EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF BIDS -Procurement for Supply, Delivery and Installation of Computer Hardware & Accessories for Piloting Preventive Care Strengthening Project – ICTA/GOSL/GOODS/NCB/2017/28

3rd Extension – Invitation of Bids

2ND Extension – Invitation of Bids

Extension – Invitation for Bids


Bidding Document

Published in Daily News on December 06, 2017 and December 08, 2017

Pre bid meeting-  1400 hrs (2.00 p.m) – December 21, 2017

This is to notify that the Deadline for Submission of Bids has been extended up to 1500 hours on February 16, 2018.

Bid Validity  – May 17, 2018

Bid Security – June 16 , 2018

e-Swabhimani 2017

Group Photo

The e-Swabhimani Awards 2017 was held on 30th November at the Hotel Galadari, Grand Ballroom with much pageantry recognising the nation’s digital social innovators.

Organised by The ICT Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), the apex ICT Institution together with the Ministry of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, the e-Swabhimani Awards 2017 honoured outstanding digital social innovators who have impacted society using digital technologies.

The colourful gala event was graced by Hon Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and a distinguished gathering including senior government officials, industry leaders, private sector, digital entrepreneurs and the media.
Chitranganie Mubarak, Chairperson, ICTA Sri Lanka welcomed the gathering in her opening remarks, while Hon. Harin Fernando made the keynote address.

Established as the most prestigious national event in the industry, the e-Swabhimani Awards were presented to those who made a definite high social impact, providing solutions towards the real needs of local communities using digital technologies. 43 nominees were recognized as winners, merit awardees or received certificates of appreciation. This year’s event, organised for the seventh consecutive year and it was really impressive to see that it has attracted more than 200 submissions.

‘e-Swabhimani’ a symbol of excellence but also serves as a stepping stone to the World Summit Award (WSA), a global initiative implemented within the framework of the United Nations’ World Summit on Information Society (WSIS). The award recipients were selected by the e-Swabhimani Grand Jury which comprised of eminent experts drawn from various fields. The Grand jury of e-Swabhimani 2017 selected 20 winners, 15 Merit awards and 8 Certificates of Appreciation in nine categories including Government and Citizen Engagement, Health and Well-being, Learning and Education, Environment and Green Energy, Culture and Tourism, Smart Settlement and Urbanization, Business and Commerce, Inclusion and Empowerment and Digital Entertainment. Of the 20 winners, the Jury has selected 8 winners, one per category to the World Summit Awards as ICTA is the National Expert for WSA from Sri Lanka.

Impressively the 2017 World Summit Award saw six of Sri Lanka’s eight nominations making it to the final round. Sri Lanka was second only to Germany which had seven entries. Out of the six nominations, 3 products which are chargeNET, Sciocardio and Yathra were been selected for final voting round and out of that, chargeNET from chargeNET (Pvt) Ltd which is a subsidiary of Codegen (Pvt) Ltd has become a winner under the category Smart Settlement and Urbanization.



EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF BIDS -Procurement of IT Equipment, Software and Accessories for Sri Lanka CERT – ICTA/GOSL/GOODS/NCB/SLCERT/2017/10



Bidding Document

Published in Daily News on December 04, 2017 and December 07, 2017

Pre bid meeting-  1400 hrs (2.00 p.m) – December 15, 2017

Extension Paper Advertisement – Published in the Daily News on January 04, 2018.

This is to notify that the Deadline for Submission of Bids has been extended up to 1500 hours on January 17, 2018.

Bid Validity  – April 17, 2018.

EXTENSION OF DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION OF EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST – Obtain services of a consultancy firm to develop Employee Trust Fund (ETF) core system. – ICTA/SG2/GOSL/CON/QCBS/2017/008

Extension of Deadline


Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference Annex 05

REOI Submission Form

Published in Daily News on December 02, 2017

Extension Paper Advertisement – Published in the Daily News on December 20, 2017

This is to notify that the Deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest has been extended up to 1500 hours on December 28, 2017.

Norway to support business growth through digitization

NorwayIKT Norge CEO Heidi Austin and ICTA Senior Consultant Indika de Soyza

Norway expressed their keenness to develop and collaborate on start ups and entrepreneurship in the ICT industry focusing on access to capital, expertise, market access and global growth.

IKT Norge CEO Heidi Austin said in addition, competency and education will also be considered as an important part of the corporation and especially in higher education, vocational ICT education, and programming for children including exporting the Learn Kids Codes model.

