EDB eyes export hub status | Sunday Observer

EDB eyes export hub status

Minister Malik Samarawickrama  and EDB officials at the media  briefing   Pic: Chaminda Niroshana
Minister Malik Samarawickrama and EDB officials at the media briefing Pic: Chaminda Niroshana

Sri Lanka hopes to receive foreign direct investments worth US $ 3 billion this year, while last year, FDIs were around US$ 2.2 billion which included refineries and a steel plant, Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama said.

“We have set up two export processing zones in Milladeniya and Bingiriya and there will be a Southern zone shortly,” he told the Export Development Board (EDB) organised media networking session, in Colombo recently.

Chairperson, EDB, Indira Malwatte said plans are under way to set up an effluent treatment plant to recycle export waste, and this will be a small measure towards protecting the environment.

“It is necessary to have such facilities for exporters, as we expect the sector to grow rapidly in the years to come. Waste recycling and disposal should be done in a proper manner, to ensure environmental sustainability,” she said.

Director General EDB, Jeevani Siriwardena said, “The EDB sets strategies to drive export growth and we have plans to create 500 new entrepreneurs each year and make them exporters. It is important to formulate an action plan, build business and go to international markets translating strategy into action.”

The EDB is implementing the National Export Strategy (NES) and this year’s targeted export value is US $ 20 billion.

With a vision to make the country an export hub, driven by innovation and investment, the EDB focuses on innovative products and services to reach its target for the year.

One of the key sectors in the NES is the boat building industry. Steps have been taken to develop a regulatory framework for the industry and to set up infrastructure facilities for boat builders, she said.

The export target for the IT/BPM sector for 2022 is US$ 5 billion and the EDB has initiated a program to launch the IT/BPM brand, ‘Island of Ingenuity’.

Among the other efforts to promote the industry are the regional development programs, training for SMEs, short-term courses on Data Science introduced to the curriculum of the University of Colombo, an agreement with SLIT to introduce IoT courses and an agreement to be signed with the University of Moratuwa, to introduce Data Science.

Among the key achievements by the EDB during the past year are a multinational cooperation (MNC) outreach program and awareness of the electric, electronics and components (EEC) industry locally and internationally.

The EDB places special emphasis on Wellness Tourism where it has conducted an awareness seminar for 70 participants representing ayurveda resorts, spa centres and private hospitals.

On processed food and beverages, the EDB has presented a budget proposal to set up a Food Authority. It also has proposed the branding of Sri Lankan cuisine.

The brand proposition for Sri Lankan spices under the spices and concentrates sector will be developed. The EDB will provide overseas market intelligence and information, development of grower data base and GI for Ceylon Cinnamon. Plans are also under way to conduct a spice nursery development program.

While developing a trade promotion platform, the EDB also focuses on capacity building, trade promotion and identified overseas trade promotion for the NES and other sectors as well.