Forum for facilitation of industries
Chairing the meeting with the industrialists at the auditorium of the Ministry of Industries last week, Industries Minister Rohitha Bogllagama said that the forum for facilitation of industries will initially adopt procedures and methodology to continue the dialogue after a general over view assessment.
Matters relating to industry will be discussed and steps taken to resolve problems have to be processed and channelled and it is necessary that the industrialists should be aware of this aspect. All issues raised will be forwarded to the Prime Minister for his appraisal.
The Board of Investment will play a supporting role and the assistance and cooperation of other Ministries, Government Agencies and Trade Chambers will be sought.
Various problems faced by the industrialists were discussed at length ranging from VAT, High Customs duties levied on Industrial Raw Materials, Dumping, high Interest rates charged by the Banks, location of Industrial sites, under invoicing of goods, Power interruptions and the loss of man hours.
Also high electricity tariffs, environmental hazards, FTA, transport and lodging for workers and various other threats faced by the industrialists were taken up.
It was pointed out that to encourage small industries action should be initiated to provide power supply at low costs, improvement of roadways, telecommunication facilities, bank interest rates should be brought down to one digit and infrastructure facilities.
This would develop and harmonize the industrial sector for overall economic advancement. As the government is asking the industrial sector to generate more employment which could be done only through expansion and it is high time that cumbersome procedural requirement should be cut short to the barest minimum and "one stop shop" concept adopted without delay which would arrest the declining trend experienced in some sector of industry.
It was also pointed out that strikes and work stoppages are hampering the progress of industries and the foreign investment is driven out of the country. Therefore necessary labour reform legislation should be brought about to remedy the situation.
It was also noted that workers should be trained without keeping them raw so that they could contribute immensely towards productivity with the adoption of a market consultancy programme.
Problems relating to prawn farmers were also discussed at length and it was pointed out that this sector is the most neglected one and the banks grant no loan facilities to them, as they are required to provide a Central Bank guarantee to obtain such loans.
Bogollagama stated that all matters raised by the industrialists will be brought up before the relevant authorities and action will be taken on a fast track basis to sort out these problems both individually and collectively.
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