Friday, January 8, 2016

Gamani Corea Foundation – An idea on how to spend their wealth!

In order to give reference to History, Gamani Corea’s grandmother was Alice Atygalle, the eldest of the three Atygalle sisters, who, inherited a fortune each from their father. Gamani’s mother Freda therefore as brother to both Sir John and Justin Kotelawala, too inherited considerable wealth.

Of the Atygalle sisters, the other, Leena married Col TG Jayawardene, and Ellen married FR Senanayake, giving both those families a good wad of assets.

Gamani Corea died not having married and left his estate to a Foundation, for the basic purpose of assisting economists and economic thinking in Sri Lanka.

The Foundation effectively has assets worth approximately Rs4Billion, mainly in Horton Lodge on Horton Place, a house on Gregory’s Road, a House in Nuwera Eliya, and an apartment in Geneva and sundry other assets. So effectively the value of the Horton Place and Gregory’s Road house are rising daily to the tune of a minimum of Rs1M per day, which at present is higher than what the Foundation would earn if they sell the assets today, and put the money on deposit in Treasuries.

Frankly the Trustees, all rather elderly types, who are quite conservative, and concerned that they keep the value of the Foundation intact, are NOT spending sufficient amount of the assets, which they must if Gamani’s wishes are to be fulfilled.

My recommendation is for the Foundation to pledge one of the Houses, even the Nuwera Eliya property worth about Rs50M, and take a loan, which when discounted over ten years will be Rs50M then, and use this money immediately for causes he eschewed instead of doing the odd Lecture such as was the case on Thursday Last at the BMICH by Dr. Harsha Aturupane on “Enriching and Accelerating Higher Education Development in Sri Lanka.”

You can only accelerate the development of top Economists in Higher Education by giving scholarships of a minimum of Rs1M to the best Economics Students to spend time on Research into practical topics that will make a much needed boost to the Economic Thinking in Sri Lanka which has stalled still at the starting gate, and NO MOMENTUM to go ahead!

To start with an immediate grant of Rs1M each to 50 promising students of Economics, and appoint a prominent Economist to tutor, mentor them paying that person Rs4Lakhs a month to do so, and report to the Trustees monthly on progress! At least this is a start, get up from your snoozing chairs and do it!!

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