Plans to strengthen Kuwait-Sri Lanka economic ties
KUWAIT: Strengthening economic cooperation in keeping with Mahinda
Chintana will be the top priority of the new Sri Lankan Ambassador in
S. A. C. M. Zuhyle who assumed duties as Sri Lankan envoy in the
state of Kuwait told the Daily News here that he had already started
work in establishing a closer economic cooperation between the two
"Such cooperation will benefit both countries and the island could
attract substantial investments from the oil rich country to fund
several upcoming projects in Sri Lanka," Ambassador Zuhyle said.
He added that he has appointed three Business Promotion Officers to
promote Sri Lankan trade in the emirate.
"These Sri Lankan officers who are proficient in the local language
will visit various commercial establishments to fulfill their
assignments to establish new contacts," he noted, adding that they will
also try to procure employment opportunities for Sri Lankan youths.
Zuhyle who had come here, six weeks ago, said that he had already
started working on projecting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination in this
part of the Gulf. "A lot of Arabs go to Bangkok, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Why not Sri Lanka?", he asked, pointing out that he was able to send
a team of travel agents to Colombo on a familiarisation tour so that
they could effectively sell Sri Lanka at their counters. The tour has
been arranged by SriLankan Airlines in cooperation with his embassy.
"These agents will tour the island for seven days and see for
themselves what Sri Lanka could offer Kuwaiti tourists." The group also
comprise two local journalists who would write feature articles on Sri
Lanka on their return to Kuwait, he noted.
Kuwait has a Sri Lankan population of 100,000 workers and most of
them are domestic aides. The envoy said that the recruitment of
housemaids to the emirate could be streamlined through proper
He said the housemaids who are sent to Kuwait should have a basic
knowledge of Arabic and English and they should also be aware of the
local cultural environment of the country.
Furthermore, he added that they should be physically fit to serve in
this part of world which has a climate alien to their country.
Zuhyle said that he had already intimated these ideas to the Sri
Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment which he hoped would take effective
measures to remedy the existing problems.
Zuhyle attributed most of the labour problems to misunderstandings
between the sponsor and the housemaid.
"Most of the problems were solved amicably through negotiations
between the two parties," he said, claiming that he was able to bring
the number of housemaids detained in the mission's safehouse from 400 to
"We understand the difficulties of the maids who come here in search
of greener pastures, but we cannot be oblivious to the difficulties of
the Kuwait sponsors who spend large sums of Kuwaiti Dinars to recruit
maidservants from the island," he stressed.
The envoy pointed out that there is a plenty of employment
opportunities in supermarkets, hotels and factories in Kuwait. He said
that he is working out a plan to request these establishments to recruit
Sri Lankan youths who pass out from the various technical training
institutes in Sri Lanka.