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BOI Export Processing Zones exclude from power cuts 

The Energy Ministry has issued a directive to the Ceylon Electricity Board to provide power supply to 14 Export Processing Zones in the country to enable all factories in those zones to continue its operations without power interruptions.

This Directive was issued by the newly appointed Power Minister Pavithra Wanniarchchi after a meeting with high ranking officials of the Board of Investment (BOI) including its Chairman Raja Edirisuriya and Director General Renuka Weerakoon yesterday afternoon. 

BOI officials informed the minister that the country will lost massive revenue if the BOI factories are closed down due to power disruptions.

TheY noted that the jobs of around 500000 factory workers are at stake if this situation continues and the factories will not be able to fulfill their orders  by sending their products  on time to foreign buyers.  

The Ceylon Electricity Board has been directed not to disconnect export zones under the BOI during power cuts with immediate effect. 

Sri Lanka is now in the grip of five to three -hour power cuts a day amid a drought and disruptions to fuel supply from forex shortages

“Foreign orders will get cancelled and buyers will move to competitors in other countries including Bangladesh,” a senior official said, adding that order losses of one company can impact the entire value chain and potentially lead to job losses.

Sri Lanka apparel factories were the badly affected entities in free trade zones as it needs to continue their operations daily  day and night.    

Garments are Sri Lanka’s second largest foreign exchange earner and the sector was just seeing a pandemic recovery with export earnings increasing by 22.1% to $514 million this January, compared with January 2021.

Overall, the sector has about 300 factories that generated revenues of $5.4 billion in 2021.

“The situation is now critical as plants are coming to a halt due to lack of diesel for generators, staff transport and goods transport,” a head of a factory said.

Yohan Lawrence, secretary general of the Joint Apparel Associations Forum, which represents the largest apparel companies in Sri Lanka noted that the government has given assurances that help is on the way..

With fewer operating hours, workers are likely to get paid one third less this month as they don’t work over-time, he said.

The fuel shortage has also forced the company to suspend free transport to workers. Since many private busses are stuck in fuel queues for hours, some workers opt to walk to work, starting out as early as 6 a.m.

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