We represent the product, services, and startup companies of the ICT ecosystem in Sri Lanka. This community is a free and an independent group of industry leaders who deeply value our civil liberties. Sri Lanka’s digital economy represents approximately 4.37% of GDP and this is positioned to grow exponentially in the coming years. We represent the present and future businesses of this country and a growing ecosystem with the potential to attract foreign exchange.
As a community, we are gravely concerned by the declaration of the state of emergency by his Excellency the President on the night of April 1st, 2022. Our community is of the view that the declaration of state of emergency is not the solution to the present social economic situation. We believe that the right approach is in fact to open a dialogue between the political leadership and the country’s constituents.
Over the past few months our nation has faced extreme difficulties including the lack of power, fuel and basic imports necessary to sustain our lives and livelihoods. But more than facing these hardships, most of this community finds it difficult to defend and justify to its stakeholders that Sri Lanka is a safe environment to build innovative businesses, products and provide continued services at global standards. The current situation sends dangerous signals and in fact many of our community have had to start looking outside of Sri Lanka for the continued delivery of their products and services. The economic impact created by the current situation further compounds the challenges faced by our early-stage companies and will prevent necessary investment and risk capital to come into the country. We beseech the government to repeal the State of Emergency as this is causing more uncertainty amongst our stakeholders.
This ecosystem has developed itself mostly on its own, relying on the support of each other on the values of freedom of expression and collaboration. Hence this ecosystem is firmly committed to protecting people’s basic civil liberties which includes the freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.
This community for its part is committed to protecting the rights of its constituents and the basic civil liberties we expect of a democratic nation state. We believe that the decisions that affect the country need to be participatory and collaborative with our industry.
What we require from you immediately:
- Ensure stability in governance and fiscal management of inflation to provide overall confidence to the ICT community.
- Improve decision making by the government to provide the minimum power required for the continuity of our industry and introduce incentives immediately for solar and other renewable energy solutions.
- Provide access for startups and small businesses to the minimum dollars required to pay for essential services not available locally.
- Remove emergency, curfew, and suppression of citizens’ rights to peacefully protest and or express displeasure of what they are experiencing as severe hardships.
- Refrain from blocking access to the internet and all social media sites during states of emergencies that completely deny business for startups who rely on accessing their customers, suppliers and/or produce through these channels.
- We require transparency and accountability at all levels of government.