Garments Buying Offices Association rebrands as Apparel Sourcing body
The 18th Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Garments Buying Offices Association (SLGBOA) was held at the Water’s Edge, Battaramulla on Friday, 18 March 2011, amidst a distinguished gathering of industry members.
The Chief Guest Pedro Henrique Lopes Borio, Ambassador, Federative Republic of Brazil attended the event as the Chief Guest along with Jose Roberto Procopiate, Deputy Head of Mission, Federative Republic of Brazil.
The proceedings of the occasion commenced with the traditional lighting of the oil lamp by the Chief Guest followed by the members of the association. Hiran Bandaranaike, Secretary General of the Sri Lanka Garment Buying Offices Association announced the names of the new Chairman, Vice Chairman and the new Committee Members.
Two new members from the trade were appointed to the new committee namely, Thushara Wickramanayake, CEO of Marks & Spencer as the Vice Chairman and Viran Perera, CEO of MAST Industries INC.
Bandaranaike, while welcoming the committee, also announced the change of the Association name to Sri Lanka Apparel Sourcing Association (SLASA), as officially adopted by the general membership.
The particulars of the membership were followed by the addresses of the evening.
Gopal K. Iyer, Chairman, Nitches Lanka Ltd. and immediate past chairman of SLGBOA shared information on the current status of the apparel trade in Sri Lanka.
“Today we can proudly say that Sri Lanka has performed…if we compare figures from 2009 we have a positive growth of 6.4%.” he stated, adding, “the basis for these achievements is that Sri Lanka demonstrates excellent needlework and the commitment in the industry is sound.”
While illustrating the potential of growth and possibilities, taking to account Brazil’s present ties with India and China, Chief Guest Pedro Henrique Lopes Borio said, “When I came to Sri Lanka, the trade was 12 million dollars and last year it was more than 200 million dollars.”
Stressing on the importance of fostering direct ties between the two nations and the enabling role of SLASA, he added: “I will be very happy to work with the association and the members to discuss a possible trade mission to Brazil or inviting the right partners from Brazil to get to know the industry here. It is advantageous for embassies to be able to talk to an entity instead of reaching each separately…if you can work in unity, then your chances of success are much greater.”
The duly-appointed new SLASA Chairman J.D.R. Sylvester, Stafford Textiles, also addressed the gathering and shared his thoughts on the positive trend of the industry and its future: “There is no doubt that the market is very promising and the industry is booming and we have to be focused and start developing new markets like Brazil and other countries which will certainly help the industry to move forward,” he stated.
He added that many garment factories of the country have been taken over by major garment exporters in the country and the work is in full capacity. The industry has in effect managed to create 400,000 employments through the various manufacturing processes in the apparel industry.
Representing one of the sponsors of the evening Manish Patel, DHL Keells Pvt. Ltd. also shared his thoughts in the final addressed for the evening. “We have closely associated ourselves with the SLGBOA and it continues its stellar role for the country’s business community even under challenging circumstances. At DHL we take great pride in our association with this body and we will continue to work closely with the various stakeholders of the industry as Sri Lanka strives to grow, to be a competitive sourcing base,” he said.
The Sri Lanka Garment Buying Offices Association was established in 1993 towards promoting and fostering the growth of the garment industry in Sri Lanka. The members of the Association represent international brand names and all major global importers and retailers from the USA, EU, Australia and Japan.