Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment says apparel sector attracted order for over US$ 500 million
The Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka has reportedly stated that the country has attracted over US$ 500 million worth of orders for the production of personal protective equipment (PPEs), and has expressed confidence the value will top US$ 1 billion in the near future.
“The country has been able to secure large orders for the production of PPEs – worth over $500 million – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 33 factories are currently manufacturing those products. We expect more orders, which will soon surpass $1 billion mark,” BOI Director General Sanjaya Mohottala has been quoted as saying in the local media.
According to reports, Sri Lanka’s total export earnings for 2019 were US$ 11.9 billion, out of which US$ 5.7 billion was generated from apparel exports. Around 300 garment factories employ over 300,000 workers, where over one million people are engaged in garment-related industries to earn livelihoods through indirect employment.
Noting that the COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the apparel industry globally, particularly with disrupted supply chains, Mohottala has acknowledged that Sri Lanka also suffered with inadequate raw material as a result of the closure of borders.
Sri Lanka currently produces value-added, top quality, pricy and high-end apparel for world-renowned brands.
However, Mohottala has noted that given the pandemic situation, it will be difficult for most people to purchase expensive apparel items with the global economic downturn and will opt for more sustainable re-useable garments.
Thereby, he has suggested apparel exporters and manufactures reflect on alternative products, methods, and markets, considering the economic crisis.
The Director General has further noted that some of the countries and regions are reconsidering their trade policies as a result of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our main apparel markets include the US and Europe. Considering the pandemic, these two economic powerhouses intend to limit their global supply chain to a particular country or region. I think it is a good trend for us in South Asia. Neighbouring India produces raw materials, Bangladesh produces low-end garments, and Sri Lanka produces high-end apparel. All these countries belong to the same region. The SAARC region also has free-trade agreements (FTAs) between most countries. This will be an opportunity for the apparel industry to capitalise on, to thrive through the current crisis,” Mohottala has added.
Despite the slowdown in businesses around the world due to Covid 19, there are still business/investment opportunities in some sectors. Sri Lanka’s apparel sector was one of the key revenue generators until the pandemic hit the globe. However, Sri Lanka’s apparel sector has now received the opportunity to manufacture and supply safety gear like face masks and PPEs to the foreign market. Foreign businesses/investors could therefore explore business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s apparel sector.
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