Sri Lanka govt assures swift solution to worker shortages
ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan government will take up concerns over worker shortages at the highest levels and will adopt a ‘pragmatic’ approach to the problem, a senior minister said.
Shortages of workers in industry, agriculture and services has led to calls to liberalise entry procedures to allow foreign labour, especially those in sectors facing skills scarcities although vested interests oppose the move.
The government will do “everything possible” to encourage exporters to do better and to grow, Minister of Development Strategies & International Trade Malik Samarawickrama said.
“We are aware that one of the constraints you are facing is the dearth of workers and as a result you are finding it difficult to expand your business,” he told the Presidential Export Awards ceremony.
“Representations have been made to us to find a solution. We will discuss this at the highest level and come back with a solution in a short time. I intend to discuss with the President and Prime Minister and find a solution soon.”
Samarawickrama said countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand have taken a “pragmatic approach to this issue, and we must do the same.
“We should not miss getting know how from any part of the world. This is the same way that apparel industry grew –we shouldn’t be afraid to get know how from anywhere – to add to our existing talent, to complement it.”
Samarawickrama said the issue was also important for the IT-related services sector.
“This sector has the potential to generate hundreds of thousands of the kind of jobs that our young people are aspiring to. And we need to marry our talent and competencies with targeted talent from abroad. We are also supporting the universities to turn out more engineering and IT graduates.”
(COLOMBO, 21 September, 2018)