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Give relief to forex earning industrialists – CNCI Chief

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The Sri Lankan industrialists require relief in the cost of Power, Water and Fuel and most importantly a business-friendly tax system.

It is high time that the authorities take a very serious look at the foreign currency saved by the local manufactures, which is a justification to this request, said Chairman of Ceylon National Chamber of Industries Kevin Edwards at their 22nd annual CNCI Aachiever Awards at Hotel Galadari last week.

The Print Media Sponsor for the event was the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited.

“We hope that the manufacturing sector will be given some relief if there is a hike in the cost of electricity in the future.”

The Sri Lankan industrial sector has its share of challengers, where they always face stiff competition with the imported goods on pricing.

“We have seen some of the manufacturing industries downsizing, relocation outside Sri Lanka or even venturing to trading rather than manufacturing. These business or corporate decisions could be attributed to the high cost of raw materials, the applicable import taxes, energy, water, wages, which is linked to the cost of living and inflation and the unhealthy corporate tax regime.”

Even with these challenges some of the local industries did manage to keep their heads above water, when importation of some of the finished goods was temporarily suspended. “However, the scenario has now changed.”

He said that at present Sri Lankans manufacture some of the best quality branded products, but the cost of the finished product is so high that they are not price competitive. This is due to the high cost of production. He also acknowledged the assistance given to the manufacturing sector by officials of the Ministry of Industries, in making the necessary recommendations facilitating the importation of some of the Raw material and intermediately goods which were under temporary suspension.

Commenting on the series of proposed FTA’s the government is contemplating, he said that the Thailand FTA is scheduled to be finalized during the first quarter of 2024.

“We as industrialists do have concerns with such FTA, when goods manufactured locally are permitted to be imported under such FTA with preferential import tariffs. “

“We strongly recommend that such goods be subject to a Pre Import Registration and to be guided by Standards which should be finally approved by the Sri Lanka Standards Institute and also ensuring that all local manufactures are protected including its employees.”

He recalled that it was the CNCI with a history of over 60 Years, was the first to design an awarding scheme for the Sri Lankan Industry in recognizing the industries for their achievements. Minister of Industries and Minister of Health, Dr.Ramesh Pathirana was the Chief Guest.

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