Sri Lanka Creates New Human Resources Policy

Filed under: International,News,Workforce Planning |

Still healing following the 2009 defeat of  the secessionist Tamil Tigers rebels after three decades of conflict, Sri Lanka’s leadership is trying to unite the nation with public works projects, notably roads, and new policies that offer the promise of increased economic development.

Almost as if orchestrated, three signs of Sri Lanka’s potential turnaround appeared on Monday, 28 Nov. 2011.

The first of the these signs was validation from an outside source, in this case an article published in the Bangkok Post. The Post reports that foreign visitors have returned to the beaches and historic sites, pointing out the The New York Times put Sri Lanka first on a list of places to visit in 2010. Business delegations from the US, India, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have visited Sri Kank’s capital, Colombo.

The Asian Development Bank is upbeat about Sri Lanka’s growth, the Post reports. The ADB is expects Sri Lanka to have the second highest economic growth in Asia with 8% for 2011-12 due to robust exports and tourism.

“Sri Lanka’s economic growth accelerated in the second quarter on higher investment and as the central bank avoided the interest-rate increases that have contributed to a slowdown elsewhere in Asia,” Samantha Amerasinghe, a Colombo-based economist at Standard Chartered Plc.told the Bangkock Post. “Sri Lanka’s economy is reaping the benefits of peace.”

The second sign came in an announcement on the government’s official news site about the development of a comprehensive plan to improve quality the nation’s workforce.

From the Sri Lanka Department of Government Information website:

D.E.W. Gunasekera

D.E.W. Gunasekera

The government is to introduce a policy on human resources development. Senior Minister for Human Resources, D.E.W. Gunasekera said the policy document is currently being finalized and it will be presented to the Cabinet by the end of the year.

He said the policy is expected to help develop the country’s human resources, which could also be a great foreign exchange earner for the country.

The Minister said that a group of 25 persons including intellectuals, officials representing the business chambers, trade unions and Ministries have met for the last six months to prepare the HR Policy for the country, and data had even been collected from areas outside Colombo including Jaffna when formulating the document.

He said the policy document will cover several key areas like education, higher education, vocational training, labor, foreign employment,sports, productivity and the public sector, and it would guide the government in building the country as a hub for human resources.

Sri Lanka expressway

Sri Lanka expressway

And then there was a more flashy, sign that was literally concrete. The same day the human resources development plan was announced,  first toll expressway in Sri Lanka, the E-01 Colombo-Matara Expressway, opened to traffic. Financed by Japan, the road is just the first phase of three major highway projects that will eventually link the country by road.

From the official website:

The 96-kilometre (60-mile) four-lane road cost $700 million this new route will reduce congestion on the main coastal highway – the Galle Road- to Galle. Sri Lanka borrowed $178 million from the ADB and sought $317 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency to finance the project. Japanese peace envoy to Sri Lanka Yashushi Akashi and the vice president of the ADB were also present on the occasion of this opening ceremony.

The President noted that roads reducing travel time between areas could act as a catalyst for closer links between communities, people and added that this would spur unity and prevent any division within the country.

Another story proudly reports that the expressway has “48 under-passes, 12 overhead-passes and 18 major bridges, including the longest bridge in Sri Lanka, 180 meters in long and 18 meters in wide over the Bentara River.” The story also noted that the new road will have an immediate effect on government employment. At least 500 police officiers in addition to firefighters, paramedics, maintenance workers and toll collectors are being deployed to work on the new expressway, according to


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