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Aim to end bulk rubber exports by creating value addition industries locally

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The contribution of the rubber industry to the national economy would be enhanced by establishing rubber-related industries throughout the country, Company Estate Reforms, Tea and Rubber Estates Related Crops Cultivation and Factories Modernization and Tea and Rubber Export Promotion State Minister Kanaka Herath said recently.

The Minister was addressing the inaugural ceremony of the National Entrepreneurship Programme for the Establishment of New Rubber Related Industries. The National Programme commenced from the Kegalle District and it is planned to establish 100 new Rubber-Related Industries in the Kegalle District alone.

This programme is jointly implemented by the Industrial Development Board (IDB) in collaboration with the Rubber Development Department and the Rubber Secretariat under the supervision of the State Ministry of Plantations. It is proposed to implement such programmes especially in the rubber growing districts, which will provide the entrepreneurs aspiring to enter the rubber-related manufacturing sector with the knowledge, attitude, technical aspects, know-how and all aspects, including financing as well.

Besides, those budding entrepreneurs will be assisted to overcome the burning issue of fulfilling the initial capital jointly by the State Ministry and banks.

Under this move the State Ministry provides those new entrepreneurs with a non-refundable financial assistance to meet the start-up costs of the business. In addition, the IDB provides them with the necessary technical knowledge.

Although our country is a high quality rubber producer in the world, the output is often exported as a raw material without adding value. However, the State Minister pointed out that more foreign exchange could be earned by setting up local rubber-related industries so as to add value to the local rubber production and turning it into a finished product instead of exporting it as a raw material.

The Minister said that on an average, about 600 rubber parts were used in a car and the primary goal was to manufacture at least a few of them in the country as a starting point. Apart from the automotive industry, there was already a very good market for rubber-related products in many fields including sports, medical, naval, defence, transportation and many more. He noted that local manufacturers could have vast opportunity to reap greater benefits from entering the export market.

Parallel to the programme, a study would be carried out on rubber products imported into the country and some of them will be manufactured locally. Plans were afoot to manufacture other rubber products in the country by gradually uplifting the rubber related industries and in the final stage of this process it is planned to manufacture all the imported rubber related products locally, State Minister Herath said.

“We look forward to enlisting of small and medium scale local industrialists in the process,” he said.

State Minister Herath emphasised a country had to have a production economy to achieve economic prosperity. He noted that greater economic benefits could be achieved through the addition of value to local raw materials.

Tilakaratne Banda, Secretary to the State Ministry said that the main objective of the programme was to implement a significant number of new entrepreneurs in the rubber-related industry especially through the eight rubber growing districts.

Only an average of 50 per cent of the rubber based products used in our country were produced locally and accordingly there was a huge trade gap for rubber production in the local market as well. Therefore, it would not be a challenging task for a local manufacturer to enter the rubber based manufacturing sector and win the market, the Minister said.



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CEBEU guns for ex-Chairman Ferdinando

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by Ifham Nizam

The Ceylon Electricity Board Engineers Union (CEBEU) Friday  said that they are in the process of collecting evidence against former Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando over the recent statement he made on a proposed power project with India.

A senior engineer said that there is a high possibility that the seasoned civil servant dragged President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to disrepute because he didn’t see eye to eye with the President.

Eng. Isuru Kasthuriratne, a committee member of the CEBEU and Project Engineer – Mannar Wind Power Project of the Board said they would never allow former chairman to get away easily.

“There are always controversies about him. We would not let this case go. We are in touch with all bodies,” he said.

Kasthuriratne said that very relevant documents were authored and authorized by the former chairman and “he cannot simply say he is not aware of this and that.”

Ferdinando on June 11, tendered his resignation following the controversy he sparked over the planned 500 MW unsolicited wind power project here by India’s Adani group.

“The Adani group at first proposed to sell power to the CEB at 6.50 US cents per unit,” CEBEU President Anil Ranjith told journalists recently.

Despite numerous attempts, the former CEB chairman was not available for comment.

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Dilshan Wirasekara, new CSE Chairman

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The Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) announced the appointment of Dilshan Wirasekara as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the CSE with effect from Friday (24).

Wirasekara has served on the Board of the CSE since 21st November 2017 and succeeds Dumith Fernando, who steps down as the Chairman after completing his two-year tenure.

Wirasekara is the Director/Chief Executive Officer of one of the leading investment banking firms, First Capital Holdings PLC, offering a diverse range of financial services in Government Securities, Corporate Finance and Advisory, Asset Management and Stock Brokering, which he has been part of since 2013.

He currently is the chairman of the Investment Subcommittee of the CSE and also serves on the Risk and Audit Committee of the CSE as well as the CSE/SEC joint committees on Digitalization and the Central Counter Party System (CCP).

An Investment banker by profession with a career spanning over 26 years, comprising diversified expertise in financial services, including banking, treasury and investment management, capital market strategy, and corporate finance advisory services.

Wirasekara specializes in Asset and Liability Risk Management, having secured the accolade of leading and representing two Sri Lankan companies in winning the International Bank Asset and Liability competition organized annually by the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), German Investment Corporation (DEG), and Proparco – a subsidiary of the Agence Française de Development (AFD).

Wirasekara is an alumnus of INSEAD, having completed his Executive Professional Education at INSEAD Business School in Fontainebleau, France. He is also an alumnus of AOTS, Tokyo, Japan.

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NCE on Govt’s focus on directing public servants to private sector employment

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National Chamber of Exporters has given the a proposal to the Prime Minister and copied it to the Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government on providing employment opportunities to government servants in the private sector companies for a specified period.

The Chamber said in a release: Through Media sources we got to know that The Ministry of Public Administration has appointed a committee to look into the possibility of granting five years of leave to government employees to work in the private sector.

Its states that a seven-member committee has been appointed for this purpose and that the said committee is to submit its report to the Cabinet of Ministers within two weeks.

Sri Lankan exporters are proposing to absorb public sector employees for employment in the sector to relieve the burden of wages and related costs on the Government.

The Export Sector has been able to sustain business and has also reached the pre pandemic level of an average of USD.01 billion export revenue during the period January to April 2022. Before the dawn of the pandemic, exporters were facing difficulties with lack of skilled workers. However, during the pandemic, many exporters were compelled to downsize operations and lay off employees which has created a vacuum in crucial areas of operations.

In current scenario, considering the financial burden and the reportedly excessive workforce attached to the public sector, NCE member exporters are proposing following options in reaching a win-win agreement for both government and the export sector. It is to be noted that labour requirements of exporters vary according to the relevant industry, yet in general all categories could be considered.

1. Any government employee in the permanent carder is eligible to apply for employment in the export sector, excluding from following institutions as they are involved in law enforcement in the country which may lead to conflict of interests.

a) Department of Police

b) Department of Inland Revenue

c) Department of Customs

d) Department of Excise

 2.Government to grant unpaid leave up to a maximum of 59 months.

 3.Employer will offer a “Temporary Labour Contract “to such selected individuals which include: –

 a) Period of contract for 59 months (because on completion of the 60th month, the employee will be eligible for Gratuity.)

b) Their employment will be in accordance with the laws and statutes under which the respective private sector company’s  employees of similar cadre is employed.

c) Leave entitlement as per employer’s policy on leave

d) Employment contract can be terminated with either party giving 30 days’ written notice.

e) In case of maternity leave, a number of stipulated days will be available as unpaid leave.

f)  At the end of 59 months, the government to absorb such individuals back to the public sector employment as per pertinent rules and regulations.

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