ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Brandix, a top apparel group said it had started shipping 200 million face masks to made at its factories to support the United States in its battle against Coronavirus.
Basil Rajapaksa, brother of Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had made a symbolic presentation of a batch of masks to US Ambassador Alaina B Teplitz.
The fabric was produced in Sri Lanka and ingredients of a coating on the mask that kills germs were brought from the US.
“As the world combats this global pandemic, the long friendship between the United States and Sri Lanka is helping both our countries overcome this challenge,” Ambassador Teplitz was quoted as saying.
“We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the Sri Lankan Government and Brandix to sustain the global supply of PPE.”
Brandix had re-oriented a factory Teejay Lanka, which made fabric for lingerie and other apparel to the US and other markets before the Coronavirus epidemic to produce mask fabric.
“This collaboration between the two countries has resulted in sustaining our national economy, in addition to paving way for global customers to reach out to Sri Lanka for quality products in the months ahead,” Basil Rajapaksa had said.
“We are glad that a leader in apparel like Brandix utilized its resources to lead the way in this journey, giving the global market a glimpse of the advanced infrastructure and agility that is already in place within Sri Lanka, in order to meet the current and future market demands.”
About 15,000 of Bradix’s 30,000 strong workforce is now involved in mask making.
The face masks, produced as 3-ply and of cotton-based fabric with antimicrobial finish, is stretchable for better fit and meet stringent hygiene standards, the company said.
“The apparel industry is a key export revenue generator in Sri Lanka, generating $5.6 billion of exports in the last fiscal year itself,” Ranga Ranmadugala – Board Member of Brandix Apparel Limited said.
“However, the unavoidable decline in trade and production output resulting from the COVID-19 crisis, has left the industry facing its toughest predicament in recent times, impacting Sri Lanka’s positioning against other apparel export markets.
“Despite the challenging conditions and the tough road ahead, the industry will continue to do its part to combat potential long-term impacts of the pandemic and bring in revenue to replenish the national economy.”
Sri Lanka’s National Medical Regulatory Authority (NMRA) initially slapped price controls in a knee jerk reaction worsening shortages despite the country having a medical emergency.
The agency also banned exports following in the footsteps of nationalists in other countries, critics have said. (Colombo/May14/2020)