‘Consistent policies vital to increase exports’ | Sunday Observer

‘Consistent policies vital to increase exports’

 The head table: (From right)- Immediate Past Chairman, EASL, Harin de Silva, Chairman, EASL, Chrisso de Mel, founder member and past Chairperson, EASL, Dawn Austin  and two officials. Pix: Saliya Rupasinghe
The head table: (From right)- Immediate Past Chairman, EASL, Harin de Silva, Chairman, EASL, Chrisso de Mel, founder member and past Chairperson, EASL, Dawn Austin and two officials. Pix: Saliya Rupasinghe

Sri Lanka needs a political leadership with visionary thinking, assisted by robust stakeholders to compete with the rest of the world and become a successful economy, Chairman, Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL), Chrisso de Mel, said.

The country should reach a higher value in exports. For this, greater engagement from the government, more consistent policies and increased transparency are important to increase exports.

The EASL had implemented two policy documents which were presented to the Ministry of Finance and other related government institutions. These two documents were based on past research, identifying key areas for improvement and action, he said at the its 22nd Annual General Meeting in Colombo last week.

“Though some of our proposals have been well received and even incorporated into the national budget we are disappointed that the proper implementation has not been done and consequently not helped us move forward. We have not seen the intent and the commitment on the part of government to fire all guns to increase exports with the exception of International Trade and Development Strategies Ministry, Ports and Shipping Ministry and since of late the Science and Technology Ministry,” he said.

He urged all institutions that facilitate exports to understand Sri Lanka’s obligations to the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and stay committed to execute all trade facilitation policies to improve ease of doing business.

The EASL has frequently acknowledged the importance to link light industries into global value chains. However, this could only be achieved if the country is known regionally to have a stable labour policy and a workforce with high productivity and programs that focus on skills development and education to upgrade the standard of labour.

“This is the facilitation that the Government should put in place to enable the private sector to bring in the business,” Founder Member and past Chairperson, EASL, Dawn Austin said in her keynote address.

The EASL has pointed out that the lack of a clearly defined Private-Public Partnership (PPP) policy with clearly enunciated regulations and a legal framework acts as a disincentive to the investors.

“If this is cleared, then there will be more confidence among investors which would allow for greater collaboration and transparency in between the respective parties,” she said.

More efforts should be exerted to make Sri Lanka more conducive to attract FDIs and further technology needs to be transferred from other countries to assist in business processes.

Immediate Past Chairman, EASL, Harin de Silva said that the five main points that are essential in formulating the foundations for the growth of Sri Lankan exports are driving the National export Strategy, improving the investment climate for exports, addressing the constraints for market access and promotion, proactive engagement in trade liberalisation and fostering innovation to drive exports.

“My team and I have continued to stress the above points whenever we have engaged the authorities on the development of Sri Lanka’s export sector,” he said.

He said that during the two-and-a half years under his leadership, he has made valuable strides making the EASL being recognised as one of the premier export related organisations of the country. 

Comments