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Joint Apparel Associations Forum draws 5-point plan to sustain industry’s long-term growth



The Joint Apparel Associations Forum (JAAF) has formulated a 5-point framework to coordinate the industry’s response to challenges stemming from COVID-19 and to drive stakeholder collaboration towards ensuring sustained long-term growth of Sri Lanka’s entire apparel sector.

The five points are:

ensure a safe working environment for employees

enhance backward integration

high-level collaboration with the authorities on retaining and improving export market access

position Sri Lanka’s apparel industry globally for the future, and

develop the competitiveness of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) players in the sector.

“At this crucial juncture, the entire industry must collaborate if we are to effectively address challenges stemming from the pandemic and create conducive conditions for long-term growth of the sector,” JAAF Secretary General, Tuli Cooray said. “This Five-Point Plan is a framework which all industry stakeholders can use to collaborate in achieving our shared vision for Sri Lanka.”

Action on the plan’s first priority – worker safety – has already been initiated, with an accelerated vaccination programme. As of August, 90 per cent of the workforce has received first doses, and up to 50 per cent of workers have received their second doses.

Swift progress is being made to complete vaccinating the entire workforce by the end of September 2021. Further, JAAF will continue to engage with local health authorities to ensure the industry keeps its high vaccination rate up. Next, families of staff need to be vaccinated to ensure the continued safety and well-being of the communities that employees are part of. Inoculation of unvaccinated adult family members is expected to commence soon. Sri Lanka is currently projected to vaccinate everyone over 30 by the end of September as well.

As per the guidance provided by the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Ministries of Health and Labour, besides vaccination, JAAF members have put in place the required infrastructure and safety protocols to be followed strictly to restore production while minimising the risks of future outbreaks. JAAF members are also working with employee representatives to improve awareness and thereby the safety of employees and their communities.

In enhancing backward integration, the Eravur Fabric Processing Park will be a key development. It will aid in increasing the sector’s local value addition from the current 52 to 65 per cent, a significant increase. However, the success of such initiatives would depend on the country’s ability to attract investments. JAAF expects to collaborate with the authorities to develop a conducive policy framework to attract investments to Sri Lanka for fabric production.

In addition, JAAF and its members will pursue other avenues to promote such investments – for example, by attending relevant international investor forums and leveraging existing partnerships to foster investment in Sri Lanka. Effective backward integration also requires raising the standard of locally-produced fabric (particularly by smaller participants in the industry) to globally accepted levels, for such inputs to be used for exports. This will also be an area of focus for JAAF.

JAAF will partner with the government to ensure the continuation of GSP+ by the EU; this is particularly necessary when the industry faces significant challenges in the post-pandemic world. High-level collaboration by JAAF with trade authorities will focus on both retaining and enhancing export market access for apparel exporters.

JAAF will also work to ensure continued benefits for its members from the United Kingdom’s GSP scheme, for which it will engage with Sri Lanka’s Department of Commerce (DoC) and the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) authority. JAAF will continue to seek permission for members to use fabric originating in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries for both EU and UK GSP+, which will improve supply chain flexibility.

JAAF will also engage with the Sri Lankan government on improving market access for apparel exports through bilateral trade agreements – including with the UK and via the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. Similarly, the possibility of greater penetration into the Indian market will be explored.

Further, JAAF will work towards positioning Sri Lanka as the hub for global apparel manufacturing operations. JAAF will work with local authorities to create a conducive business environment where Sri Lanka can be the headquarters for global apparel manufacturing. This would facilitate the inflow of highly skilled front-end design and development job opportunities to Sri Lanka from around the world.

In positioning Sri Lanka’s apparel sector globally for the future, especially as a premium apparel exporter, the industry will look to go beyond the success of its ‘Garments without Guilt’ initiative. Emphasis will be placed on excellence in sustainable and ethical manufacturing, aspiring to become the standard by which other countries are measured. Certain industry initiatives have already been launched (circularity in fashion, sustainability, and carbon neutrality). In fact, even today, Sri Lanka plays host to the world’s first net-zero carbon apparel manufacturing facility, the world’s highest-rated LEED platinum building, South Asia’s only Passive House, and the world’s first apparel group to have all its facilities certified as a net-zero carbon emitter.

JAAF will also work towards supporting sustainable growth in Sri Lanka’s apparel sector by adopting a series of coordinated measures to strengthen the SMEs in the industry. These initiatives will include providing assistance to improve the compliance capabilities of these players, advocating for greater government support on their behalf on aspects such as financing and export market access and engaging with the Department of Labour to improve its awareness of issues faced by the SMEs.

“This framework is also designed to measure progress and report back on all these fronts,” Cooray said. “It’s about walking the talk, and seen to be doing so.”

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‘Seylan Bank celebrates milestone 35 years of outstanding customer service’



Seylan Bank’s top management at the anniversary celebrations.

Having opened its doors in 1988, Seylan Bank, celebrated a milestone 35 years recently, of proudly serving all stakeholders with an unwavering dedication to excellence, a Seylan Bank press release said.

The release adds: ‘The special occasion was commemorated with a religious ceremony at the Millennium Branch of the bank with the participation of the Board of Directors, corporate management, staff and well-wishers. Dr P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka graced the event and delivered the keynote address. Chairman of Seylan Bank, Ravi Dias and Kapila Ariyaratne, Director/CEO, also addressed the gathering.

‘Since the opening of its first branch, Seylan Bank has expanded into an island wide network of 171 branches, 216 ATMs, 70 cash deposit machines and 96 cheque deposit kiosks as well as many Digital Banking solutions, serving a growing client base of Small and Medium Enterprises, Retail and Corporate Customers.

