Diversifying Sri Lanka’s exports and tapping into emerging markets in the Middle East, India and China were some of the issues President Gotabaya Rajapaksa discussed with exporters at a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday, June 11, states a release from the President’s Media Division.
Businessmen from the export market who met the President have been told that their range of products must be expanded and that the government would provide its fullest support by identifying and rectifying grievances and obstacles they currently face.
“We have very few export businesses which surpass 1 billion US dollars in foreign exchange income. Opportunities are available to expand this,” the President told the group, the release states.
The President is of the opinion, the release stated, that with the broad knowledge in marketing and management that the exporters have, Sri Lanka could enter new markets and take on the responsibility of strengthening the economy.
By adding value to agri products such as cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg the income potential can be increased, states the release.
Issues relating to the export of tea, apparel, coconuts and coconut based products, coconut oil, fruits, vegetables, rubber and rubber based products, information technology, minor crops including black pepper and seafood had also been discussed.
The media release also states, that government expects locals to meet their coconut consumption needs through home gardens, adding that the government has formulated plans to protect the coconut plantations and uplift that industry in the Northern and other provinces. There is a high demand for coconut based products in the global market, it has been noted.
While praising the support provided by institutions directly related to exports, such as the BOI, the Port, Airport and Customs, the Exporters had pointed out that the non-availability of fertilizer for some crops and animal feed for animal husbandry was of concern. However, the President has assured them that steps to resolve those issues have been taken.
Meanwhile, Exporters have stated that the” use of advanced technological methods to gather data of the agro harvests across the country will allow them to purchase these harvests without difficulty.”
They have pointed out that if the correct technical equipment and devises are imported, they would be able to manufacture mobile phones, telephones, laptops and computers locally at low cost.
The release added that the President had conveyed to the group attending the meeting that he would not hesitate to remove any officers of the Central Bank and State Banks who do not comply with government guidelines to pass on the relief measures introduced for the public and the business ventures. He will not hesitate to ‘remove them from their positions and continue to work with individuals who are ready to fall in line.”
“The President also said that he will take decisions without fear to deviate from the conventional thinking and work methods to overcome the recession,” the release added.