No need to close BOI zones - FTZMA secretary | Daily News


No need to close BOI zones - FTZMA secretary

No alarming rise of COVID virus
Dhammika Fernando
Dhammika Fernando

The Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA) says that there is no need to close the Katunayake Export Processing Zone (KIPZ) or any other BOI zones since there is no alarming rise of the COVID virus in the zone.

Secretary FTZMA, Dhammika Fernando said that over 10 workers from two factories in the zone were identified positive at the time of this copy going to press and the two factories were temporarily shut down due to quarantine measures. None of the other factories have detected any COVID patients so far.”

Fernando who was the past President of the FTZMA stressed that the COVID virus spread to these two factories from ‘Manpower workers who were from outside the KIPZ and worked at these two institutions on a temporary basis. “We have now proposed to temporarily halt the entry of all manpower workers to KIPZ.”

He said that strict health measures are deployed and strictly maintained by the KIPZ factories. “Over 90% of the staff of KIPZ are provided free transport and when employees board a vehicle or enter a factory they are tested for fever and if the designated temperature is exceeded they are refused entry to the bus or to the factory.”

In addition the FTZMA companies with four private hospitals designated by the government health authorities carry random PCR tests on staff daily and these factories pay around Rs. 6,200 for each test. In addition all employees are provided gloves and masks free of charge.

He said that there are around 33,000 employees in KIPZ (largest zone in the country) but now only around 7,000 report to work and this is due to lockdowns in some areas. “We appeal from the government to explore the possibility of coming up with a scheme to get the staff in these areas back to work as the peak season for BOI zones export orders are coming up.”

He said that all the BOI zones together have brought in export revenue in the excess of Rs. 620 billion last year.