Friday, November 20, 2015

“The problem with your Politicians is that they are just too arrogant!”

This was just told to me a few minutes ago from a respected foreign investor, who said that either due to some chip on their shoulder, or receiving too much adulation from the public, they are unable to realize the limitation to their knowledge, that everyone has!

They refuse to be introduced into new ideas and training programs. After all one is a student all one’s life, but probably not our Politicians who know it all!

Well funny he told me this, as I think ignorance and the lack of people understanding how ignorant they are is a national trait, and NOT specifically reserved for politicians. They are the most obvious illustrations of the problem, due to their bombastic behavior borne out of habit, and so to someone really in the know, sounds like a complete ass!

In the incident today, I painstakingly showed a person what I wanted done, by even showing how the page should be stapled and which side was right and wrong! Surprise surprise despite all that effort he got the whole thing back to front and he is not dyslexic. At least he was humble enough to admit the error and corrected it next time, and I hope he does not repeat this error in a somewhat repetitive task that was given him.

I think humility is the trait we all must show, and that should NOT seem as a weak sign, However any in Sri Lanka assume that it is a sign of weakness, and to counter that perception, replace it with arrogance. Very un Buddhist.

In Sri Lanka’s context when we are seeking foreign investment, we must be clear what we want, and why, and why we believe that the Investor will be best to come to Sri Lanka to invest, when he has the whole world to choose from.

It is that latter fact that we fail to understand. When someone has the choice of many Countries, the reason to choose Sri Lanka must be very persuasive to make the cut. The factors in that are many, and include many issues like Good Governance, I have referred to earlier. We believe it is favorable tax rates, and I am one to note that it is way down the line of reasons.

I have come across just too many investors who have had their fingers burnt by dishonest local partners, that I am hesitant to recommend going into partnership with most of them, as their credibility is questionable. If our top business leaders have that moniker attached to them, who can I send them to?

In a budget aimed at FDIs we must answer these questions satisfactorily first!

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