Small and medium scale industries, backbone of national economy
Chairman of the Kurunegala Pradeshiya Sabha, Patrick Karunasinghe
said that small and medium scale industries are considered the backbone
of Sri Lanka's national economy.
They account for about 70 per cent of all industrial establishments,
30 per cent of the total industrial output and 31 per cent of
employment. It is therefore essential that they are assisted and
developed to compete in international markets.
Industrial Sector in Sri Lanka comprises a range of large corporate
forms, small and medium scale enterprises as well as micro household
businesses that are based on self-employment activities. Sri Lanka's
industrial policy has been designed to address key challenges and
Karunasinghe said that the industrial sector accounts for 27 per cent
of the GDP and employs 1.8 million people. During the last decade the
average annual growth rate of the industrial sector has been 6.2 per
cent. The sector comprises 78 per cent of the value of Sri Lankan
The chairman said that while significant diversification of
industrial activities have taken place during the last three decades,
textile and garment sector accounts for the largest share of
manufacturing activities and exports.
The textile and garment sector has more than 950 factories in Sri
Lanka providing direct employment to almost 300,000 workers. It
generates more than 3 billion American dollars in the export earnings
per year, amounting to one-half of the country's export earnings.
Sustaining the contribution of the apparel industry in a quota free
environment as well as accelerating the process of industrialisation in
other products with high value additions including new knowledge based
products will be focus of the new industrial development strategy.
During the period of 2001-2005 the relative share of the
manufacturing sector in the GDP remained declined. Hence there is a need
to introduce an aggressive industrial policy to increase the
contribution made by the manufacturing sector through an accelerated
industrialisation process, he said.
He said that the Mahinda Chinthana advocates an approach where
domestic enterprises can be supported while encouraging foreign
investments. It integrates the positive attributes of the liberal market
economy with domestic aspirations.
The Mahinda Chinthana envisages more effective industrial harmony,
higher value added and productivity driven industrialisation. It stands
on "knowledge-based" and "technology-intensive" development.
The proposed paradigm is a shift from the "import-based" industries
to higher value added industries.