B’desh turmoil revives local apparel industry



By Mario Andree


Board of Investment acting Chairman and a member of the Apparel Association Channa Palansooriya said that the internal conflicts in Bangladesh has increased the demand for Sri Lankan apparels, but the local industry was facing a severe shortage of workers.


He said that false propaganda had claimed closure of factories, but there were hardly any shutdown, while others merged to form new companies.


He said prior to 2005 there were more than 800 factories operating under the quota system which merged and created 350 strong and stable companies afterwards.


According to him the apparel sector is facing a shortage of 7,800 employees.


He also rejected allegations that many BOI factories were employing large number of cheap foreign labour and no job opportunities were created for locals.


He said according to BOI agreements, companies could employee certain expertise from the international labour market, however, the majority of jobs were provided to locals.


Also, the apparel association had requested the government to support the establishment of small and medium apparel manufacturing units to sustain industry growth which hoped to achieve US$ 5 billion exports in the next two years, he said.


He said there were many Sri Lankan experts in Bangladeshi factories who were keen on becoming entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka and they needed to be encouraged.


Sri Lankan apparel manufacturers who expanded to Bangladesh for cheap labour was expanding their businesses in Sri Lanka with the Bangladeshi government demanding an 80 percent wage hike.


Investment Promotions Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that the shortage of staff in the apparel sector was due to many Sri Lankans migrating to Korea, Italy and West Asia (Middle East) for better prospects, they should be encouraged to work in Sri Lankan factories, he said.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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