Jaffna, Wayamba Inter-provincial biz-drive launched
A group of businessmen from Kurunegala made a breakthrough connection
with the business community in Jaffna recently where initial trust was
established reported Neelakanth Wanninayake, Director, Industrial
Services Bureau, Kurunegala, Wayamba.
Industrial Services Bureau of Wayamba played a crucial role in
sealing new ties with Yaalpanam Chamber of Commerce, Jaffna Chamber of
Commerce and the Association of Small and Micro Industries of Jaffna.
`The initial meeting took place with K. Purnachandran, and also
Swarnaraj who was based in Colombo with businesses in Vavuniya, at the
BPA Industrial Forum. There they invited the Kurunegala business
community to Jaffna. We had to get special approval from the Ministry of
Defence to take a business delegation to Jaffna’ said Wanninayake. `The
trouble we took finally paid off well, establishing a successful
In a bid to revive relationships and lost spirits, after a 30 year
confict a delegation of sixty five leading business delegates from
Wayamba in different trade sectors joined in an expedition seeking trade
links to drive inter-provincial business with the alienated territory of
Richard Exercise Book manufacturers, Arpidag, Samudra Publications,
vehicle and motorcycle importers, foot-cycles, motor spare parts, heavy
machinery importers, building material suppliers, packaging and
agriculture sector were some of the businesses that sought business
links with Jaffna.
From the three leading chambers in Jaffna around fifty business
people participated in the discussions. With ISB’s active and strong
network spread islandwide, immense potential of linking with businesses
at inter-provincial level was sought after by the Jaffna busineses.
Unlike any other business chamber, Jaffna Chambers made a strong
unanimous bid to have freedom of mobility between South and North which
poses the main hindrance to their business expansion.
They were not demanding infrastructure, funding or tax benefits.
`We assured them that no sooner the security threat is lifted the
road to freedom will be wide open for businesses. With the government’s
active drive to build North and East to new heights in process, the
business boom is round the corner’ said Wanninayake.
He said from a business point of view 300,000 people in Manik Farm
itself is a potential market. Besides reconstruction and resettlement
will open floodgates for businesses. Suppliers and services will have a
booming opportunity to get involved in the business of development.
In brief North and East is a veritable sellers’ paradise; it opens a
whole new world of opportunity, he said.
In answer to a question about ISB and its involvement, Wanninayake
said ISB manages two Industrial Parks in Heraliyawala and Dangaspitiya
with 30 industries promoting large and micro level industries in coir,
rubber, ceramics, mushroom to mention a few areas of focus. ISB has in
its industrial parks large industries the calibre of DSI and Arpico to
micro industry at grass roots level.
The outcome of the Jaffna meeting culminated in signing an MOU
between Wayamba’s Industial Services Bureau and Yalpanam and Vavuniya
Chambers of Commerce to strengthen trade between the provinces.
There are plans ahead to organise trade fairs, business workshops,
industrial training, counselling and consultancy projects. There were
also discussions on bidding together for donor driven projects and
government projects on reconstruction and rehabilitation said the
They have made the initial binding. They have also arrived at
mutually win:win synergies. They have agreed to make joint proposals for
bidding and trade opportunities of both provinces. Together they have
found common ground where both parties benefited and found many a
This union between Wyamba and Jaffna will be further sealed with
joint activity and decision-making.
ISB then is happy to be an intermediary peace force bringing together
two cultures split over petty political issues besides becoming a
business force to be reckoned with.