Enlists micros and SMEs to speed industrial resurgence
As a once war affected north and east regions have now re-joined the country’s GDP scheme, UNIDO is moving to resurrect the regional chambers of these provinces – and elsewhere. “Our regional chambers can actively get involved in identifying the industrial requirements of their areas, the availability of indigenous raw material and in facilitation of the SME’ sector,” said UNIDO-Sri Lanka National Director Nawaz Rajabdeen.
Rajabdeen announced this in the aftermath of his discussions on regional chamber enlistment at UNIDO-Colombo offices on 26 June.
“With the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, UNIDO focal point in Colombo is planning to extend technical support in setting up micro and small industries-especially in the war affected region of north and east,” Rajabdeen said. “But our span is not only for north and east but to the rest of the provinces too,” he added.
In 2011, the north and east’s economic growth rate stood at 22%, above the 8.2% national average. Sri Lanka plans to double north and east’s GDP contribution by 2014.
“We believe that the regional chambers are capable of making a stronger contribution than at present. Plenty of opportunities are available in cement based industry, agro based industry, light metal industry, and value addition for agro products, specially in the north and east. We also want to enlist micro and SME sectors. Developing these sectors will create job opportunities and enhance the living standards of the youths,” he said and added: “Regional chambers can get involved in identifying the industrial requirements of the area and the availability of indigenous raw material and facilitating the SME sector, and be the driver of industrial resurgence in the new economic upswing.”
In 2010, visiting UNIDO Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella announced that Sri Lanka’s industrial sector has demonstrated the ability to compete globally in selected sectors. “This is a sound platform to build upon. UNIDO has provided significant support to the industrial sector, international accreditation of laboratories which assisted Sri Lankan industry to compete globally. We are using the Sri Lankan capacity built as South-South training models,” he added.