These remarks were expressed at a business forum held last week, themed, ‘How digitization can improve your business’, organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM) and ICT Norway under the auspices of the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

She said, it is important to look at how technology can be used for better learning and how to make business better with the use of technology.

In early June 2016, ICT-Norway was on official travel to Sri Lanka where the cooperation between countries also manifested through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), she said.
Norway 1
Austin said, together with their sister organisation in Sri Lanka, SLASSCOM, they have now started a partnership which they believe may be a pilot for future business cooperation between Norway and other countries.

She noted, in 2009, Sri Lanka’s ICT industry was there at just over US $ 200 million. By 2016, seven years after, the country is now approaching US $ 1 billion and up to 75,000 employees.

As a good match is seen to be between the two countries in the ICT sector, Norwegian Ambassador Thorbjorn Gaustadsaether said that he hopes to see more businesses happening between the two countries.

“ICT is not just programming, coding but also creating opportunities for businesses to be more efficient, be it shipping or public service,” he said.

SLASSCOM Chairman Ruwindhu Peiris said that as Sri Lanka has seen a tremendous growth over the last 10 years in the ICT sector, both the countries coming together would have an impact on the opportunities that are already available.

He stressed, it is important to look at some of these big areas with impact and to collectively come together to disrupt some of the value chains by combining forces of both the countries.

He asserted the importance of creating IT value added products.

“You are sitting in the middle of lot of industrials (Norwegians), vertical expertise, it could be oil or other industry. Unfortunately, that’s not what in Sri Lanka invested, which is absolutely needed to disrupt and create value products.

However, we got smart people including the Diaspora, who are genius in whatever,” he said.

Meanwhile, talking about how Sri Lanka is shaping up to be relevant to a digital economy, ICTA Senior Consultant Indika De Soyza said while digitizing the financial sector they are in the process of digitizing the education system where they have already taken up several initiatives.It includes, making ICT a compulsory subject in schools, providing high speed internet, and introducing coding system. He said, every school will have an innovation centre and smart books will be introduced as well.

They have already set up 800 school ICT societies which is to be expanded up to 3,000 next year.They have plans to digitize the manufacturing and the agricultural sectors as well.

“We will be looking at all angles and getting international expertise. We are studying state-of-the-art facilities, how to get education system aligned,” he said.

Hospitals too will be digitized including the medical supply division. He added, digitization reduces the expenditure which is currently happening in millions.

He said, they will be connecting 3,000 government offices with high speed broad brand. Municipal Councils will be digitized too where already 40 municipal councils been completed.

Further sharing the initiatives that will be taken up to gear up Sri Lanka towards digitization and to get over the bottle necks that are prevailing, Soyza said that they will be introducing a called ‘social circle’ to educate the rural community on how to use technology and how it will change their lives.

“For example, we have people selling bricks in Ampara using the Face Book,” he said.

However, Peiris said the biggest obstacle towards digitization is changing the mind set of people.

He said that locals are still stuck with doing degrees for four years whereas embracing online education is very low.

New e-commerce laws major boost to Sri Lankan trade and commerce

The Electronic Transactions Amendment Bill was approved by the Sri Lankan parliament on Monday, providing a major boost to commerce, business and trade in the digital era.

It was presented to Parliament by the Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure. The Digital Infrastructure Ministry took the lead initiative with ICT Agency (ICTA) to prepare this latest amendment.

“The new amendment harmonises the Sri Lankan Electronic Transactions Legislation fully in line with the UN Electronic Communication Convention (UN ECC), the international standard for e-Commerce legislation. Sri Lanka became the first country in South Asia and second country in Asia (after Singapore) to adopt UN ECC’,” said Jayantha Fernando, Director/ Legal Advisor of ICTA in a media statement.

Sri Lanka ratified the UN ECC in July 2015 and ICTA took the lead initiative in close collaboration with UNCITRAL and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Besides Singapore, countries in Asia-Pacific such as China, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam are already preparing domestic legislation to ratify the UN ECC, while Republic of Korea and Philippines are signatories to UN ECC. The newly approved amendment will greatly improve Sri Lanka’s ability to trade with these countries using digital platforms.

