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Sri Lanka no more sees potential in apparel exports

Sri Lanka no more sees potential in apparel exports

Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe over the last few days while addressing the Graduation Ceremony of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) in Malabe and the 150th anniversary of St Mary’s College, Kegalle mentioned that a country cannot exist without a strong economy, and such an economy must be founded by the country's youth. Talking in this perspective, he also clarified that just depending on apparel exports will not help the Sri lankan economy any further, what they now need is manufacturing.

"Through enhancing the level of our economy as well as our knowledge, we can reach to the top," the Prime Minister mentioned during the event..

The Prime Minister emphasized that the graduates should not restrict to their basic educational qualifications and should see new vistas in their lives. The Premier recalled that he didn't restrict to legal sector soon after the passing out from the law faculty and sought a career in politics.

The Prime Minister said the government aims to create a knowledge-based economy and pointed out the need to raise the salary level to attract the professionals. He noted that vocational training has also been made a part of the country's school education to acquire skills demanded by new industries.

The Premier said Sri Lanka although was one of the earliest to start market economy in Asia has not developed its export industries apart from apparel industry and therefore stays in a rut. He pointed out that other countries such as that started market economy after Sri Lanka are ahead of us as they have included value addition, engineering, and manufacturing.

"We have to diversify exports, we have to find new markets, we have to innovate and we have to become competitive," the Premier further added. He specified that the time is ripe for the production of electronic items such as mobile phone accessories and even parts for robotic machines

 “We asked the University of Harvard to carry out a study on Sri Lanka’s economy. The university in turn informed us that Sri Lanka should not rely on importing apparels any more. This is a correct assessment as Sri Lanka cannot compete with countries such as Bangladesh, where the wages are lower. Therefore we need to concentrate on new export items such as electronics. We can even start manufacturing parts for mobile phones or robotic machines," the Prime Minister said.

He said there is a lot of potential for the manufacturing of robotics as china has decided to use around 4000 robotic machines for production. "There is potential for producing parts of electronic and other modern equipment. Parts of electronic and electrical goods and other modern equipment which are needed by Japan are manufactured in countries such as Thailand today," he further mentioned. He also said technology would be introduced in schools soon.

He said the government is also taking steps to strengthen the small and medium level entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka, and giving them the complete backing of the Government to enter a competitive market system.


He said the government is discussing viable pathways through which it can enter the European market. "It is our policy to conduct and maintain a healthy partnership with all entrepreneurs," the Premier said.

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