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Nur Aisha Abd. Wahab


Daily FT



Dr. Harsha suggests way to champion palm oil industry issues
Daily FT (27/08/2019) - Non-Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday suggested the battered palm oil industry to create a multi-stakeholder committee and have an open dialogue to iron out the issues.

Participating as the Chief Guest at the inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Palm Oil Industry Association (POIA), Dr. de Silva pointed out that important industry issues of this magnitude cannot be resolved in isolation.

“A lot of what happens in our bureaucracy is we are in different silos. My suggestion is that you create a multi-stakeholder committee of sorts and sit openly. Questions on taxes, regulation, licensing authorities, and quality control cannot be answered in isolation,” he stressed.

While the industry said they have had zero discussions with the universities, the Plantation Industry Ministry, Central Environmental Authority (CEA) and Treasury, the Minister pointed out that it also reflects zero success in their efforts to resolve the issues they are grappling with.

“If you tried zero times, your success rate is also zero. How are you going to relive your wicked problem in silos? There could be factual errors on both sides,” he said. Noting that every problem has a solution, Dr. de Silva said the best way is to show by action. “The way to go about is evidence. Unless you are able to scientifically and economically present the evidence to the people, your point will not be accepted. Evidence must be provided, it is something about our society,” he added.

Dr. de Silva also pledged to offer a platform for the palm oil industry to start the much needed multi-stakeholder dialogue at national level. “I will offer a platform if you so wish. We can take it either under public distribution or cost of living for you to start the dialogue,” he said.

Minister de Silva cited 1990 Suwaseriya as one of the recent examples where people highly criticised his decision, but proven today as a great service to all walks of life and considered a success story in the public service initiatives.

Read more at http://www.ft.lk/front-page/Dr-Harsha-suggests-way-to-champion-palm-oil-industry-issues/44-684666