Biz community keen to contribute more | Sunday Observer

Biz community keen to contribute more

22 December, 2019
Ramal Jasinghe
Ramal Jasinghe

The change in the political leadership has brought about fresh hopes among the business community and they look forward to stimulate the economy by contributing more in terms of job creation and capital generation.

“The emphasis on the Development of Physical Capital, as well as Sustainable Environmental Management would significantly support the drive for ethical businesses to reach global markets, through proper means and measures.

This initiative could further enhance the measures towards effectively reaping benefits from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as Sri Lanka has missed many such opportunities in the emerging technology-based society; which could bring about significant change,” Immediate Past President, National Chamber of Exporters, Ramal G. Jasinghe said.

Significant changes in tax policy, such as reduction of Value Added Tax from 15 per cent to 8 percent, would enable the economy to grow as well as support exporters to reach beyond borders, as this will mostly stimulate export efforts and galvanise Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).

This measure should galvanise local industries and businesses to enhance capacity building and development within this window of opportunity, he said.

In terms of measures that should be taken to increase the values and the volumes of exports, he said that supplying niche products to identified niche markets through agricultural development and by enhanced research and development would enable an increase in export value addition.

It is also necessary to ensure greater participation of the MSME sector and thereby develop the emerging industries identified by the National Export Strategy (NES) and refinement of the NES, he said.

Sri Lanka should mainly focus on the quality over quantity, for example Bangladesh cottage industry produces high end winter jackets for the European markets.

Such quality products, despite the volumes being low, are manufactured at a cottage industry level.

Therefore, establishing proper standards for the products that are exported, could lead Sri Lanka to expand into high-end products, with a higher value although volumes are low.

We should enhance our efforts in participating in niche fashion industry markets, which would not be necessarily high end, but create a bigger role for our exporters to become a vital link in the value chain, which could prove to be cost effective and efficient, in terms of reaching new export markets. This could encourage inclusion of the SME industrial sector to the national export drive, he said.

“With regard to agricultural produce, we need to meticulously plan to increase the efficiency of producers, to avoid waste of resources, while encouraging the new generation to use technology to reap the best of the natural resources available.

Revisiting traditional agricultural practices for enhanced development is of utmost importance and to this end it is necessary to increase our research and development capabilities.

“This effort could be accelerated by bringing in expert knowledge and expertise from the academic arena, Agri development authorities, enhanced engagement and encouragement of the private sector to play a major role, as well as involving marketing professionals to introduce strategies and trends to this development drive will serve towards effective, practical implementation levels on the field.

“For example, the Thai government is advised by the Kasetsart University through research and development how paddy cultivation could be made more efficient.

Input of this nature is vital for the agriculture sector to be future ready,” he said.