Sri Lanka IT industry group call for education, exchange controls on foreign firms

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) has called for more graduates to fill vacancies, liberalization of the fintech landscape and exchange controls on foreign players in the country.

Global companies are hiding behind a Western thought process that “globalisation is free for all and digital colonisation is a God given right” FITIS said.

Graduate Demand

The demand for IT graduates are much higher than the 10,000 graduates that the higher education system can produce, FITIS said, asking for measures to boost them to 50,000 a year.

An IT graduate can earn a average medium income of 250 US dollar a month and those with more knowledge and experience can earn around 500 dollar month, FITIS said.

FITIS complained that large foreign IT firms are given tax breaks not available to local ones.

“Another important step is to change policy on taxation so that level playing fields are created for our local digital economy so that foreign digital players operating in the country do not have unfair advantages,” the grouping said.

God Given Digital Colonization

FITIS also wanted exchange controls on foreign firms, which were was engaging in digital colonization as a “God given right”

“There are large international digital players operating in the local market without paying any taxes because regulators have failed to bring in policies that would prevent these players from taking our foreign currency out of the country,” the statement said.

“Although the Central Bank has admitted that a level playing field is necessary, nothing has been done since their report in 2019.

“Meanwhile these global companies hide behind the western thought process that globalisation is free for all and digital colonisation is a God given right of those who have the might to do it.

“We need to look to our neighbours like India and Bangladesh who have taken steps to prevent this from happening,” FITIS said without elaborating the exact controls.

FinTech

Sri Lanka also needs better policy space for fintech, the grouping said.

“Although FinTech is now a global phenomenon, for providing financial benefits not only to the elite but also to the bottom of the pyramid, Sri Lanka is not in a position to cash in on the technology’s full advantages, because once again we lack the policy framework to make it happen,” FITIS said.

“Fintechs are invaluable for managing money through digital payments allowing the convenience of cashless transactions.

“Online payments also save time, as business owners and customers no longer have to queue up for ATM services. Payment apps help to keep track of incoming and outgoing funds, which comes in handy while filing returns.” (Colombo/Nov23/2022)

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