Rexit or Mrexit, what really matters in Sri Lanka?

We are too slow in our island to manage situations like this and we get trapped?

by Victor Cherubim

( November 6, 2016, London, Sri Lanka Guardian)  It really does or doesn’t matter who we have as our Prime Minister after 14 November 2018 in Sri Lankan politics, but what really matters for us as people of Sri Lanka is to be ready for anything?

I don’t think our businesses have spent enough time nor had the time to really prepare for the consequences of what may happen.

I know and feel that we do not want any outside interference in the constitutional affairs of our country. Yet there have been so many, for reasons of their own and for good of our country, who have come up with what we should do or not do?

There have been a few number of events that have impacted positively or negatively on Sri Lanka affairs since 26 October 2018.

A gamble- a Buyers’ market or a Sellers’ market? 

Almost overnight we see a buyer’s market becoming a seller’s market and a different behaviour is required, but most businesses and managers of business in Sri Lanka have been far too slow to react. So what should we be doing right now to prepare? Well, it all depends on what happens?

We are too slow in our island to manage situations like this and we get trapped?

If we crash out of our constitutional agreement, then there will be a very sharp correction in our economy, and we have to pay for it.

If however, we are complacent and allow things will settle down and do nothing, we also have a very big cost to pay not only in terms of our freedom, but our way of life?

There are the supporters of both factions who have an axe to grind. They will want to mint money out of this crisis.

Let us not allow that to happen as it would weaken Sri Lanka and the people of our land will be the losers.

We have come out of a protracted war on the civil front; we now don’t want to go back another ten years to regain our position.

The second thing businesses need to do is to set aside quality time daily until resolution to “manage the situation”, to steady the market. We see what China is doing after all the US Trade restrictions imposed on its economy. We see what Britain is doing to steady the difficulties of a “No Deal Brexit.” We need to allow free movement of our goods and services to claim our market share. In a buoyant market you can afford to take more of a passing note, but in a tough market there is no substitution for spending time, effort and money to calm the turbulence, to comfort not us, but the world outside, instead of the world trying to comfort us, with their demands.

The Third thing we need to do is to spend more time in working doubly hard in sales progression of our exports, to retrieve any lost tourist sales. In a buoyant market, most sales will go through to completion regardless, but in a downturn, the slightest hitch sends the wrong message overseas. It is essential that our embassies around the world relay the message: “that business is as usual, whether it is RW or MR as Prime Minister,” as we are bound by our constitution, our contracts, and our agreements. We need to get the Commonwealth to support us in this effort. For this we need the incumbent administration to send its most experienced representatives abroad to prove our integrity. It is absolutely essential for our most efficient business executives to rally to the cause of “Sri Lanka first” to monitor on an hourly basis the progress of our everyday activities, on the Stock Exchange, our Currency Exchange, our trade, our exports/imports so that any intervening problems can be reduced and resolved at the earliest stage. The less time we spend on protest marches, and the more we spend our effort on eradicating the jitters, the better for our economy, our people.

It is not the sole duty of our Central bank and our Executive that needs to be vigilant. It is the duty of each Business Executive to ameliorate the situation until resolution.

The Fourth thing that we need to do is to reduce, not increase our prices of our goods and services, our exports abroad. We are a small economy, export and tourist driven economy. We need to steady our market potential, our markets abroad and tighten our belts for the time being at home. We are not the only one to tighten our belts today.

Prepare for the Upturn

It does not matter who is Prime Minister, or who will become the Prime Minister, we must follow the dictum: “The King is dead, long live the King.” The country is not the Prime Minister, it is our constitutionally elected President and Parliament which matters.

The most important thing of all however, is to be ready to take advantage of the upturn when it comes. The turmoil of 26 October 2018 may last for at least one calendar year, but the most important thing that we must be ready and businesses need to be ready to respond to it instantly. Businesses need to be ready to increase their marketing budget, start to value more optimistically and possibly plan now to increase staffing levels in order to increase revenue and market share at the beginning of the upturn.

Spotting the upturn will be particularly challenging this time around because it may be triggered by events outside our control. A long term downturn has to be envisaged and planned for recovery to return.

Whatever happens, it is not the government alone, but businesses which have to be on its toes like a champion boxer ready to respond to the varied and various scenarios.

What does the world think of Sri Lanka? 

The world outside has its own niggles and problems. Any kneejerk reaction is generally short lived, but it is most important for Sri Lanka on its own to find a solution to its problems. We need to fight harder now for the good of the people of our country.

Let us figure out the finance of inaction now, our days are filled with a constant stream of decisions. Most are mundane, but some are so important that they can hardly be left to the world to decide for us.


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