In addition to enhancing the methods of doing trade, commerce and business, the new amendment will also help improve procedures and promote efficiency and transparency in service delivery by Government and the courts in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Fernando said the amendment will ensure greater legal certainty for e-commerce and e-business providers who wish to use Sri Lankan law as the applicable law and ensure international validity for electronic contracts. This will create greater trading opportunities for Sri Lankan SME’s with state parties to UN ECC. In addition, it would also bring clarity and predictability to the legal value of the use of electronic communication in cross-border trade with other Contracting States.

He also noted that the amendment will also ensure legal validity for other international legal instruments as well as cross border funds transfers, including enforceability of Foreign Arbitration Awards, enhancing the ability of Sri Lanka to fast track its move towards paperless trade facilitation through a single window platform. In future arbitration awards can be enforced in paperless form with ratification of UN ECC, creating an opportunity for Sri Lanka to be a hub for electronic commerce and business dispute resolutions and arbitrations.

The new legislation will improve trust and confidence and legal certainty for all types of business transactions using electronic means, thus improving competitiveness and ability to do business with greater efficiency.

Mr. Fernando said Sri Lanka also has an advanced inter-bank payment and settlement system facilitating immediate bank to bank transfers carried out in a secure manner using electronic signatures. This is supplemented by two mobile payment licensed operators (Dialog’s “Ez-cash” and Mobitel’s M-cash), who facilitate mobile commerce and peer-to peer payment options (persons-to-person transactions). Recently the Central Bank of Sri Lanka formulated a mechanism for e-Commerce payment providers to use multiple payment options for e-Commerce/ Business transactions, within the current regulatory framework (eg:- recent approval for “Pay-Here”). These payment options can be used to enhance trade, commerce and business using the new Electronic Transactions Amendment.

Section 8 of the Electronic Transaction Act has facilitated many state electronic transactions and helped improve efficiency (eg: eVisa at Department of Immigration and Emigration, e-Revenue Licenses at Department of Motor Traffic, payment of rates and taxes online at Municipal Councils, etc).

The new amendment will strengthen the existing provisions to move government transaction to the digital era, through the use of stronger and more secure electronic based authentication methods for all categories of Government transactions, including electronic tax filings, e-procurement and other revenue based transactions. These transformations could be done by formulating regulations under the Electronic Transactions Act, based on the cross cutting provisions in the new amendment.

He said the amendment will also facilitate the use of biometrics based authentication technologies to ensure effectiveness of digital certificates and other forms Digital IDs. The new definition of “Electronic Signatures” in the amending law is broad and futuristic enough to cover all new forms of authentication methods in the digital era. The amendment also provides a liberalised regime for the use of Electronic Signatures and a governance framework to ensure inter-operability between authentication technologies.

Another unique feature of the amendment is that it facilitates electronic filing of any application, petition, plaint, answer, written submission or any other document in any court. This would enhance the ability to adopt e-filing in original courts, which are not governed by Supreme Court and Appellate procedure rules.

Source : www.sundaytimes.lk

ICTA clarifies on National Payment Platform


In today’s digital world, the public perform a variety of tasks using their smart phones, tablets, and computers. Digital commerce is becoming more and more engaging globally, as it provides the convenience to services delivery.

Traditionally a person would need to go to the location where the service is to be provided or obtained. In order to make an appointment or reserve a resource or to place an order you would have to visit the physical location. In most cases this would need to happen prior to the delivery of the service. You may even need to visit the location multiple times. Quite apart from the hassle, the associated economic waste is significant – cost of transport, of public infrastructure, of the time wasted, all adds up. The reason why e-commerce has not really taken off in Sri Lanka is primarily because the Country lacks the infrastructure to perform such functions online.

A Payment Platform is an essential piece of infrastructure for e-commerce to flourish in a digital economy where buyers interact with sellers online. It gives consumers, businesses and government departments a platform to make fast, versatile and data-rich requests for payments to meet the evolving needs of a 24/7 digital economy. It is a platform that securely delivers the payment request message to respective banks real-time, allowing banks at their discretion to clear and settle simple or complex payment solutions between two people or many. It can simplify payments, as well as offers the ability to include more information with payments, such as text or links to externally hosted documents.

The National Payment Platform (NPP) has been the subject of much discussion and controversy in recent times, much of this arising from the lack of understanding amongst the general public with its very name creating many misconceptions. NPP is a project that will revolutionise the online commerce world and bring about greater convenience to application developers and the public. It is a platform that will enable any person to be able to send a payment request message from the respective apps they intend to use, to their financial institutions i.e. banks, to make payments to specific merchants they obtain the service from.

