Sri Lanka has unveiled a new entity, the Automobile Industry Council (AIC), to guide the automobile industry into a new era of innovation, skill enhancement, and global eminence. The AIC was launched on Wednesday in Colombo with the participation of Industries and Health Minister Dr Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha and officials of the AIC.
The AIC is a government-backed and privately led initiative that aims to revolutionize the industry’s landscape, shifting it from a consumer-centric model into a globally interconnected manufacturing powerhouse. Its paramount mission is to reduce road traffic accidents, enhance the working conditions and dignity of technicians, and foster decentralized economic opportunities through skill development in these sectors.
A vision for the future
The AIC has a compelling vision for the future of the automobile industry in Sri Lanka. It seeks to leverage the ever-evolving political landscape and the unique opportunity for all stakeholders, particularly those holding ministerial positions related to transportation, the automobile assembly and component manufacturing industry, vocational and higher education in engineering and technology.
The AIC will provide a practical roadmap for achieving its goals, which include:
- Developing a national policy framework for the automobile industry
- Promoting local manufacturing of vehicles and components
- Enhancing the quality and safety standards of vehicles and services
- Encouraging research and development, innovation and design
- Facilitating access to finance, technology and markets
- Building capacity and skills of the workforce
- Creating a conducive environment for investment and growth
A diverse and dynamic governance structure
The AIC has a diverse and dynamic governance structure that reflects its inclusive and collaborative approach. The council’s governance benefits from the involvement of six ex officio members representing the Ministries of Education, Finance, Industries, and Transport, adding governmental gravitas to its pursuits. Furthermore, two pivotal skills-based government organizations, TVEC and NAITA, play instrumental roles in shaping the industry’s destiny.
The council also brings an academic perspective to the fore by partnering with two prestigious institutes recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) – CGTTI and UNIVOTECH. This academic alliance underscores the council’s commitment to nurturing a talent pool primed to lead the industry into the future.
The Board of Directors is further enriched by the inclusion of eight industry stakeholders, each championing distinct sectors within the automotive domain:
- Vehicle manufacturers and assemblers
- Manufacturers of vehicle components and accessories
- Providers of maintenance, repair, breakdown, and emergency services
- Importers, dealers, and distributors of vehicles and components
- Providers of transportation services
- Authorities in design, engineering, research, and development
- National-level Associations/Chambers within the domain
- Automobile sector associations authorized to issue International Driving Permits
A transformative change for Sri Lanka
The establishment of the AIC marks a transformative change for Sri Lanka that has been anticipating for over seven decades. It represents a milestone in the country’s industrial development and economic diversification. It also signifies a recognition of the potential and importance of the automobile industry as a driver of growth, employment, innovation, and social welfare.
The AIC is expected to play a vital role in advancing Sri Lanka’s vision of becoming a prosperous nation with a competitive economy. It will also contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by addressing various environmental, social, and governance issues related to the automobile sector.
The AIC invites all stakeholders to join hands in making this vision a reality.