State Minister of Technology and Innovation Thilanga Sumathipala stated that scientific expertise would be made use of to steer his Ministry towards transforming Sri Lanka into a technology-based developed nation. He expressed these ideas on the occasion of assumption of office at his Ministry on 2 December with the blessings of the Maha Sangha.
The Minister further elaborated: “In order to attain economic development based on technology and innovation, we will have to invest in higher education and advanced technologies, in place of cheap labour. Internationally renowned scholars of our own have always laid emphasis on the need to invest in technology-related fields so as to ensure future economic development. Therefore, we should not limit ourselves to the traditional exports such as tea, rubber and coconut, but embark on technologically competitive inventions utilising intellectual labour.”
The Minister expressed his intention to work towards the creation of a technology-based society, a prime objective of the Government as envisaged in the policy statement of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, by creating the much-needed platform, a task which would be performed by his Ministry in the future. He also expressed his belief that through the necessary investment for the creation of a developed country based on technology, the city of Colombo could be made the capital of Asia in the not too distant future.
Prof. Sarath Gunapala, an internationally renowned Sri Lankan NASA employee, and Prof. Tissa Vitharana, former Minister of Science and Technology, took part in this event by delivering special lectures, and both expressed their wish to extend unconditional support for the future initiatives of the Ministry of Technology and innovation.
Professor Tissa Vitharana said: “Even though a number of advanced technologies emerged globally in the recent past, we as a country did not grasp them properly. If we are to move from the middle income level that we are placed at present, to a higher income level, we definitely will have to grasp an advanced technology. Technological products of high end technologies are essential to compete in the highly competitive world market. By utilising such technologies, we will be able to add more value to our raw materials. We will be able to overcome this challenge only by utilising high end technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, artificial intelligence, robotics, and mechatronics, while also improving our human resources.”
Professor Sarath Gunapala said: “Countries like Taiwan and South Korea have achieved rapid economic development within a relatively short period of time, through their investment made in human resources, science and technology sectors. This is a great opportunity for Sri Lanka too. If the future role of technology and innovation is properly navigated utilising high end technologies through the intervention of the Ministry of Technology and Innovation, the economy of Sri Lanka could be elevated from its present status of being a developing economy to a developed economy.”
This event was attended by political representatives Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education, Technology and Innovation Anura Dissanayake, former Secretary to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research Chinthaka Lokuhetti, along with scientists, technologists, scholars, artistes and more.