Sri Lankan apparel makers seek concessions to import labour | Daily News

Sri Lankan apparel makers seek concessions to import labour


Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister for National Policies and Economic Affairs Harsha de Silva recently said the nation’s apparel industry is seeking government concessions to import labour from regional economies, such as Nepal and Bangladesh, to tackle shortage of skilled labour.

Thousands of jobs are vacant in the apparel sector in the industrial zones, he said. 

The Deputy Minister, however, expressed doubts over the sustainability of the apparel industry, even if it was allowed to import labour.

Though the sector has served Sri Lanka reasonably well for the past several decades, it will have very limited scope to move forward unless it upgrades itself to the next level by focussing on high-tech and designer apparel, he said. Only a few Sri Lankan companies have invested in such high-end technologies at present. 

Labourers are not keen to take up low-level jobs in the apparel industry, the Deputy Minister added.

He was speaking at a seminar on US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) organised by the Sri Lanka-USA Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. 

Some other sectors, such as shipbuilding, construction and plantations, have also shown interest in importing labour due to the same reason, but protectionist elements are resisting such attempts, according to a Sri Lankan English-language daily


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This seems to be a new twist. The many apparel industries set up under the stewardship of President Premadasa termed industrialization were nothing but tailor shops - the sale of cheap labour to the industrialised countries. Interestingly Deputy Minister Harsha now seeks to drum up patronage for importing labour to service this sector. The apparel industries provided a great avenue for earning much needed foreign exchange therefore permitting local apparel manufacturers to import labour amounts to a negation of this excercise. The country has several unemployed people and opening the doors to foreignors only increases the number of unemployed persons. Therefore the claim of apparel manufacturers should be dismissed as it is detrimental to the economy as it also opens the doors to undesireables to enter the country.

The witch-hunt and blaming of the previous governments since the UNPers took the governing seats in the Parliament...Oh please tell us.. when will they stop!!. Will there have to be another election to remove the square pegs in round holes and bring in an intelligent lot to steer the nation's ship back on to the right course. We had a very efficient apparel industry and some super efficient workforce that produced goods of very high quality, fitting filling the shelves of Harrods's and Marks and Spence of London. If it is the machinery that the square pegs in round holes are complaining about, why not replace them with the modern and give those very skilled and efficient workers, new machinery to work on. As for the money...stop the peoples money been spent on new cars to the politicians. Ninety percent of them do not deserve over a single of our twenty four million normal folk.

When apparrel sector employees need a decent remuneration, all they are given is undue stress for a much underpaid job. Why dont the industry owners distribute a small percentage of their fat bottom lines to the hard working people. The real industry killers are the greedy entrepreneurs themselves.


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