Deloitte South Asia CEO to visit Sri Lanka this month
Proposes a model where selective integration in certain sectors could pave way for effective collaboration Proposes the idea of a unified tourist area involving Sri Lanka, India, and the Maldives
President Ranil Wickremesinghe this week called on Sri Lankan businesses to play an active role in the development of the South Asian region, by expanding their footprint in the economies of regional peers. As efforts are underway to create a major economic center in the South Asia region, particularly in the potential industrialisation of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring regions, the President asserted the need for Sri Lankan businesses to be more involved in the endeavours. Speaking at the YPO ‘Colombo Experience: Rediscover the Pearl’ conference this Saturday (18), he encouraged Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to invest in neighbouring countries, emphasising the country’s role in the development of Bangladesh and the exploration of opportunities in Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, and East and West Africa. Wickremesinghe went on to assert the need for South Asian nations to work together to harness the growing economic power in the region. While acknowledging the individualistic nature of South Asian countries, he proposed a model where selective integration in certain sectors could pave the way for effective collaboration. In the context of tourism, the President proposed the idea of a unified tourist area involving Sri Lanka, India, and the Maldives, expanding the scope to include Nepal. He also stressed plans for a Bay of Bengal cruise area, positioning it as a larger alternative to the Caribbean. During the YPO address, the President unveiled a series of proposals focused on restructuring and modernisation. The key objectives include establishing a competitive economy, embracing digital transformation, energy transition, and fostering a green economy. He emphasised the importance of becoming a regional logistic hub and outlined plans for promoting upmarket tourism, modernising agriculture, and introducing reforms in land ownership. While pointing out the decision to grant freehold rights to farmers holding approximately 2 million acres of land, marking a significant step towards agricultural reform, the President also disclosed plans for large-scale modern agricultural enterprises, combining government and private sector efforts to drive economic growth. Furthermore, the President also highlighted ongoing trade negotiations and agreements, including Sri Lanka’s application to enter the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the pursuit of comprehensive economic partnerships with India and Bangladesh. Wickremesinghe expressed optimism about the region’s economic potential and urged young entrepreneurs to actively contribute to the envisioned regional economy. Deloitte South Asia Chief Executive Officer Romal Shetty is slated to visit Sri Lanka this month. His visit was announced on the day when over 500 professionals were welcomed into the Deloitte network entities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, making it one of the largest combinations in the history of professional services in the South Asia region. Deloitte now has nearly 1,000 professionals and 28 Partners in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. This expansion was also regarded as a strategic move, given the ongoing economic resurgence in Sri Lanka and the nation’s potential for high growth. It signifies Deloitte’s commitment to the region and the ambition to lead in the new era of professional services. Earlier last week, Deloitte had also announced the appointment of Channa Manoharan as its Country Managing Partner and Gerard David as Deputy Country Managing Partner and COO for Sri Lanka and the Maldives. During his visit, Romal will meet some of the most prominent business leaders in the country and other stakeholders. He will also interact with all Deloitte professionals in Sri Lanka and the Maldives in person, through ‘Mics Not Muted’ and outline the vision for their next phase of growth. In his more than two decades of experience, Romal has served global clients on large transformation programmes across more than 40 countries and helped shape their growth strategies, profitability, restructuring, technology and people agenda. In his last role as Presidentconsulting for Deloitte South Asia, he helped the consulting practice grow from 2,000 to over 10,000 people, making it the fastest-growing practice across the Deloitte network. Under the new country leadership, aligned with Romal’s vision for propelling growth, Deloitte will continue to maintain its core competencies in audit, tax and advisory services in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It will also focus on harnessing the transformative potential of technology, thereby offering innovative solutions to its clients in the ever-evolving business landscape. There is a particular focus on domains such as GEN-AI, digital transformation, ESG, Trust, cloud and cybersecurity. The fusion of technology, industry expertise and core competencies promises to deliver to clients an expanded array of services and insights, to address some of the complex issues they face.