Local tile manufacturers and local tile importers in discussion with Ministry of Finance officials
Countries across the world today are faced with severe economic hurdles and ramifications brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic, with some key industries having come to a grinding halt.
In an effort to become a self-sufficient nation in a post-COVID economy and to safeguard the currency, the Government recently took a policy decision to impose a set of stringent import restrictions on non-essential goods, where the imports of tiles and bathware temporarily suspended.
With a request to revoke the mentioned restrictions made by the tile and bathware importers, Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle met the Tile Importers Association along with the local manufacturers to discuss a way forward to both facilitate a healthy level of imports while nurturing local manufacturers. The meeting was successfully concluded on 1 March, with all parties agreeing on the future of the industry.
Sri Lanka’s tiles and bathware manufacturing industry – a vital player in the construction sector, currently consists of three local large-scale tile manufacturers and seven bathware manufacturers with a current combined annual production capacity of 17 million sqm of tiles and approximately 700,000 bathware pieces. Further plans to increase tile production capacities by another 3.5 million sqm this year will result in a total local production output to 20.5 million sqm by mid-2021.
Being a key contributor to the local economy and Government revenue, these large-scale local manufacturers have invested over Rs. 35 b throughout the years, paying over Rs. 5.5 b in Government taxes a year. At present these manufacturers employ over 7,500 Sri Lankans.
The local industry is well-equipped with the latest manufacturing technology that’s among the best in the world, capable of producing any high-quality tiles and bathware across a range of different sizes, designs, surface finishes and variations that are on par with global leaders of the industry.
As the nation’s economy struggles to get back on its feet, it is commendable to see such Government policy decisions are taken to nurture local industries in a post-COVID economy in this journey towards creating a self-sufficient Sri Lanka.