In an attempt to clarify the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding the NPP, Chairperson ICTA, Chitranganie Mubarak elaborated on the workings of the NPP and the benefits to the Sri Lankan public. “Essentially NPP is a platform that is capable of sending secured messages – be it for day to day tasks like settling utility bills or for transferring funds for purchase of goods and services, sending goods refunds, for billing, invoicing – the whole gamut of e commerce functions. The NPP will facilitate the Government to offer citizen services and businesses both big and small to engage in digital commerce.”

In 2010, ICTA launched the Lanka Government Payment Service (LGPS) facilitating credit card and mobile payments for government services. In 2015 the ICTA enhanced the concept of LGPS to NPP and went onto validate the new concept and architecture through discussions with banks and Lanka Clear Ltd. Eight meetings were held with the participation of 26 banks, with the Central Bank participating in six key meetings. The ICTA also signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Lanka Clear Ltd. towards forming a possible partnership.

In the same year, the Central Bank invited ICTA to demonstrate NPP and discuss security considerations with Bank CIOs, technical experts from Lanka Clear and senior officials from the CBSL. Further developments of the NPP project were subsequently assigned to 99X Technologies via a public tender after the particular project was tabled in Parliament through the annual budget in 2016/17. TechCERT carried out an independent information security audit of NPP while KPMG formulated the governance risk and compliance framework for NPP.

Citizen Interface service providers were engaged for end to end testing of NPP in the first phase but ICTA has not signed any legal agreement or MOU with any of these entities. NPP when fully functional will be a Platform open to any eligible service provider to connect his service(s). It will facilitate a digital ecosystem in which citizens from all walks of life can participate; an essential prerequisite for inclusive growth and adoption. Be it a curious university student, a startup, or a conglomerate, literally anybody could build a digital payment application.

NPP can be a boon to small businesses who presently have no recourse to accepting payments online other than costly payment gateways operated by the banking system. NPP does not get involved in debiting and crediting the accounts at banks, its scope is only to securely hand over the message to the core banking system which is implemented by the banks.

On the request of the Central Bank, ICTA has submitted a comprehensive report including its process flow, system requirement specifications, system design documentation and other technical information as well as information pertaining to Governance and security assessments.

Overall NPP is a world-class concept and design, which is being implemented in the interest of all stakeholders and the public at large. Ultimately it will eradicate enormous economic waste and bring about greater economic trade, lower transaction cost, and bring greater convenience to the public. ICTA envisages that in the not too distant future both small-scale entrepreneurs and low-income households in our country will benefit from digital solutions which will enable them to grow their businesses and make fast and cost effective financial transactions as envisioned by the Government.

Source : www.ft.lk

Tablets for all Grama Niladharies

Upgraded Lanka Government Network 2.0 launched

LGN Launch

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe launching the upgraded Lanka Government Network 2.0, which is to network 860 government institutes with digital facilities. Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando looks on. Picture by Rukm

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said that all Grama Niladhari officers will be provided with tablet computers and other digital equipment to execute their responsibilities completing the digitised administrative system in the country.

Accordingly, 14,000 tablets will be provided to Grama Niladhari officers as a part of the newly launched upgraded Lanka Government Network 2.0, which is to network 860 government institutes with digital facilities to execute their responsibilities.

The launching ceremony was held yesterday at the BMICH under the patronage of PM Ranil Wickremesinghe. PM Wickremesinghe said that it is crucial that we implement this project accurately and methodically in the next three or four years. “This is a great leap for a country like us. Most European countries have this system. Sri Lanka too needs to reach this position,”he said.

Speaking on two hospitals which were digitized as an initiative of this project, the PM said that they have generated outstanding results. The digitized Dompe and Mahawa hospitals have recorded a cost cut of Rs. 3 million after their digitisation programme, it was said.

He also said that Sri Lanka should be digitised at all levels including economic, education and administrative sectors to become a successful competitor in the global market.

Premier Wickremesinghe,while pointing out Sri Lanka is to fund a colossal amount of debt in the coming two years, stated that, adding value to human resources and labour through digitization is a timely measure to support such economic challenges.

“We must accelerate our economic growth and increase our export industry. For that we need to approach the global market. The global economy has become extremely competitive due to digital technology. Sri Lanka must reap the benefits of digitisation from using it to enhance our human resources. Digitised human resources will increase our competitiveness in the global market,” PM Wickremesinghe observed.

