Strategic initiative by BDO and IDF towards a manufacturing economy

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The Industry Development Forum (IDF) was incorporated in 2020 for the purpose of promoting, supporting, and stimulating sustainable and successful business growth. IDF intends to accomplish this by positively affecting the local business environment through providing training, advisory support and excellent networking opportunities. 

Whilst protecting local manufacturing plants and factories IDF also operates as a voice for member firms in advocating on their behalf on policy-related matters with the Government. Further, it assists members in achieving inorganic and organic growth, introducing technology, facilitating research and development, and new innovations that will create a significant impact on the economy of the country. 

In order to achieve its vision of fostering a vibrant and economically sustainable country through innovations in the local industries, IDF Board appointed BDO Partners as its Strategic Implementation Partner. BDO Partners is a global (fifth largest) audit and advisory firm which provides professional services through a large global network. 

Contributing towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals by strengthening local industries to serve as the engine of economic growth is the passion and commitment of BDO Partners. BDO’s purpose of ‘helping people to achieve dreams’ became the ideology in developing the corporate strategy along with strategic activities. This strategic plan will set the right direction and sharpen its focus in order to achieve its vision with defined SMART goals and objectives. 

The last two years have been a challenging time all over the world. Every large economy is struggling to make its way back and so as the giant multinational corporations. Sri Lanka as a developing country took a huge hit by the pandemic and mostly the Small Medium Enterprises and Manufacturing sector affected the most of the country’s economic context. 

During the last two years, the country had to go through three major lockdowns which resulted a drastic economic downfall. Local manufacturers had to encounter unexpected challenges with nationwide lockdowns that forced them to scale down their operations that resulted in negative cash flows.  The industry is further affected due to weakening foreign reserves and imports restrictions in Sri Lanka. 

Despite the overwhelming dominance of services in the Sri Lankan economy, the manufacturing sector continues to punch above its weight. It remains the main driver of the productivity growth needed to spur technological change and innovation, essential for both job creation and well-being. This is being evident in a developing country like Sri Lanka especially making industrialisation a crucial part of efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The launch was held on 29 August and during the virtual meeting, ‘The role of the Industry Development Forum (IDF) and its strategy to develop industries through the forum which represents the manufacturing sector in Sri Lanka’ and ‘How to survive and thrive during a highly volatile market environment’ were discussed by the keynote speakers, IDF Chairman and Tantri Trailers Managing Director Athula Haputanthri and BDO Sri Lanka Managing Partner and People’s Bank of Sri Lanka Chairman Sujeewa Rajapakse respectively.

The collaboration with BDO Sri Lanka brought much-needed insights and knowledge to the forum since the firm has expertise in different industries. Sujeewa Rajapakse who counts over 30 years of experience with exceptional knowledge, brought insights to the forum on steps that local manufacturers should take in order to face this VUCA world, especially with regard to how to manure their operations with changing monetary and fiscal policies in the country.   

The session was attended by IDF Board Members that consists of Athula Haputantri (Chairman), Sampath Mayakaduwa, Kapila Wickremasinghe (Treasurer), Sagara Gunawardana, Dhammika Samarawicrkama, Asiri Gurusinghe, Pubudu Rupasinghe (Secretary), and Madhura De Silva (Partner – Business Advisory) represented BDO Partners during the launch.

The key focus areas of the Strategic Plan are funding support, technology, and new product development, skill development, quality improvements, and accreditations, market development (both local and global), policy advocacy and infrastructure, ESG, and enhancement of cohesiveness. The above-focused areas will be supported by goals and activities that were prioritised based on the needs of the members and the economy.

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