‘Govt should encourage local entrepreneurs with incentives’ | Daily News

‘Govt should encourage local entrepreneurs with incentives’

President elect CNCI, Ruwan Eirisinghe presenting a token to outgoing President, CNCI, Raja Hewabowila at their 58th AGM
President elect CNCI, Ruwan Eirisinghe presenting a token to outgoing President, CNCI, Raja Hewabowila at their 58th AGM

Sri Lanka should not only egg on foreign investors and pamper them but must also look at encouraging local entrepreneurs, President elect of Ceylon National Chamber of Industries (CNCI) Ruwan Eirisinghe told the 58th AGM at Hotel Taj Samudra. He succeeded Chairman/Managing Director Nippolac Group Raja Hewabowila as new CNCI Chairman

Edirisinghe said that as soon as a foreign company sings up with BOI they get so many incentives but no similar support is provided to local investors. Due to the lack of government support over 1,000 local companies have shut down, he claimed.

Edirisinghe who is also the Managing Director of RN Constructions (Pvt) Ltd said that step motherly treatment is meted out to locals, specially in the construction industry.

“Whenever a mega construction project is tendered foreigners especially Chinese win these bids since their cost is at least 20 to 30% less than Sri Lankan companies. The reason for this is that the Chinese government supports their companies especially when they vie for foreign contracts. “We cannot compete with this cost since the government does not offer such concessions to the construction industry and for us bank interest rates, US dollar fluctuation, and high construction material cost, labour other overheard and taxes are very high.”

He also said that whenever a government changes, policies also change but in recent times when ever a Minister changes new set of policies are implemented making it very difficult to plan ahead.

Edirisinghe who is also the President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce said that he was sad to note that Sri Lankan exports have dipped by great numbers.

He recalled that last month he met a Bangladeshi national who was a former security guard. “but today he, capitalizing on consistent government policies and other incentives provided by the Bangladesh government is the largest apparel exporter with 36,000 employees.”

“In 2000 Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Vietnam all exported around USS 2 billion. But last year Bangladesh exports have risen to US$ 41 billion and Vietnam to 56 billion while Sri Lanka is still struggling at around US$ 13 billion. The main reason for this is that Sri Lankan export basket is still small and banks on traditional exports such as crops and apparels.”

He said that the chamber under his leadership will press the new government to spell out long term policies. Dr. Lalith Senaweera, Chairman, Consumer Affairs Authority was the Chief Guest.


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