Exporters seek immediate action to current crisis | Daily News

Exporters seek immediate action to current crisis

Associations of the major export revenue-generating industries, came together to call on the government to take immediate action and put forth a solution to the current crisis impacting the country.

Six associations representing export revenues above US$ 1 billion alongside 17 other associations came together to make this statement on April 8 at the JAIC Hilton. JAAF representative Yohan Lawrence said, “All stakeholders must come together for a long-term solution.” Lawrence warned of severe setbacks to even profitable ventures due to large failures in the broader economic system. Lawrence said foreign counterparties were reluctant to deal with Sri Lanka given the bad press generated by the current crisis.

Colombo Tea Traders Association Chairman Jayantha Karunaratne noted that the industry was facing severe problems concerning conducting auctions. He noted that with power outages and the impact on connectivity in remote regions there were concerns of the electronic auctions no longer being fair. Karunaratne further added that there were difficulties in transporting products to and from packaging centres thereby causing further uncertainties.

Karunaratne complained that without certainty in supply the capacity to fulfil orders was called into question and that foreign markets would be quick to fill in the void thereby cutting out Sri Lanka from international shelves in subsequent periods. Karunaratne echoing sentiments made by all other associations present noted that factories were currently being run very inefficiently with sporadic availability of power. He noted significant escalations in costs and those smaller and medium scale enterprises for which the statistics are weak had already failed in large numbers.

SLASSCOM Chairperson Sandra De Soyza noted that even the IT/BPO sector was facing issues as the connectivity had been impacted by the power outages. Soyza warned that even industries requiring little in the way of resource input for revenue generation would face difficulties due to the potential long-term brain drain brought about by the crisis. Soyza noted that with social unrest and ever-rising prices the highly employable technology sector would seek greener pastures in other countries thereby thwarting Sri Lanka’s capacity to become a US$ 3-5 billion IT export region shortly.

Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council Chairman Russel Juriansz noted that the government needed to make representations to IMF representatives at the coming Spring meetings of the IMF and the World Bank. Juriansz noted that given the direction of cash flow the Indian Credit lines would not last an entire year. He called for credibility and confidence to be fostered by the Monetary Authorities.

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