Need to produce heavy machinery stressed
By Quintus Perera
Sri Lanka is not producing heavy machinery using modern technology or manufacturing large vehicles and many other consumer durables and if Sri Lankans wanted to consume these items, the people needed revenue which could be provided by exports, said Peter Harrold, World Bank Country Director in Sri Lanka last week.

Emphasizing the importance of exports at last week’s 13th Annual National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) Export Awards ceremony held in Colombo, he said the export market provides the lifeline for domestic industries. The garment industry is enormously successful and is the key economic growth despite the ongoing conflict for 20 years. He said that for the country’s economy to survive there should be very strong export market and all incentives and encouragement have to be geared to achieve this end. To improve the export sector there should be a better tax structure with a gradual reduction of tariff to encourage exports.

He also stressed the importance of attracting foreign investment to the country. Mabroc Teas Ltd won the gold for the Best Sri Lankan Brand Exporter while the Gold for the Most Outstanding Exporter was won by Dankotuwa Porcelain Ltd. Ceylon Biscuits won the Silver. Kingsley Bernard, President, National Chamber of Exporters, said that the atmosphere has not been that conducive to exports as they have been denied the basic infrastructure facilities during the manufacturing process.

He said the cost of electricity has been prohibitive and the supply and quality has been far from satisfactory. Bernard said that the SME exporters are badly in need of support in identifying international markets for their products.

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