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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

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To reduce loss of foreign exchange:

SL to set up Life Sciences Parks

In the wake of Sri Lanka’s industry sector showing a strong 7.3% growth in Q3-2012, the country is mulling a dedicated park for life sciences development.

“A dedicated zone for Life Sciences is being planned for the production of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to reduce the loss of foreign exchange,” revealed Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka.

Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the Key Persons Forum (KPF) at Queen’s Hotel in Kandy on January 15, where more than 100 reps from various industries in Central Sri Lanka anxiously gathered to meet him to directly consult on various industrial issues faced by them.

The January 15 KPF was organised by the Small and Medium Enterprise Developers (SMED) arm of FCCISL and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Central Province, in collaboration with the Asia Foundation and supported by the Australian Agency for International Development.

“The government has set up my ministry with a large amount of funds to serve you, the industrialists of the country.

But we believe that Lankan industrialists are not making use of our resouces sufficiently or reaping the maximum benefits offered by our ministry. Remember, we are here to assist you,” stressed Minister Bathiudeen.

During the lengthy and in-depth Kandy KPF session, Minister Bathiudeen, along with his top officials from the Department of Commerce, EDB (regional), successfully addressed many issues faced by central regional industrialists, on the spot.

Among the issues addressed were Kandyan industries to international markets through the Export Development Board, facilitation of region’s SME sector for international trade fairs, land and tax issues faced by them.

Interestingly, during the same session, Minister Bathiudeen also volunteered to address several issues beyond his ministry’s scope –such as farming issues in various micro sectors in the region and also Kandy tourism promotion. “For today’s initiative to be fruitful, we need to continue similar sessions in future as well,” said WMR Manager of Woodworld Enterprises, Pallekele, Kandy.

“Our doors are always open for you, the regional entrepreneurs. You can directly contact us at any time for an appointment for discussion, where our officials would take up the matter immediately,” Minister Bathiudeen assured.

More than 150 firms of every scale are functioning in the Kandyan region, providing direct and indirect employment to a workforce exceeding 9000.

Plastics, woodcraft, jewellery, stationery, umbrellas, vehicle body fittings and brass are among leading medium to large scale industries in the region.

“Our industry sector has been able to show an impressive growth rate of 10.3 percent in 2011 for the second consecutive year, contributing to the year’s 8.3 percent GDP growth.

In the first, second and third quarters of 2012, the industry sector grew by 10.8 percent, 9.5 percent and 7.3 percent respectively.

We believe that the behavior of the industry sector needs to be more strategic, focused and energetic, so that it becomes a viable input to achieve $ 20 billion exports by year 2020.”

 

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