Cabinet approves Rs. 250m for National Export Strategy | Sunday Observer

Cabinet approves Rs. 250m for National Export Strategy

Ramal Jasinghe
Ramal Jasinghe

The National Exports Strategy (NES) will be an important driving force to propel export growth. Unlike for most other policies, there is a committee to monitor and evaluate the progress of NES strategy, Immediate Past President of National Chamber of Exporters, Ramal Jasinghe said.

The government while facilitating the seamless implementation of the NES provides its fullest support to it. Cabinet has approved Rs 250 million for the activities of the strategy, he said.

According to a Cabinet report on the progress of the economy, the performance for the first half of this year was better than the corresponding period of last year despite the Easter Sunday attacks and natural disasters such as floods and drought.

Exports have generated US $ 8 billion in revenue for the first half of this year and the sector anticipates improved performance in the second half.

“The second half is challenging as there is the looming prospects of elections towards the end of this year. This will shift the focus of the economy. However, exporters are resilient and will work towards reaching the US $ 20 billion target set for the year,” he said.

The badly hit tourism industry is gradually improving and this is a good sign. There was an improvement in manufacturing sector in the first half together with agriculture production indices going up. However, Jasinghe stressed the importance of consistency in performance to fuel the economic growth.

According to a recent Cabinet report the country has recorded 3.2 percent GDP growth.

“We expect the export sector to grow by 4 percent this year. With government’s plan to increase exports and FDIs, the implementation of NES will push the sectoral performance upwards. However, there are concerns in NES implementation in terms of reducing the cost factor, improving on ease of doing business and reducing red tape,” he said.

“The other development is having the elections in the latter part of the year. This will result in losing focus and country incurring expenditure. Regardless of this, the economy and export sector are moving along.

“There is a greater role to be played by the Export Development Board (EDB) to accelerate the export drive.

“The EDB steering committee meetings which consider progress of the six sectors under NES are important as well as the performance of each sector is critical for the pick-up of the export sector for the rest of the year,” he said.

With the conduct of elections there could be social disruption and the authorities should be vigilant of this possibility and take preventive measures against any negative impact which will also have an adverse effect on the entire economic sphere, Jasinghe said.