Friday, 29 November 2013 00:37
The Sri Lanka Shippers Council (SLSC) yesterday in a statement welcomed the 2014 Budget presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa saying it has addressed many issues relating to the unfair trade practices prevailing in the shipping industry for many years.
The SLSC is, the apex body which represents the interest of the shippers and “welcomes the timely reforms presented in the Budget,” the statement added.
It said reforms that will become law effective from January 2014 have been highlighted since the late 1990s by the Shippers’ Council together with the Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) to consecutive governments without success. Ever since, the council has continuously lobbied for these most vital reforms at every given opportunity and has been a discussion point at many public forums.
The Council is of the view that the benefits derived by these reforms will be enjoyed by the shippers and the consumers of Sri Lanka. Further, these timely reforms will definitely contribute towards accelerating the Government’s vision to position Sri Lanka as the Indian Ocean’s new maritime hub and will further strengthen the recently-declared free port concept.
The President has looked at anti-competitive practices pragmatically and has not intervened in pricing but proposed a mechanism to ensure fair trading practices from which all stakeholders of the supply chain and consumers in particular will benefit.
The reforms proposed in the Budget will ensure transparency and eliminate unethical and unfair trade practices hereto practiced by service providers of the shipping industry. It is envisaged that a vast sum of foreign exchange will be saved when these reforms become law.
Therefore, the Council together with all other stakeholders of the shippers’ community will extend their fullest cooperation to the authorities to amend the relevant acts so that the laws will be enacted as early as possible.
By strengthening and empowering the Director General of Merchant Shipping with the necessary legislative powers, a mechanism is in place to guard against any anti-competitive practices within the shipping industry.
The Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council wishes to thank the President, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning and officials for accepting and incorporating the submission that were presented.