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Sunday, 31 July 2011





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Government Gazette

Each export sector to contribute $ 1b to state coffers

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Chairperson EASL Dawn Austin, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal and Outgoing Chairperson EASL Nirmali Samaratunga.                                                                                                      Pic: Kavindra Perera.

The government has identified several product sectors to be developed to international standards and once developed each sector will contribute an export revenue of $ one billion to state coffers.

Speaking at the AGM of the Exporters' Association of Sri Lanka outgoing Chairperson EASL, Nirmalie Samaratunga said that IT and the offshore outsourcing industry can contribute one billion dollars while cargo handling and transshipment can also be developed to bring in export revenue.

She said that the five year strategy developed by the EDB can develop exports and requested the National Export Plan designed by EASL be implemented.

The slow pace of global recovery is one of the main challenges the country will have to face. As a solution exporters should look for alternative markets. She said that Sri Lanka only exports five percent of its total exports to India which can be increased immensely.

Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that the country can grow at around 8.5 percent this year but the world economy is not in good shape. Therefore, the only way to strengthen exports is to look at niche markets and increasing productivity.

He said that diversification is taking place in exports while the peace dividend has helped macro economic conditions which are benign. For a long time one of the main problems was high inflation. But now the fiscal deficit as well as inflation and interest rates have declined. These are positive factors

for investors and businessmen. Chairperson EASL Dawn Austin said that in the last few years exporters had to contend with difficulties in marketing their products due to unprecedented global issues as a result of the world economies crashing and markets dwindling. Therefore, they have to reinvent their strategies in branding and identifying niche markets.

She said that when moving to new markets there are new regulations and therefore compliance is a must. Austin said that IT and Knowledge technology will play a vital role in the future but shortage of skilled people is a challenge.

Rail transport is a solution to reduce cost of transport, even if only 30 percent of goods are transported across the country using the rail network It will not only reduce cost but also congestion and the money spent on maintaining the relatively new road network. Exporters will need to develop their businesses without the government’s financial intervention. Incentives and subsidies will become a thing of the past. She was confident that the exporters are capable of withstanding any storm and achieving the export target of $ 20 b by 2020.


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