This is the president message extracted from the speech delivered at the AGM held on 30th June 2017 at Galadari Hotel , Colombo
Dear Fellow Printers ,
Let me thank and extend my gratitude to the Immediate Past President Mr. Kumaran and the EXCO team /for the remarkable achievements during the past two years. Thank you , for your hard work and commitment.
I wish to express my profound thanksto the Nomination Committee headed by our eminent Past president Mr. KosalaThilakarathneand our membership for the trust and confidence placed on me, by giving me the opportunity to serve as President of the Sri Lanka Association of Printers. I firmly believe that it is a singular honor to be the President of this great Association.
I also take this opportunity to recognize and appreciate Past President Dinesh Kulatunga for introducing me to the EXCO to function as the Treasurer many years ago,without which I would not be able to stand before you as the President. Since joining the Exco, I served as Treasurer for 4 years, Secretary for one year, 2nd VP & 1st VP for 4 years, counting 9 years consecutively /in the EXCO .
Looking back in time, our Association started in 1956 and 22 Presidents have given their able leadership to this great Association. All of us should be proud of Our association has progressed, developed and grown over the last 61 years .
Our association has a glorious history!! History built with commitment, sacrifice and immense -hard work .. Many people acted on it. They had to work/ day and night with a passion, to do it, to achieve it ! Who are they…? who worked tirelessly , spending business time and family time by dreaming that the Sri Lanka Association of Printers should go from strength to strength. In this journey, each President would have been happy, when events concluded with a grand success ….! They would have been happy when printers gaining benefits such as duty concessions, SLAP opening training institutions, memberships with International associations and placing SLAP on the Global Map, acquiring SLAP’s own land and moving to our own premises, giving opportunities to printers to get their products recognized, etc…
I, together with the entire printing fraternity,salute…….all past presidents for their untiring dedication/ and commitment /for the tremendous platform laid to see the light of the vision. Today, our challenge ahead is very big, but I accept it with great enthusiasm to work for SLAP and the printing fraternity.
When the printing industry is rapidly growing all over the world, it is imperative that We, Sri Lankan printers compete effectively with the rest. To do this-however,we need to follow sound business practices, adopt new technologyand pursue productivity and quality management continuously with a view to gaining the competitive edge in the global market place.
For many business industrial or service sector –printing is needed. Therefore,we must be proud of the printing industry. We have to maintain our technological advancement to move with the trends and plungein to the Global market and stake our claim in the diverse print production as Sri Lankan printers.
Industry is growing very fast now /than ever before. We also find /that every year a minimum of 300 units of new machines/ are being installed. To operate even these 300 machines, we need a minimum of 600 new personnel entering the industry.
In the coming two years my action plan consists as a 7 points program , mainly focused on industry issues
Recruitment , training and development
Membership drive and net working
Supporting for growth and adding value to the industry
Lobbying with the government on issues affected to the industry
Linking with International National and International Associations
Continue the construction of Building project for academy for training
Fund Raising Program
As regards, Recruitment and training ,It is a known fact that the younger generation does not like to enter in to the printing industry mainly due to lack of knowledgeon the future prospects attached to the career. Instead they move on to driving three wheelers and other fun type jobs. Further, we are losing many skilled workforce,- as they tend to go overseas , particularly to the Middle East and Korea. This process is severely affected as a shortage of skilled workers/not only for the printing industry but also to other industrial sector and service .
It is my view that we should give awareness/through media to change the mind set of youth/to enter in to the industry. We are planning to attractschool leavers who cannotor not willing to go for higher studies. It is planned to give several awareness programson career development using printed and electronic media. Outstation seminars to be held for school leavers as a career development program. A Scholarshipprogram to be followedwith on the job training and employment. In the process of recruitment and training ,we expect to seek assistance from state and private electronic and printed media institutions for give awareness on career prospects . We have own academy , Sri Lanka Print Media Academy formed by Sri Lanka Association of Printers for
training . In addition to our training center , there are other training Institutes on Printing , such as Sri Lanka Institute of Printing( SLIOP), INGRIN and VTA.
The people who enter the industry /now do not have the necessary training. They simply learn the trade‘on the job’ from a colleague and thus-lack professionalism. Thereforeit is our responsibility to focus on training,both the existing staff in the industry and new staffto learn technologies and modern processes ensuring a productive lifelong career.In this context, we ,SLAPgive our inputs,fundingand infrastructure support to SLPMA ,our training arm. I really appreciate the funding support given by the FESPA for training printing community in Sri Lanka .
Training should encompass skill development on technological advancements, design conceptualization, basic knowledge of Costing and estimating, human resource management and progress following proper HR practices, with a view to creating a healthy and better environment and culture to ensure the sustainability of the industry.
The importance of valuing the Print Industry truly meansthat the SLAP should include each & every printer scattered over the country . Therefore, it is our responsibility to embrace every Printer.As such, we must have a Membership Drive to enroll new members. I appeal to each member to introduce at least ONE new member during 2017/ 2018.
As the SLAP ,we have a responsibility to lobby for Tax & Duty benefits to be a competitive contributor to the National Economy . The printing fraternity of Sri Lanka has contributed tremendously to the overall economic progress of our country. Special mention can be made- of the Tea Industry as an example. In this context, although we are contributing a substantial amount of value addition in terms of packaging of tea , the value is silent as Print production , quite like the generation of foreign exchange .
SLAP will lobby for the industry issues already raised by them such as ,
a)Removal of CESS on Ivory Boards,
b)DiscouragingImport of Printed packing material / Note books
c)Duty concessions on material and accessories,
d) Discouraging import of old machinery – Like Old Motor vehicles
These actions will be a boost to operating our industry in a highly competitive environment than ever before.
The next focus is on linking National and International Associations, records in history indicate different affiliations from time to time under numerous Presidents.Membership with FESPAis a result of such initiative of Past President DinshKulatunga in 2009 . Such International membership provides an opportunityand ideal platform for print professionals to share knowledge, understanding, as well as funding for Training &development. We received the Associate membership in 2009 and received its full membership in 2016.
It is our desire to complete the 1st Floor of our SLAP building with the support of all our members.FESPA is the one association that has now come forward to assist the SLAP for training efforts .
Our last but not least ,focus during my tenure, in Office is to Organize a comprehensive Fund Raising Program, throughout the year. It is expected publish a PRINT DIRECTORY .
So, my dear friends -in the printing fraternity, we are about to- embark on a new journey a new term with a new hope to propel the Sri Lankan Printing Industry in to the modern Global Market.
While Wishing each and every one of you a productive and enterprising year, my fellow printers, I earnestly invite all of you to joinhand in hand in going forward towards our activities ,networkingwithin our fraternity, grow your business and strengthen the Sri Lankan print industry to be the printing hub of South Asia .