Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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Renowned SL business leader urges the Govt to leapfrog into  digital age

A renowned Sri lankan business leader and successful private sector professional Ajit Gunewardene says e-government is the need of the hour to successfully achieve people’s call for greater transparency, efficiency and productivity.

 He also stressed the urgency of leapfrogging into the digital age as an opportunity for Sri Lanka to overcome the present economic crisis. 

PickMe Chairman Ajit Gunewardene is urging the Government to prioritise an integrated digital backbone for the country if to successfully achieve the people’s call for greater transparency, efficiency and productivity.

“E-government is the need of the hour. Over the years these solutions have been tripped up due to various self-interests, corruption, and lack of knowledge,” Gunewardene said in the Chairman’s Review in PickMe’s Annual Report for FY22.

“From the ID card to the land registry to customs to vehicle registrations to driving licenses and IRD an integrated digital solution will create a level of transparency and productivity that will add percentage points to GDP for years to come,” he emphasised. 

“All of this linked to Right to Information will support the call to eliminate corruption in politics and business. It will bring more people into the tax net. It will provide the impetus required to boost the economy,” Gunewardene stressed. 

To illustrate this point, PickMe Chairman highlighted the need for a secure digital land registry system which will help to democratise property ownership and unlock land capital. The traditional land registration is a slow and laborious process, involves many intermediaries, and has maximum chances of fraudulent and fake land transfer. 

The land is also commonly used to store funds received through corrupt transactions. Once digitised, Gunewardene explains, Blockchain is a perfect domain for the land transfer process. The ability to securely transfer land ownership using blockchain technology, without involving any intermediaries significantly enhances efficiency and reduces costs. 

He argued that this releases what is now an underutilised capital asset to become an efficient financial asset. “Most importantly in the current context transparency of asset ownership is established,” he added. 

Gunewardene also stressed that leapfrogging into the digital age is an opportunity for Sri Lanka. 

“Employment generation, modernization, efficiency and productivity will be exponential. This in fact can be the panacea for all that ails Sri Lanka. This should be the call of the nation,” added top blue chip John Keells Holdings former Deputy Chairman Gunewardene.

Commenting on the performance of the company, Gunewardene said as the only Sri Lankan digital business of scale, PickMe now touches over four million customers. “We truly understand what digitisation means to the economy. Utilising our platform is cost-efficient and increases productivity manifold. We also provide an inflation-adjusted earnings stream to our partners,” he said.

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