Business Times

NCCSL embarks on new work plan to improve trade with Asia

The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) is to implement a new work plan aimed at improving trade and investment in Asia.

Asoka Hettigoda, newly elected President of the NCCSL, outlining these issues at the 52nd Annual General Meeting held in Colombo recently, said priority will be given to skills development, improving trade and investment in the Asian Region with a focus on Small and Medium Enterprises(SME) and promoting sustainable development.

The NCCSL will embark on an aggressive skills development programme and hope to be positioned as a centre of excellence for training. Mr. Hettigoda applauded the government’s recent decision to allow setting up private universities, spur Research & Development, promote the use of English Language and improve IT literacy which bode well in setting up a knowledge based economy.

These activities will have a direct impact on the performance of local companies, building competitive advantages for export sector, while generating more foreign exchange on high skilled foreign employment, he said Historically, being part of the Silk Route, clearly indicates Sri Lanka’s role in regional trade and have become even more critical with globalization.

The government’s strategy to make Sri Lanka a logistics hub will definitely assist trading activities while giving Sri Lankan companies a competitive edge, he added. To support SME development and investment, NCCSL will lobby the banking sector to improve long term low cost lending to SME’s and traditional and non-traditional exporters who add value, Mr. Hettigoda revealed.

A significant section of SMEs in Sri Lanka remain in traditional activities generally with low levels of productivity, poor quality products, serving small, localized markets. There is little or no technological dynamism in this group, and few ‘graduate’ into large size or modern technologies.

The NCCSL will work with the government to support more R&D activities to create new products, introduce new technologies that are sustainable and to assist these companies to enter international markets and to build internationally recognized Sri Lankan brands, he said.

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