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Poor focus for Lanka’s R&D

Professors idling says top entrepreneur :

Sri Lanka’s research and development sector (R&D) is one of the lowest in the world, Nature’s Secrets Managing Director Samantha Kumarasinghe said.

Speaking at the seminar on ‘Truth untold by war heroes’ at the Hilton yesterday he said that R&D in Sri Lanka is 01.7% of the GDP.

”I think poor countries like Ethiopia do more R&D than Sri Lanka,” he said.


Dialog Telekom Group CEO Dr Hans Wijayasuriya, Laugfs Gas Chairman W.K.Wegapitiya,Access Chairman Sumal Perera and
Nature’s Secrets Managing Director Samantha Kumarasinghe at the Forum. Picture by Sumanachandra Ariyawansa

He added that in Korea this stood at 3.5% of GDP and it has helped the overall economy.

He said local universities have very valuable equipment needed for R&D but they do not make maximum use of it. “Sometimes they say that they don’t have funds or donations or grants to go ahead,” he said.

Kumarasinghe who is exporting Nature’s Secrets Cosmetic products to the world market said his company invests five percent annually on research and development.

”This has helped the company to move with new trends in the stock market,” he said.

He said that he was very sad to see professors just idling when company’s are forced to ‘buy’ research.

He said that these professors should go to the rural areas and start ventures using their knowledge with ‘mudalalies’ who can then turnaround to be industrialists.

Kumarasinghe said that if they were overseas these professors will certainly share their skills with foreign companies and work for them for a lucrative salary.

Kumarasinghe lashed out at the Board of Investment (BOI) and said Foreign Direct Investment figures published by them do not correspond with the real investments “These figures are fake,” he accused.

He said a company cannot only prosper with foreign direct investments and local entrepreneurs too should be encouraged.

”Sri Lanka should encourage FDI’s which brings in new technology in areas such as drilling for oil and other technical related investments,” he said.

Commenting on Nature’s Secrets future plans he said that they are not keen to be a listed company.

”However we will seriously look at being a listed company in three years time” he said.

He said Sri Lanka is yet to take advantage of its natural resources which could yield high results.

The Sri Lankan biodiversity is not fully exploited by the tourism sector while its herbal plants and traditional medical concept (Hela Weda) is not marketed internationally.

The event was organized by the Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs and was chaired by Dialog Telekom Group CEO Dr Hans Wijayasuriya.

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