ECONOMYNEXT – The Sri Lankan government accepts a call by exporters to be involved in shaping the country’s export policy, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning Harsha De Silva said.
The new government will focus more strongly on exports, he told the annual general meeting of the Exporters Association of Sri Lanka.
The Exporters Association of Sri Lanka is to be included in designing and developing export policy, he said.
“I invite you to be a part of that and that is the way we are going to be moving forward, it should be consensus driven, it should be win-win, it should be addressing the issues,” de Silva said.
Fazal Mushin, new chairman of the Exporters Association, said that while emphasis has been paid to infrastructural development, it has not paved the way to create a conducive environment in which the export sector could have grown.
“Ironically, statistics record that exports performed far better during the conflict era, compared to the post conflict period! Of course peace also opened the gates to increased import expenditure, but the desired focus and attention was not directed to propel this sector to take off to greater heights.”
Mushin said that although many initiatives were meant to encourage investment and make Sri Lanka a manufacturing hub, what was lacking was a conducive environment in which exporters could thrive, whether local companies or foreign investors.
“If we compare the share of exports in the period 1980 to 2014, we observe that significant export growth has come only from textile and garments, manufacturing, and information communications technology. Here again we can count the number of companies that stand out as real success stories.”
Another area which Sri Lanka failed to recognize is the threat of export activity emerging from within the region.
“In a short span of time, a market share of what could have been opportunities for Sri Lankan export enterprises are being captured by competition within the region.”
Mushin said exporters want to have their voices heard.
“We must be made partners in shaping and developing policy in which we can conduct our business.
”We would appreciate that the government develops a model for advocacy whereby private sector stakeholders are invited to participate in planning of policy in an inclusive manner where we can be partners in developing a conducive long term strategies in which we can grow and thrive.” (Colombo/July 30 2015)