The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) last week successfully completed its 30 th capacity-development webinar session to the exporter community and SMEs. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation of the country, the EDB could not carry out its conventional capacity development programmes such as workshops and seminars, due to the health regulations imposed on people-gathering activities. As an alternative method, online sessions were conducted to enhance the capacity and knowledge of exporters and SMEs in Sri Lanka.
Since the UK is the main market for Sri Lanka’s exports to the EU region and the second largest export market after the USA, it is important for Sri Lanka to receive the same tariff preferences it was enjoying prior to Brexit when trading with the UK in the post Brexit period.
As per the Customs statistics, earnings from merchandise exports recorded a negative growth of 14.9% in October 2020 to US$ 831.72 Mn as compared to the value of US$ 977.3 Mn recorded in October 2019. This poor performance is due to the adverse impact of 2nd wave of Covid 19 pandemic within the country and globally.
The Export Development Board (EDB), expressing its concern about the resurgence of COVID-19 in main markets, has called on the private sector to plan and prepare as it is threatening to impact trade once again.
The commendable performance of Sri Lankan exporters and the resilience shown during an unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic is to be rewarded by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, of the Ministry of Trade, through a proposed export stimulus Reward Scheme.
E-commerce Readiness Assessment Report Sri Lanka was launched by the Commonwealth Secretariat (COMSEC) in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB). The report is the result of a request by the EDB in 2018 for technical assistance from COMSEC to conduct an e-readiness assessment for Sri Lanka and undertake capacity-building programmes on e-commerce for SMEs and women entrepreneurs. The project was funded by COMSEC through the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation (CFTC). The publication comes at a time when businesses in Sri Lanka were compelled to exploit e-commerce mechanisms in the wake of lockdowns and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
Sri Lanka’s exports during the month of August 2020 recorded a downfall of 19.2% to US$ 947.7 Mn as compared to the value of US$ 1,033.3 Mn recorded same month of last year.
Sri Lanka’s exports have surpassed the $ 1 billion mark in July after six months time period where a similar achievement was only recorded in January during this year.
Exports play an important role in a country’s economy as they influence the level of growth, employment and balance of payments. For Sri Lanka, the focus on exports is now more important than ever, as the island nation looks to bring in foreign currency to boost the economy.
Following our statement last week, the EDB strengthens our clarion call to understand that exports are now our nation’s number one priority. As the COVID-19 crisis intensifies across the globe, we at the EDB have taken a strong stance and realized that it is the export sector that will get Sri Lanka through this crisis. During these times of unparalleled circumstances, we see a large impact on Sri Lanka’s foreign direct investment, our tourism sector and our country’s overall economic standing. Therefore, we ask other government agencies to recognize and support the export sector during this time. For all exporters, it is imperative to take immediate action. The foreign exchange that we bring in through the export sector is essential in our efforts to survive this crisis as a nation.
It’s a difficult moment for the world. We are fighting the coronavirus pandemic whilst our nation’s exporters have been facing challenging times for the past two months. The EDB requests that now more than ever, the time has come for us to prepare our businesses to stay up and running. As a nation, we are no stranger to disaster, having faced our fair share of adversity. We are confident that we will weather this storm and as we have done in the past, Sri Lanka will emerge stronger than ever and continue focusing on our main goal - recommencing exports, restoring them to their former level and increasing them.
Considering the unprecedented disruption to the global economy and trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Export Development Board has revised its 2020 exports forecast by a hefty 42% to $10.75 billion.
The Central Bank on 27th March 2020 announced a series of wide-ranging financial concessions to alleviate the hardships businesses are facing owing to the impact of Covid-19. The concessions are applicable to the entire gamut of organisations ranging from large corporate to self-employed individuals, and particularly to export-related enterprises. The Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) took the initiative in bringing the severity of the crisis situation the business community, particularly the export sector, is facing and the dire need to give relief, to the notice of the Central Bank and other key Government stakeholders.
The Government should extend the financial moratorium to all exporters, as merchandise exports will be the first to bounce back after the COVID-19 crisis is controlled, a top official said.
“The moratorium on loans and interests that the Government has introduced to the apparel, tourism, IT and SME sectors should be extended to all exporters. Merchandise exports will be the first to recover and help the economy,” Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe told Daily FT.
Sri Lanka Customs has taken immediate steps to assist the exporters whose export of products have been delayed by the corona outbreak to export products that have been produced and prepared for exportation as well as goods that are essential and urgently required to be exported to respective countries.
The National Plant Quarantine Stations at the Seaport, Colombo and Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake are open to accepting samples of plants and coir products for quarantine testing and issuing of certificatio.