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FTZ apparel exports increases to USD 8.5 billion in 2022

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Out of USD 12.5 Bn export revenue nearly 45% is generated from apparel sector:

Despite the global economic downturn, the Free Trade Zone Manufacturers› Association (FTZMA) apparel exports increased by USD 400 million in 2022.

The revenue generated from appeal exports in 2022 was USD $ 8.5 billion and this figure was at USD 8.1 billion in 2021 showing an improvement of USD 400 million. Secretary FTZMA, Dhammika Fernando, (PICTURED) said that they witnessed a downturn in the last two quarters in 2022 mainly due to political unrest originating from the Russia Ukraine war and other political and economic developments.

“We expect this negative trend to continue in 2023’s first two quarters as well.”

In addition to global negative trends several issues have also emerged in Sri Lanka which has led to an increase of production. “This is resulting in fast losing our competitive edge in the global market.”

This has also resulted in some of the large apparel exporters downsizing their operations in Sri Lanka and shifting their focus to facilities overseas. There are 273 factories operating in these EPZs with nearly 140,000 employees and downsizing will result in employment loss which will create a burden on the economy. Fernando said that one of the biggest issues is the high tax and also increased labor and electricity and fuel costs.

The investors and foreign expatriates working in Sri Lanka are also ‘upset’ that the authorities are forcing them to pay new taxes that were introduced recently effective from two months ago. FTZMA said that these issues were brought to the notice of the Board of Investment (BOI), but with no response. Sri Lanka’s annual merchandise exports last year were $ 12.5 billion and of that nearly 45% is generated from the apparel sector and we expect a more responsible stand towards us from the government.”

He however said that they are thankful for BOI for implementing the five-year visa regulation for foreign employees.


Thursday, February 16, 2023 – 01:00

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