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Twenty five per cent decline in apparel exports expected this year

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by Hiran H. Senewiratne

The decline in our total  apparel exports would be by 25 percent this year on account of the pandemic. This would make a considerable dent in the US $ 4 billion foreign exchange earned annually through apparel exports. But the apparel sector will be able to come out of this crisis stronger than before due to government support, Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) chairman A.Sukumaran said.

Sukumaran was addressing a media round table conference on Tuesday at the Movenpick hotel in Colombo.

He said that JAAF expects further demand contractions that could result in reductions in apparel exports by an additional 30-40 percent after June, in its best-case scenario. 

Sukumaran said that Covid 19 affects the apparel supply chain, the export market and due to that the industry is unable to fulfil certain obligations. 

” Our industry also builds on three pillars;  one is being a reliable supplier and all business practices follow high ethical standards.”

‘The apparel sector is the single largest exporter contributing seven percent to the country’s GDP. When it comes to industrial exports it contributes 59 percent. The industry’s total export earnings is 49 percent, he said.

 ‘Following this, the social stigma surrounding apparel workers too was expected to have an impact on the apparel sector, Brandix chairman Ashroff Omar said.

He said that  his Minuwangoda factory is functioning on a small scale even after detecting the first Covid 19 patient in October. ” We are looking after all employees and  police,  CID, PHIs, Labour Department and other relevant parties are closely watching our operations, which follow all Health Ministry protocols, Omar said.

‘Most of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the sector depend on fabrics and accessories supplied from China and the disruption of the supply chain due to the global outbreak of the virus affected exporters severely in the first half of this year, former JAAF chairman Noel Piyathilake said.

He said that there are 81 factories out of which 37 are direct exporters and 41  subcontractors, which provide 25000 employment and 15 percent export earnings. “The SME sector is also supporting the informal sector as well. If the SME sector is affected those informal sectors also suffer, Piyathilake said.            

Sri Lanka last year earned US $ 5.3 billion from apparel exports, an increase of 5.1 per cent  from 2018. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the industry originally expected a 6 percent  increase in exports for 2020.

Export earnings from apparel and textiles in October declined by 18.93  percent to US $ 356.52 million and by 21 percent  to US $ 3.6 billion in the first 10 months of 2020 from a year earlier. 



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SLT-MOBITEL AkazaLMS enables corporate employee capability development

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As SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT solutions service provider, continues to play a pivotal role in driving Sri Lanka’s digital transformation through its Cloud-managed offering, SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS takes centre-stage as the nation’s leading Learning Management System (LMS). SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS offers a unique, locally developed, comprehensive enterprise learning solution designed to cater to diverse training needs without compromising on quality.

Commenting on the initiative Chief Enterprise & Wholesale Officer of SLT, Lakmal Jayasinghe said “Especially in today’s competitive environment where human capital is more important than ever, companies need to create a learning strategy that aligns to robust curricula, employing relevant and available learning methods and technology. Addressing this need, SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS Cloud is an enterprise e-learning solution hosted in Sri Lanka on the top of a private cloud, providing corporate and institutional customers the ability to deliver their own learning material to their users with zero cost infrastructure. With greater convenience and without additional IT resources, customers have access to their own training needs via a simple web browser”.

Empowering corporates and educational institutes, SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS is a comprehensive locally developed platform, containing a self-portal where the user develops their own e-learning and purchase it as a SaaS product. Especially during these challenging times, when classroom lectures are not possible and distance learning methods vital, the SLT-Mobitel AkazaLMS facilitates exams, assignments, quizzes, etc. tailor-made and customised for corporates and educational institutes targeting their own specific needs.

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LIOC shows stability in earnings and margins compared to volatility during previous years

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First Capital expects stability in LIOC earnings and margins ahead, compared to the significant volatility witnessed during the previous years.

“With the new pricing formula, we expect a stable outlook for LIOC which is currently trading at a TTM PER of 7.5x on FY22 earnings while also trading at a PBV of 1.5x”, they said.

“The government’s implementation of the new fuel pricing formula on 24th May 22 includes all costs incurred in importing, unloading, distributing to the stations and taxes. With that, fuel prices will be revised on a monthly basis, and if necessary, it will be reviewed every two weeks. Accordingly, the next price revision was scheduled for 24th Jun 22. Considering the price revision, In addition to that, Sri Lanka’s Cabinet has approved a bill to impose a 2.5% tax on companies with an annual turnover of LKR 120.0Mn, which will only have a marginal effect on company margins.”

“With regards to investment in joint venture, LIOC has invested in Trinco Petroleum Terminal (Pvt) Ltd (TPT) in Jan-22 and acquired 49% of the stake with CPC which holds 51% of the ownership of TPT in order to develop 61 tanks at the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm and allied facilities in the Upper Tank Farm of the China Bay Oil Tank Farm. Also, LIOC has entered into a Lease of State Land with the Government of Sri Lanka for a term of fifty years to develop the Lower Tank Farm of the China Bay Oil Tank Farm,” First Capital said.

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Apprenticeship programme in partnership with Hatch MakerStudio and Vocational Training Authority

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From left: : Krishantha Pathiraja, Chairman at Palmyrah Development Board, Florian Manderschied, Head Maker at Hatch MakerStudio, Brindha Selvadurai, CEO and Co- Founder, Hatch, Eranga Basnayake, CEO and Chairman of Vocational Training Authority, Mahesh Ariyarathne, Vice Chairman of VTA

The next generation of Sri Lanka’s industry workforce is currently studying at Technical and Vocational Education and Training institutes (​​TVET) all over the country. Since the manufacturing technology is under permanent development, the requirements for TVET graduates have also evolved. In order to address the industry’s needs for skilled and competent workers, the Vocational Training Authority and Hatch MakerStudio have joined forces to pilot an innovative apprenticeship programme.

The apprenticeship programme is designed for students in the field of mechatronics, robotics, automation and CNC-technologies and is focusing on the upskill, entrepreneurial mindset and problem solving capabilities. Together with industry partners, the selected apprentices will undergo a one month training programme at Hatch MakerStudio before being placed in the companies. The programme comprises of:

Product development training

Software and rapid prototyping training

Problem solving and design thinking exercises

During the course of the apprenticeship, Hatch MakerStudio will provide supervision and support for both the apprentices and companies, in order to ensure effective skills development and utilization of working power. Students with their own specific product ideas and business models can choose Hatch MakerStudio as their place of apprenticeship.

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