Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 18 October 2009





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

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 business relationship’.

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 Jaffna.

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 Director ISB.

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 profitable platform.

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.


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