Export earnings: BoI Companies contribute 80% | Sunday Observer

Export earnings: BoI Companies contribute 80%

The Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BoI) has taken a host of measures to safeguard its ventures from the Covid-19 crisis as their contribution to the economy is immense, a top official of the apex body driving Foreign Direct Investments told Sunday Observer Business recently.

Last year, Sri Lanka’s import expenditure was US$ 22 billion, while export earnings were US$.16.4 billion. Most of the export earnings were through the factories under the purview of the BoI.

At present there are 1,700 companies operating under the wings of the BoI which have contributed up to 80 percent of the industrial export earnings of the country.

Sri Lanka’s manufacturing sector took a massive blow as a result of lack of manpower due to the islandwide curfew. The BoI took initiatives in facilitating the factories resuming activities during the time of the curfew,” he said.

Managing Director of AGIO of the Biyagama Export Processing Zone, Anura Siriwardena said it was the first time they faced a crisis of this nature.

“When curfew was imposed on March 20 we were about to export a large consignment of goods. We wanted to resume operations in April but that was not possible as all government organisations specially the Customs and the Port were not in operation.“We made a request to the Director General of the BoI to help us recommence production for which we received a positive response and resumed operations in mid April and recommenced exports.

“If we had failed to meet the deadline we would have missed all future orders affecting our export earnings. The BoI team made an immense contribution towards a smooth operation.

“As a company we adhere to the Covid-19 prevention guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health,” he said. Ranga Jayasuriya, an AGIO employee with 24 years of experience, said that they felt a sense of uncertainty about their jobs during the lockdown. However, we felt secure when we got back to work due to the safety measures taken by the company. Senior Human Resources Manager Tissa Thalagune of Ansel Lanka which manufactures gloves for the export market, said during the pandemic they received orders through the BoI and added that the company has launched a platform to upgrade production capacity. The company recruited 600 people during the crisis period. Director of the Biyagama Zone, Kalyani Boteju said that it has been a challenge to facilitate the needs of the companies with minimum staff during the time of the islandwide curfew.