities have a very important role to play in facilitating the growth of the industry he stressed.
Further speaking he said that most of the software engineers and other professionals locally trained and so are the entrepreneurs who created opportunities for them to build strong careers in this field.
The Government is engaged in a large-scale development drive to create a positive environment for businesses and urban development is one of the vital areas in this regard, he noted. By creating a better conducive work environment for the professionals and their families Sri Lanka will be able to draw in even more foreign and local investment, attract more tourists and encourage more expatriates to return to the country he elaborated.
The Metro Colombo Urban Development Project is a five-year long undertaking which addresses several issues that have long affected the city’s sustainable growth over many decades he added. The Green Growth Programme is carried out to protect the low lying marshy areas in the metro region, enhance its biodiversity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus improve the eco-friendly nature of the city he revealed.
The development of public open spaces is another important aspect in the improvement of urban spaces and so is the restoration and rehabilitation of heritage buildings. The regional development programmes including those of the North and East have already produced impressive results the Secretary revealed.
Summing up his speech he said that these developments have created many opportunities for growth in Sri Lanka and it is imperative that the business community work hard for these opportunities to be fully utilized. He requested all Sri Lankans to unite and strive to unlock the country’s true economic potential and also expressed confidence in Sri Lanka being successful in its endeavors.
The Secretary also took part in a question and answer session and responded to queries raised by the participants.
The Salary Survey Report of the SLASSCOM was presented to Secretary Defence by Sujiva Dewaraja, Chairman of the SLASSCOM during the occasion. He also presented a token of appreciation to the Secretary in recognition of his dedicated services.
A large number of SLASSCOM office bearers, members, industry experts and company representatives were present at the occasion.
Source : Ministry of Defence and Urban  Development