Dhammika’s Ministry split into two

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The number of State entities allocated to newly-appointed Minister of Technology and Investment Promotion, Dhammika Perera, has been reduced to eight from the earlier 15 institutions.

Accordingly, he would now oversee the Board of Investment, Colombo Port City Economic Commission, Techno Park Development Company Pvt Ltd, Colombo Lotus Tower Management Company Pvt Ltd, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Projects related to Colombo Port City, and Information Technology Parks.

This is mainly due to the Ministry of Technology and Investment Promotion being separated by way of an Extraordinary Gazette published Monday (27). Accordingly, the Ministry now operate as two separate entities; the Ministry of Technology and the Ministry of Investment Promotion, with effect from 24 June.

Initially, Minister Perera was given 15 institutions including the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka and Allied Institutions.

The institutions that were taken away from the new Minister are, Information and Communication Technology Agency and Allied Institutions, Sri Lanka Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Sri Lanka Telecom and its Subsidiaries and Allied Institution, Industrial Technology Institute, Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology Pvt Ltd, Sri Lanka Standards Institute, Sri Lanka Institute of Biotechnology Pvt Ltd.

In an interview with a private TV channel on 27 June, Minister Perera said that he heads the Colombo Lotus Tower Management Company and has some suggestions to put an IT park in the area that was initially designated for a massive shopping complex.

He said, “There is a shopping complex at the bottom of the Lotus Tower with 45,000 square feet meant for a shopping arcade.” However he added that he does not know if the area is going to be a shopping complex but suggested that it can be used as an IT park with an innovation centre to be used by young professionals as a co-working space for some hours and that he could reserve some area for that purpose.

He said he has not executed that plan but he has that idea. “I will discuss with the authorities about the Lotus Tower project and see the possibilities.” He said he does not know who is in charge of the Lotus Tower.

On the Port City, Minister Perera stated that there is much work to be done in terms of Nation Branding and other activities at the Port City. “Those activities should be listed and completed one at a time. Without branding the country and attending to all implementations, it is impossible to promote the Port City. There is no nation branding, so how do you give Port City leadership? There are three different ethnicities in the country, and there is also a sector that criticises the country. Others are good at giving advice, but there are only two or three people who can truly work. Those two to three who work cannot rebuild or brand the country. “Something is ‘upsetting’ in this country”. That ‘upset’ is the cause for all the grievances the people are facing,” he added.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan