A meeting was convened recently by the Hon. Malik Samarawickarama, Minister of Development Strategies & International Trade (MoDSIT), to discuss the progress of the Logistics Strategy of the National Export Strategy. Mr. S T Kodikara, Secretary of MoDSIT, Mr. J M Thilakaratne Banda, Addl. Secretary of Ministry of Transport & Civil Aviation (MoTCA), Mr. Dhammika Ranatunga, Chairman – Airport & Aviation Services Ltd (AASL), Mrs. Indira Malwatte, Chairperson & CE of Sri Lanka Export Development Board(EDB), Mr. Upali de Zoysa, Addl. Managing Director of Sri Lanka Ports Authority(SLPA) participated at the meeting along with the officials from the Ministry of Ports & Shipping and Southern Development. The Minister commended the participants on their commitment to the national endeavor to implement the Logistics Sector Strategy of NES.
The Logistics Strategy is driven under 3 Strategic Objectives,
Based on these objectives, actions were formulated by the sector stakeholders during extensive consultations held from April 2017 to March 2018. To carry out these activities many implementing partners and supporting implementing partners were identified. Further, an Advisory Committee was appointed under the EDB. The Logistics Sector Advisory Committee Secretary of EDB presented the Plan of Actions relevant to each institution which was extracted from the Logistics Sector Strategy. Addl. MD – Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Addl. Secretary – MoTC reported the progress to date and to support in implementing of the Plan of Actions under their Institutions. Director General, Department of Fiscal Policy, reported the status and agreed to make the necessary amendments to the Gazette - “Commercial Hub Regulations” by the beginning of March 2019. Representatives from each Institution reported their progress and requested support from the other institutions in implementing the Logistics Sector PoAs.
The main discussion points were the amendments of the Customs Ordinance which had already been submitted to the Ministry of Finance (MoF). The Launch of the Trade Information Portal which was developed by Department of Commerce (DoC) and Customs (under the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement project) was highlighted. Ratifying conventions that Sri Lanka has already committed to in relation to the International Maritime Organization and other transport conventions were stressed.
EDB stated that they are in the process of getting legal validation to enable areas within international airports and ports authorized by Sri Lanka Customs to receive/hold/deliver/import cargo to be allowed to carry out Entrepot related activities. Ministry of Higher Education updated on their activities in establishing sponsorship programs and internship opportunities for the eligible students, under PPP with Shippers’ Council.
Active public and private sector participation and the implementing partners will be holding hands to support in implementing the actions to drive the NES forward. Notably, as logistics is one of the promising sectors where the country would thrive with its locational advantage, the industry strongly believes that Sri Lanka could raise its bar, challenging the regional peers with the progress of NES.