‘Kapila Ariyaratne, Director/CEO Seylan Bank said, “Today we are proud of our history and excited about the future. Within the past decade Seylan Bank’s total assets, deposits and advances have grown by 300%, while our revenue has grown four times and our profit after tax has doubled. While entering the 35th year, we have recorded the highest bottom line in the history of the Bank for two consecutive years. We have polished the rich culture of innovation and customer service excellence that have been hallmarks of Seylan culture from the beginning, and are more customer focused, compliant and transparent today. Seylan Bank looks to the future with excitement, energy, strength and hope to build on our excellent foundation and achieve the vision of being amongst Sri Lanka’s leading financial service providers, helping all our stakeholders achieve their good aspirations while helping our country and our people to once again achieve economic prosperity in a sustainable manner.”

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Price decline seen in all shares across the board; fluctuating trend sets in



By Hiran H. Senewiratne

CSE trading set off on a negative note yesterday but later bounced back slightly. The reason for the fluctuating trend was attributable to stock market brokers reducing their debt component, market analysts said.

Further, shares edged- down in mid- day trade on thin volumes as the market experienced selling pressures and profit- taking, an analyst said. “The market is down as the selling trend continues, as there is a price decline in all shares across the board, combined with the month ending, followed by margin calls, market analysts added.

Amid those developments both indices moved downward. The All- Share Price Index declined by 51 points and S and P SL20 went down by 11.87 points. Turnover stood at Rs 861 million with one crossing. The crossing was reported in NDB, which crossed 470,000 shares to the tune of Rs 20.2 million, its shares traded at Rs 43.

In the retail market some companies that mainly contributed to the turnover were, Lanka IOC Rs. 103.8 million (640,000 shares traded), Expolanka Holdings Rs 86 million (660,000 shares traded), ACL Cables Rs 83.4 million (one million shares traded), Sampath Bank Rs 76.4 million (1.3 million shares traded), Browns Investments Rs 38.8 million (6.2 million shares traded) and JKH Rs 32.9 million (235,000 shares traded). During the day 43.98 million share volumes changed hands in 12746 transactions.

It is said that high net worth and institutional investor participation was noted in NDB and Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings. Mixed interest was observed in Sri Lanka Telecom, Lanka IOC and Tokyo Cement Company nonvoting, while retail interest was noted in Browns Investments, LOLC Finance and Renuka Agri Foods.

The Food, Beverage & Tobacco sector was the top contributor to the market turnover (due to Browns Investments), while the sector index lost 0.49 per cent. The share price of Browns Investments recorded a loss of 10 cents, coming down to Rs. 6.40.

The Capital Goods sector was the second highest contributor to market turnover, while the sector index decreased by 1.77 per cent. Sri Lanka Telecom, Aitken Spence Hotel Holdings, NDB and Lanka IOC were also included among the top turnover contributors.

Meanwhile, in the Treasury bond market, yields were up at open on yesterday, dealers said.

A 01.07.2025 bond was quoted at 31.00/30 per cent yesterday, up from 30.75/31.00 per cent on Monday. A 15.09.2027 bond was quoted at 28.25/29.00 per cent, up from 28.10/60 per cent from Monday. The Sri Lanka rupee opened at 322/327 against the US dollar, steady from 322/325 a day earlier, Central Bank sources said.

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SLT-MOBITEL shines at Effie Awards 2022



Reiterating its commitment in demonstrating innovative campaigns that have not only set a benchmark in the industry, but also contributed to making a difference for consumers at large, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider was bestowed with two Bronze and a Merit award at the Effie Awards 2022 held recently. SLT-MOBITEL was the sole Telco provider to win awards under the Internet/Telecom category.

Organized by the Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the Effie Awards Sri Lanka edition is part of the world-renowned international awards programme, recognising all forms of effective local marketing communications that contribute to a brand’s success. The coveted event is highly anticipated and celebrated by the marketing fraternity, both locally and globally, as the most distinguished honour in the industry. The Effie Awards Sri Lanka 2022 marked its 13th edition and focused on the creative work and effectiveness of campaigns during turbulent times.

SLT-MOBITEL campaigns that won Bronze awards were the ‘Triple Buddy and ‘Non-Stop Lokka’. For the SLT-MOBITEL Mobile Triple Buddy campaign’ the company introduced a competitively priced bundle for most famous social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube, thus targeting teens and young adults. Adding to the resounding success of the campaign was the company’s brand ambassador, Falan Andrea. Her immense social media following was utilized to spread the message along with SLT-MOBITEL’s integrated media rollout which targeted every person from across Sri Lanka.

In addition, the Nostop Lokka, campaign for SLT-MOBITEL Mobile addressed competitor pressure on data access and apps. ‘Non-Stop Lokka’, offered nine (09) apps, enabling customers from all categories to connect with the most famous social media applications in a hassle-free manner. The campaign was immensely successful, with outstanding results and continued during the year positioning SLT-MOBITEL as an innovative leader.

SLT-MOBITEL Fixed received the Merit Award for its campaign SLT-MOBITEL Fibre under the theme ‘Revolutionizing the Internet with SLT-MOBITEL Fibre’. SLT-MOBITEL, recently enhanced its Fibre facility, which is Sri Lanka’s first, fastest and widest premium connectivity bandwidth to 200Mbps download speed and 100Mbps upload speed. It made the customer experience uninterrupted, with instant downloading and uploading, even with multiple devices. Also, streaming videos or watch other livestreams in Ultra HD, enjoying lowest latency for gaming and providing crystal clear UHD picture quality for PeoTV were the value additions to SLT-MOBITEL Fibre users.

Conceptualizing and partnering SLT-MOBITEL for the campaigns were Phoenix Ogilvy and Ogilvy Media.

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