Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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Apparel industry urges all parties to ‘Make S L First a national priority’

The Joint Apparel Association Forum urged all Party Leaders to urgently expedite the recommendations put forth at the meeting held a short while ago, calling for the resignation of the President and Prime Minister and making way for an all Party Government with elections to be held as early as possible.

JAAF reiterated the call for an amendment to the constitution abolishing the Executive Presidency. “At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, we strongly request that Leaders of all political parties work together in resolving this major crisis that our Country is in and prioritize a ‘Sri Lanka First’ agenda. “

They also call upon the people to have the patience and perseverance, to hold their protests in a non-violent manner while understanding their enormous and extreme suffering. We call on the security to act with restraint whilst maintaining law and order

Sri Lanka staggers on the brink of economic collapse, the country’s garment manufacturers are bracing themselves for 20 percent fewer orders, the industry’s leading trade group said.

In a statement JAAF warned of “serious negative consequences” if policymakers continue to drag their feet on the sweeping reforms required to put the island nation back on track.

The crisis has brought about widespread food, fuel and medicine shortages, sky-rocketing inflation and mass protests calling for the president’s resignation.

The JAAF said that despite the apparel sector’s “outstanding resilience” in sticking to its production schedules, next season’s orders could see as much as a one-fifth reduction due to softening global consumer sentiment.

To address the industry’s growing volatility, the government needs to engage with industry experts to develop a practical and apolitical economic recovery roadmap, it added.

“The need of the hour,” said JAAF secretary-general Yohan Lawrence, is to ensure that Sri Lanka maintains the confidence of its buyers in the face of unprecedented adversity. The last thing the country needs is an exodus of brands looking to de-risk their operations.

“For more than 30 years, including multiple global and regional economic downturns, the Sri Lankan apparel industry has meticulously built a reputation that reflects the highest levels of reliability, quality and sophisticated technical capabilities,” Lawrence said.

“Owing to unprecedented national economic mismanagement, this sector, which has long served as a fundamental pillar to the Sri Lankan economy, is now under serious threat.”

Any strategy to stabilize the economy, he said, must prioritize support to apparel manufacturers large and small. Employing 350,000 workers, Sri Lanka’s 1,000-plus factories supply nearly half of all merchandise exports and contribute 6 percent of the island nation’s gross domestic product. “We need sustainable, decisive solutions and we need them now,” Lawrence added.

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