“Keeping in line with this LGN project, we will give tablets to all Advanced Level students in the country as well. That means, within these two years we have provided five hundred thousand tablets. Why do we do this? We do this to equip our country with latest technology and modernize it,” PM Wickremesinghe also pointed out.

PM Wickremesinghe also commended several Sri Lankan private companies for excelling in digitized economy and becoming global competitors in provided services such as designing and rubber industry.

The upgraded Lanka Government Network 2.0 is a part of the national policy of “Digitisation of Economy”, powered by Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure and Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA). Sri Lanka Telecom acts as the total communication service provider and communication infrastructure provider for the project. As a part of this project, 860 government institutes will be digitalised and networked by the end of 2017.

Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Minister Harin Fernando, Deputy Minister Tharanath Basnayake, SLT Group Chairman P.G. Kumarasinghe Sirisena, Telecommunication Secretary Ministry, Wasantha Deshapriya participated in the event as well.

Source : www.dailynews.lk

Export Development Board holds seminar on ‘Digital Doors to Trade’




The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) organized a half-day seminar on “Digital Doors to Trade” for Sri Lankan exporters to create an awareness on Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) digital trade platforms.

The Seminar was held on 29th August, at the EDB auditorium with the participation more than
125 people.

The objectives of this seminar was to create  awareness among exporters and SMEs on e-business, how Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) online platforms could support business activities,  New IT technologies to rapidly bridge the digital divide and maintain and improve the export competitiveness of Sri Lankan exports through digital trade.

This seminar also covered areas of National Digital Industry Outlook, Developing Entrepreneurship skills to overcome Digital Trade, Social Media for B2B Marketing and Digital Marketing B2B Business on Alibaba.com.

Chairperson of EDB said that they EDB have a massive task for time to achieve US$20 billion exports by 2020. Furthermore she said that this seminar is of utmost importance as the public and private sector should work hand in hand to build the digital economy in Sri Lanka.

ICT Agency of Sri Lanka Senior Consultant Indika De Zoysa, University of Sri Jayewardenepura Management Studies and Commerce Faculty Entrepreneurship Department Lecturer G.M.C.J.B. Gajanayaka, e-beyonds (Pvt.) Ltd Vice President Kapila Vithanage, and Country Agent Alibaba.com Karpos Managing Director Ayanthi Gurusinghe made presentations.

Source : www.dailymirror.lk

Moving towards a digital future: 5 things the private sector should consider


The growth of knowledge-based societies which encompass highly-educated individuals empowered to drive innovation have been witnessed globally. Private sector companies need to gear themselves to cater to the demands of these digitally-empowered citizens. Shenali De Silva (Research Associate, Economic Intelligence Unit) discussed with Sachindra Samararatne, Program Manager at the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) and member of the Chamber’s National Agenda Committee on Innovation, to understand what is in store for Sri Lanka and how the private sector could play a more active role in achieving this goal of becoming digitally inclusive

By Shenali De Silva

1. Private sector collaboration is essential, ICTA is willing to support companies

ICTA plans to organise forums by linking up with chambers to communicate with private sector companies to discuss and advise on strategies and methods of easing the transition into digital businesses. ICTA also plans to provide support forums where companies can meet with industry leaders to understand how they can transform, contribute and grow through digitalisation. The restructuring of strategy and infrastructure for the apparel, shipping, retail and manufacturing sectors in particular will prove necessary to becoming a digital economy.

“We want to engage with the private sector (when I say private sector, I mean; apparel, shipping, retail, manufacturing, and all those industries) by helping them to link up with the companies that have achieved digitalisation successfully.”

Meanwhile, the rapidly changing dynamic of digitalisation will require private sector companies to be heavily invested in R&D to ensure that they are at the top of their game – be it product, service or process. ICTA is greatly encouraging of cross-industry collaboration to foster R&D and innovation.

“Partnering with different industries to contribute to new outputs and processes, will lead to innovation and digitalisation, thus delivering to digital customer needs, for example: The IT industry partnering with agriculture industry, every activity that gets digitalised will be an innovation.”

2. Collaboration with start-ups can contribute to organisational growth in the digital economy

Start-up businesses are a key growth mechanism for private sector businesses. This is because start-up companies have the resources and ideas to bring about innovation that a traditional private sector company may not have access to.

“Sometimes companies don’t have resources in house to bring about innovation, but the start-up can, and that’s the model that is globally being practiced, they can work with a start-up and decide whether they want to invest in them and make them part of the company.”

