Apparel exports muster US$ 4.3 b in first nine months | Sunday Observer

Apparel exports muster US$ 4.3 b in first nine months

27 November, 2022

The Sri Lanka apparel manufacturing industry, despite several obstacles, has achieved an export revenue of USD 4.3 billion up to September this year.

This was announced at the 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) in Colombo.

The sector aims to achieve an export value of USD 8 billion in 2023, said CEO Eskimo Fashion Knitwear (Pvt) Ltd, Indika Liyanahewage and newly elected Chairman of SLAEA.

He said to successfully achieve this goal the apparel sector needs the fullest support of the Government in few specific areas such as taxation, free trade agreements, labour reforms, mandatory dollar conversions and DO charges or lost recovery charges.

Liyanahewage said that the task is possible and the apparel sector is ambitiously willing to achieve it.

Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe, the chief guest, said that paying tax is vital for the country. Increasing the share of tax revenue in GDP is an instrumental objective of economic development policy while Sri Lanka has not been successful in raising adequate tax revenue to meet its needs.

Outlining the importance of paying tax, the Governor said that tax is not a major barrier for business growth. If we had real tax revenue we would have been able to reduce borrowings. He said today’s debt crisis is due to heavy borrowings over a long period.

Therefore, he said paying tax is mandatory and urged tax payers to honestly disclose revenue and if there are any genuine issues, Government officials can be flexible to facilitate them.

Dr. Weerasinghe said the total value addition in Sri Lanka’s exports is recorded at 23% while the apparel sector has contributed 14%.

The guest of honour was US Ambassador in Colombo Julie J. Chung.


Entirely private sector operated

By Claude Gunasekera

Sri Lanka’s apparel and textile manufacturing industry is entirely a privately operated sector, vibrantly contributing to the economy, Chairman, Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Suresh de Mel told Sunday Observer Business.

“Sri Lanka has built a reputation as a world-class apparel sourcing destination for the global fashion industry for over three decades while productivity and speed are hallmarks of the industry. The Sri Lankan apparel industry is known around the world for its adherence to ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices,” he said.

He said that earnings from merchandise exports increased to US$ 10 billion in September 2022 and was mainly due to the increase in export earnings from apparel and textiles, tea, gems and jewellery, electrical and electronic components and spices and essential oils as per the data released by the Customs.