Sri Lanka to modernise plastic sector with US$ 1.75mn investment, sets 40% growth target

Sri Lanka’s plastic industry will get a new boost when the Industry Ministry and UNIDO will soon launch a national initiative to upgrade it. "As our per capita plastic consumption is set to increase from current 6 Kg to 8 Kg and plastic has become an indispensable item in our lives and manufacturing, I believe this is the right time to strengthen this sector and we are launching a new national initiative with UNIDO which aims to increase production and income volumes by almost 40%," said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 10 May in Colombo.

Bathiudeen announced this in the aftermath of an in-depth discussion and presentation to the Minister by the visiting International Centre for Advancement of Manufacturing Technology (ICAMT) delegation on 10 May at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The ICAMT is the ISO 9001:2008 certified International Technology Centre operated by UNIDO and located in Bangalore, India. The ICAMT delegation was meeting Minister Bathiudeen as part of Colombo UNIDO’s initiative to upgrade and modernise Sri Lanka’s plastic industry technology.

"The initial project value is $ 1.75 Mn and we want to go into a detailed assessment of our plastic sector before commencing the modernisation assistance" revealed Nawaz Rajabdeen, UNIDO National Director for Sri Lanka who is facilitating the new initiative.

According to UNIDO, annual plastics consumption in Sri Lanka is close to 140,000 metric tonnes, with an estimated growth rate of 10-12%. More than 900 businesses in Sri Lanka are engaged in plastics processing for both domestic & international market, the bulk of them being in SME scale. 440 companies are engaged in direct plastic exports in 2009 with 88% of them being finished products exporters and rest 12% are raw materials and waste exporters. Among the finished products exports, 60% were packaging materials / packaging goods of plastics. Cellulose and its Chemical derivatives constitute the highest export value among the primary forms of plastic exports taking 6% of the total plastic exports in 2009. USA is the dominant buyer of plastic exports over the last number of years taking 40% of the total exports.

Revealing more details of the initiative, Bathiudeen said: "Plastic industry holds high potential for Sri Lanka’s rural sector. This initiative will address modernisation, employment, productivity, production quality as well as export growth. Therefore it has a wider reach. It will also help us to reach the producers, most of whom are SMEs deserving support. I thank UNIDO for this timely intervention."

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