Virus alert: Biz sector watching economic impact | Daily News
 Call for coordinated private sector response :

Virus alert: Biz sector watching economic impact

 Briefed by Govt : Construction, trade could be hit:

It is vital for Sri Lanka’s business community to share information and coordinate strategies to respond to possible economic impacts of the global Coronavirus epidemic, business community leaders told the Daily News. “We should exchange information as to how the virus threat affects business in each sector and arrive at possible solutions,” the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) said. Construction, tourism and shipping industry leaders and experts also echoed these sentiments. While they stressed that there was no imminent negative impacts, they agreed that longer term negatives could be avoided with careful coordination of sectoral strategies and guidance from the Government.All sectors indicated that they were being continuously briefed by the Government and health authorities.

The National Chamber official said : “China is considered to be the second largest economy in the world.

The outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus would have a strong impact on the Chinese economy, Global economy and Sri Lankan economy as well.

Around 37% of tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka in 2019 was from China. If this situation continues, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector would experience difficulties in the near future. Furthermore, there are many infrastructure development projects that Chinese nationals are engaged in, in Sri Lanka. Many of these workers have returned to their homeland for New Year celebrations and are yet to return to Sri Lanka. There could be possible delays in arrivals and that will affect the delivery of such projects.

“Production and manufacturing processes in China would be disrupted under this situation and it may affect the trading business in Sri Lanka, as well as supply chain value added businesses at large. Therefore, it would be wise for the business community to commence discussions on identifying issues that they are facing in each sector and arrive at possible solutions.”

Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka (CCI), CEO Nissanka N.Wijeratne said that a large number of Chinese nationals were working in the construction industry in Sri Lanka. “Following the Chinese new year holidays they were to return to the island. In that case, if there are any new arrivals, the health authorities should take prompt action to quarantine them.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in a release said, “The Chinese authorities have taken all the precautionary measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. China has instructed Chinese tourists and workers in construction sites in Sri Lanka and from epidemic areas to cancel their plans to visit the island.

Issuing a press statement, the Government Information Department noted that Chinese authorities have responded to the epidemic with the highest attention, and have taken strict measures to control it from spreading further.

CEO of Shippers’ Academy Colombo and logistics expert Rohan Masakorala said the best way to face the current situation is to follow the WHO guidelines.

“Overreaction could be harmful to the economy. When you overreact, every action, every industry will get disturbed. This will contribute to the slowing down of all the industries. Tourism is already affected. Overreaction is not good for the economy,” Masakorala, a former Shippers’ Council chairman, told the Daily News. “By taking precautionary steps, the fear can be eliminated. No need to panic,” he added.

Ceylon Chamber of Commerce officials declined to comment.

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