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New head of Free Trade Zone Manufacturers’ says exporters still facing crisis

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW):Tropical Findings Ltd Director Dhammika Fernando was elected as the new Chairman of the Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA) as members voted unanimously in favour of him at the 42nd Annual General Meeting held in Colombo on 31 March.

Fernando is also the incumbent President of Asia Pacific Federation of Human Resource Management and Executive Board Member of the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA).

Dial Textiles Industries Managing Director Sean Umagiliya was unanimously elected as the Honorary Secretary of the Association and Flintec Transducers Managing Director Tyronne Weckasinghe as the Deputy Secretary while ATG Ceylon Managing Director Fazal Abdeen and Screenline Holdings Managing Director Nishantha Bakmeege as Vice Chairmen.

Filotex Lanka Managing Director M.H.Z.M.Marzook will remain as the Honorary Treasurer, while Lalan Rubbers CEO Manjula Mahadanaarachchi, would deputize him as deputy Treasurer of the Association.

Japanese Ambassador Mizukoshi Hideaki was the chief guest at the AGM while the Investment Promotions Minister Dilum Amunugama and Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Director General Renuka Weerakoon were the guests of honour.

FTZMA is the leading Association representing the foreign direct investors in the various export processing zones in Sri Lanka. Since it commenced its operation from Katunayake Free Trade Zone over 40 years ago, the Association has been representing the foreign direct investments, expanding their presence to all Free Trade Zones in Sri Lanka.

Despite the apparent end of the pandemic, exporters are facing another global crisis, compounded by the crippling local financial crisis, he said .

The looming economic slowdown in Europe and the USA, our major export destinations, poses a severe threat to our exports.

In addition, the increase in corporate and personal taxes, unfavourable forex rates, and the abnormal increase in the cost of commodities, particularly energy, have caused our production costs to skyrocket, eroding our global competitiveness.

As a result, our export figures have taken a hit, and many major industrial exporters are downsizing, shutting down operations, or relocating.

The SME sector has been particularly hard-hit, with the withdrawal of loan moratoriums and the contraction of large-scale enterprises having a cascading effect, he claimed.

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