EDB’s 5 year plan eyes $ 15 b exports

Tuesday, 7 December 2010 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Export Development Board (EDB) yesterday unveiled its 5 year strategic plan targeting US$ 15 billion.

By Cheranka Mendis

The first copy was handed over to the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiutheen by the Chairman of EDB Janaka Ratnayake.

It encompasses a plan which looks at reducing high dependency on export markets, building the image of products and services through aggressive market communication strategy, assisting export oriented SME and to utilise skills and resources available in the region for export development.

The plan identifies the role of EDB in facilitating increasing exports of Sri Lanka as a policy advisor, monitor, promoter, facilitator and knowledge provider. The identified product segments for development includes apparel, tea, rubber based products, diamonds — gems and jewellery, ICT/BPO/KPO, food and other beverages and spices and allied products which will help markedly raise the level of export performance.

Whilst consolidating traditional strongholds of US and EU, the EDB plans to increase exports to other markets by 50% by 2015. It also plans to broad-base the beneficiaries of exports across the country and sectors including the SMEs.

Chairman Ratnayake stated that the appropriate strategies to enhance the performance of all product sectors have been identified by the EDB under an in-depth trigger/barrier analysis. “The strategic plan is an attempt to adopt a total competitive approach to help the local exporters to succeed in the new trading environment by addressing border-in issues of export capacity and competency development within the supply chain; border issues such as bottlenecks in trade facilitation that increase transaction cost and border-out issues of market development and promotion,” Ratnayake said. “It also pays due attention to percolate the benefits of exports to the rural sector of the community.”

Pushing forth public private sector partnership which is important in developing the country’s fiscal and economical outlook, an advisory committee was assigned yesterday which consists of top notch businessmen and senior government officials to implement the targets and projects under the strategic plan. Re-established after a lapse of two years, the committee represents the aquarium fish sector, ceramic and porcelain, coconut, electronic, export market promotion, floriculture, footwear and leather, fruits and vegetables, garments, gems, diamonds and Jewellery, giftware and lifestyle, handloom/household textile sector, ICT and BPO, light engineering sector, printing, professional service, rubber and plastic, sea food sector, spices and allied products and trade facilitation.

Exports during the first 10 months of 2010 have grown by 12.4% whilst in the period 2004 to 2008 the growth averaged 8.8% but suffered a 12.5% dip in 2009.

Minister Bathiutheen welcomed the strategic plan of EDB prepared in consultation with the relevant stakeholders.

“At present the export sector which contributes 17% to the GDP of the country. A productive and an efficient methodology should be adopted to boost the export sector to achieve higher economic and social development,” said Minister Bathiutheen.

In addition to launching the strategic plan, letters of appointment to members of the EDB Advisor Committee were presented by the Minister.

“With the establishment of the advisory committee after a lapse of two years we expect to guide the export development activities in the correct path,” he added. He also said that though members of the Committee perform a voluntary and honorary service their task is important from the perspective of national development. “We know that patriotism is a feature of our business community. Therefore we expect you to actively participate in the work of the Advisory Committee and develop the export sectors,” the Minister told the members.