Monday, June 21, 2021
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BOI steps up support amidst export sector concerns over latest lockdown

“The BOI enterprises are encouraged to continue operations, while strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health. The countrywide travel restrictions will not cause any inconvenience to the cargo movements and logistic facilities. Exports of the companies will continue unabated amidst travel restrictions,” BOI Chairman Sanjaya Mohottala said in a statement yesterday.

He stressed the need of continuing the manufacturing process as a national responsibility, despite the current COVID-19 situation in the country.

“All the services provided by the BOI will be available without interruption through online platforms and at service locations. We will facilitate enterprises within and outside the BOI zones to operate without any interruption,” he added.

Factories have been instructed to act as a ‘bio-security bubble’ to contain the spread of the virus and the latest guidelines and required instructions can be obtained through www.investsrilanka.com and via email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Chairman called on all employees and firms to strictly adhere to the health guidelines, noting that prevention was the best tool in combating this global health threat.

To mitigate the spread of the virus and ensure the maximum protection of the employees, the BOI has already requested the authorities to vaccinate the factory employees based on a risk assessment methodology.

Export enterprises have expressed concerns over latest travel restrictions as well as partial lockdown to have an impact on staff attendance and logistics.

The latest restrictions dealt a severe blow to export sector which was shaping up well with resilience despite two earlier lockdowns since March last year.

In March 2021, exports crossed the $ 1 billion mark (up 62% year-on-year) for the first time since September 2020, reinforcing the sector’s resilience. Exports in the first quarter amounted to $ 2.6 billion, up 11.5% from a year earlier. Given robust performance, the Government had pinned on hopes of the export sector racking in around $ 900 to $ 1 billion monthly, leading to the $ 12 billion target in 2020.

Last month, Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Suresh de Mel cautioned the private sector to be better geared to face any possible challenge with the recent escalation in COVID-19 in the country.

“We are concerned about the recent escalation of COVID-19. The situation is quite uncertain. Looking back at the experiences we had to undergo, it is critical for our exporters to plan and prepare for any challenge that may come our way,” de Mel told the Daily FT.

However, de Mel assured that proactive measures have already been taken to ensure that the exports can move uninterrupted.

(FT)