(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Government is ready to take revolutionary policy decisions to develop the country’s information technology sector, non-Cabinet Minister of Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Ajith P. Perera said yesterday.
He made this observation while officiating at the launch of the periodical publication ‘Smart Sri Lanka’ held at the ANCL premises yesterday. ‘Smart Sri Lanka’ is jointly published by the Digital Infrastructure and Information Technology Ministry and the ANCL (Lake House) in order to publicize the development activities conducted by the Ministry.
Minister Ajith P. Perera stressed the importance of having a banking system specified for entrepreneurial development or an entrepreneurial development fund which is similar to the Tourism Development Fund in order to make information technology a major income generator for the country.
The Minister further stressed the importance of protecting individuals and organisations in cyber space from computer hacking while increasing the security and resilience of critical information infrastructure and networks.
The Data Protection Bill and Cyber Security Bill are scheduled to be presented in Parliament in the near future, he said. “Sri Lanka will be introducing new legislation to protect individuals and organizations in cyber space from computer hacking while increasing the security and resilience of critical information infrastructure and networks,” he said.
“Sri Lankan software engineers have succeeded in providing software solutions to world-renowned institutions. There are around 40,000 informal entrepreneurs in the country at present and a majority of them are willing to become formal entrepreneurs by contributing more to the national economy if the government is ready to fulfill their basic requirements,” Minister Perera said.
“Though there are entrepreneurial development programmes such as Enterprise Sri Lanka that have been introduced, these online entrepreneurs would not be benefited under those programmes since the ordinary banks have no capacity to valuate these online businesses.” the Minister noted.
Ministry Secretary D.C.Dissanayake said that over 80,000 employees are currently engaged in the formal IT industry while 40,000 to 50,000 persons work in the informal IT sector as free-lancers. “IT is the fifth largest export earner for Sri Lanka in 2018 and is currently estimated to be worth USD 1.2 billion. We expect to earn USD 5 billion from this industry while creating 200,000 new jobs by 2020,” Dissanayake said.
ANCL Chairman and Managing Director Krishantha Cooray, General Manager Abhaya Amaradasa, Managing Editor – Government Relations, Samantha Karunasekara, Editor in Chief Daily News Lalith Allahakkoon, and Editor in Chief Dinamina Pushpa Rowel participated.