PM thanks apparel exporters for resilience; promises fresh support
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Friday assured the apparel industry of Government assistance for expansion and further diversification of the industry, which is one of the most successful and promising export trades vital for the country’s economy.
This assurance was given when a senior delegation of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) called on the Premier. Gunawardena congratulated the apparel industry for showing substantial export growth despite the challenges faced due to local and international economic downturn. Apparel exports in the first seven months have increased by 20% to $ 3.5 billion.
JAAF Chairman Sharad Amalean explained the issues regarding certain duties, freight forwarding charges, energy and transport related issues and urged the Government intervention to solve them so that they could compete with other countries to get more market access and bring in much needed foreign exchange to the country.
The Prime Minister assured them the Government would streamline facilities given to this important industry and urged the garment exporters to seek more foreign investments for expansion and further diversification.
He also urged them to explore possibilities of venturing into new spheres such as fish exports as there is a good demand abroad. He also asked them to consider expansion of solar power and other alternative renewable energy sources.
He emphasised the need to protect small and medium apparel industries as some of them are faced with more difficulties than mega industries and they are a vital component of the rural economy.
Prime Minister Gunawardena expressed gratitude to the industry, which has set an example for other export industries to emulate. He said the next few months will be critical, and the Government seeks more support from all export sectors to take all possible measures to increase exports as that would be the only possible way to narrow the trade deficit and revive the economy.
Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake, Additional Secretary Mahinda Gunaratne and JAAF representatives Saif Jafferjee, Felix Fernando, Aroon Hirdarmani, Hasib Omar, Hemantha Perera and Yohan Lawrence also participated in this discussion.