Continue operations amidst COVID-19; EDB tells businesses

Continue operations amidst COVID-19; EDB tells businesses

Continue operations amidst COVID-19; EDB tells businesses

Written by Zeenath Musafer

30 Oct, 2020 | 10:55 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): The Export Development Board (EDB) has encouraged all businesses especially those in the export sector to continue operations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘’Most of the zones and factories are operating and we have been encouraging all export factions to function by following all the health guidelines,’’ the EDB’s chairman Prabhash Subasinghe said.

He stressed that exports are a national priority, and the government shares the same stance on the continuity of export operations.

‘‘During a recent meeting under the patronage of Basil Rajapaksa, he basically gave clear instructions to the military, police, that export businesses must function,” Subasinghe added.

Sri Lanka’s export businesses have already adapted to the post COVID-19 era, and while the pandemic continues ‘’the world needs to learn to manage and get through this time period’’, the EDB chair pointed out.

He said the second COVID-19 wave in Sri Lanka paired with recent curfews may have an impact on export businesses, but it was ‘’too early to predict the impact’’ of a second wave on exports, and that it ‘‘will depend on the situation during the next few weeks’’.

‘’If Sri Lanka can address this situation, then we would probably be back to normal. And that is what we are all hoping for,’’ he said.

Despite negative pre-COVID-19 predictions, Sri Lanka’s export performance has been satisfactory he added.

‘At the inception of COVID, the World Bank predicted trade to reduce by 30 percent. But as of now, global trade has only reduced by 10 percent. I think that was also another reason why Sri Lanka was doing exceptionally well during the last few months,’’ Subasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s exports reached US$ 1,001.27 Mn in September this year, the third time exports surpassed the US$ 1 Bn mark in 2020. Exports in September recorded a positive growth of 5.16%, as compared to the value of US$ 952.1 Mn recorded in September 2019. Moreover, earnings from merchandise exports in September 2020 increased by 5.65 % compared with the value recorded in August 2020.

Prabhash Subasinghe added that the EDB’s mission has always focused on supporting export businesses, through market development, product diversification & promotion, and capacity building. Stressing the importance of export diversification, he added, the EDB is currently in the process of creating an environment that would facilitate the expansion of Sri Lanka’s export basket.

‘’The EDB worked hard to make businesses operational during the first COVID-19 wave. And we are doing that again,‘’ Subasinghe said.

The EDB is currently working with Sri Lankan missions overseas, on a country strategic plan, to match products to specific countries and open the doors to Sri Lankan exporters.

‘‘We have created a sense of urgency for Sri Lanka to understand and accept that exports are a national priority. I think we have done that extremely successful this year,’’ he added.

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