ICTA is willing to work with companies that are open to supporting start-ups, and developing a policy and an action plan for a ‘start-up eco system’ is among the future plans for ICTA. It is currently in its research phase explains Sachindra. Entrepreneurship learning, is an essential element for driving innovation, and is the pre-requisite to getting involved in a start-up culture. However, it is not incorporated into the Sri Lankan culture claims Sachindra. He explains that, a change in mind set is necessary, and it must come from the parents, elders and education. This shift in cultural dynamics will take time and will come with a lot of resistance.

3. Private sector assistance is essential to building a knowledge-based workforce

Sachindra noted that the private sector has an important role to play by providing internship opportunities for students and providing training programs for employees, geared towards creating a digital economy. Meanwhile, companies need to consider the aspect of job roles with the advancement of technology in the work place. Training programs focused on improving an individual’s skills and knowledge, coupled with on-the-job training opportunities, will help employees move up the value chain to areas where human involvement is necessary.

“To avoid friction of job loss; individuals must be developed to; take on different job roles, to move up the value chain, or supported to help becoming an entrepreneur in that particular workplace. The education system plays an essential role by producing a creative knowledge based work force.”

Private sector companies are encouraged to provide internship opportunities with an effective training plan; to support potential employees by building skill sets necessary for the organisation. This will contribute to a digitally-savvy workforce.

4. Large-scale digitisation projects will create opportunities for private public partnerships

With the introduction of technology such as ‘Google Loon’ and Initiatives like ‘Free Wi-Fi’ for all, which are on-going projects of GoSL; cost effective, quality infrastructure and efficient service providers will be required from the private sector.

“The plan is to provide connectivity and access to all of society. This will take place where the funding will come through the GoSL and service providers will be supplied by the private sector. The ICTA is working on an on-going model, with private sector telecommunication companies, including projects like; ‘Google-loon’ to ‘free Wi-Fi accesses’.”

Projects such as the Lanka Government Network 2.0, which has already been awarded to Sri Lanka Telecom, will also provide last mile connectivity to houses and businesses all over the island. GoSL also looks to increase international connectivity by setting up a data hub for the region. This would require private sector service providers to get involved in setting up of infrastructure.

“Currently Sri Lanka has links to five to six submarine cables, however if Sri Lanka is to become a hub for a data embassy, it will need servers to be built and data from other countries to be stored means about 15 cables will need to come into the island. These are future plans which will require private sector participation.”
5. Private sector companies must help drive the digital movement in rural communities

When it comes to reaching out to societies; language associated with technology becomes a barrier, hence it is our responsibility as individuals and organisations driving this digital movement to ensure that the message goes out in Sinhala and Tamil as well, says Sachindra.

He also emphasises that the focus must not only be on major cities, but island wide. There are many points of access in the private sector to reach out to the communities across the country including, the banking sector, telecommunications and regional chamber networks.

ICTA initiatives like the Smart Social Circle Initiative, takes place in semi-urban and rural areas, by incorporating digital into their daily activities. Sachindra advocated for the private sector to reach out more to rural communities and spread the message of digital through workshops, seminars, and community projects.

“ICTA integrates with small Government units regionally, called the ‘gramaniladhari kottashaya’ (village-officer divisions). They identify a few key individuals who are influential in these social circles (Police, Nurses, Businessmen), and work with them on using digital to engage with GoSL and to promote businesses and communicate societal grievances to GoSL.”

A ‘1 million devices’ (tablets) initiative was also created with the goal of empowering rural villages and schools to incorporate digital in to their daily activities, through the use of devices. Private sector companies can even take the initiative of empowering other rural societies through initiatives like those mentioned above.

According to Sachindra, “In the next two years, all organisations will have to plan to become ‘digitally enabled’. We find this at various forums, where the CIOs who are in government and all types of industries are open to thought leadership on becoming digital businesses. Sri Lanka needs to take on this approach.”

Private sector companies and other organisations will need to gear-up for the new wave of digitalisation, which may ease business activities. Private-Public Partnerships are highly encouraged in this scenario as this support system can ease transition into a digital economy, and will advocate the drive towards digital for society as a whole.The National Agenda

(‘The National Agenda’ is the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce’s knowledge platform featuring insights from members of its National Agenda Committees on Infrastructure, Energy, Logistics and Transport, Innovation, and Finance and Capital. Visit nationalagendacommittees.wordpress.com.)

Source : www.ft.lk