|Friday, 28 January 2005|
EDB positive of Rs. 600 billion target on exports in 2005
by Ramani Kangaraarachchi
The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) is positive of achieving its Rs. 600 billion target on exports in 2005 despite the losses following the tsunami disaster. Sixty percent of the total exports will be from the apparel sector as we have access to a number of niche markets.
Hundred key buyers have been identified in the UK. There could be only about Rs 2.6 billion difference in this target, Chairman EDB Rohantha Athukorala told a panel discussion on the Impact of Tsunami on Business and Economy: Strategies for the Building Nation at the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce auditorium on Wednesday.
He said that the EDB could make the tsunami disaster an opportunity to rebuild the nation through proper implementation of the new strategy.
The EDB has made arrangements to get a data base of 4,000 exporters from the customs by February 15 as lack of an accurate data base has become the main problem to get the right values. The EDB is currently having a data base of only 2,000 exporters, he said.
The EDB teams are visiting every house of the SME sector people affected by tsunami assessing the damage caused to their machinery and equipment to provide loans under the Susahanaya loans scheme.
The government has allocated Rs. 1,000 billion to develop the SME sector and arrangements have been made to train personnel in Singapore with the necessary skills.
There is a huge demand for Sri Lankan coir products from countries such as UK and Korea. Temporary shelters have been set up at Gintota and Telwatta to start coir production.
The EDB is in the process of selecting the machinery. Atukorala said that there are 1,000 metric tons of coir stuck in Kurunegala due to tsunami and arrangements will be made to send them to the south as soon as possible to start production.
US$ 56,000 have been allocated to brand the jewellery with the assistance of a person specialised in jewellery from UK. Under the SME development anthurium flowers also have a high demand in Japan and Rs 680 million have been allocated for this project.
Meanwhile the EDB will set up three regional centres in Jaffna, Trincomalee and Ampara districts which will be linked with the main EDB office in Colombo. Regional branches at Galle and Kurunegala are in operation at present. These strategies will be developed to assist exporters to stand on their feet, he said.
Produced by Lake House