Although exporters went through hardships during the last few years, facing many challenges internally and in overseas markets they have demonstrated much resilience and Sri Lanka export earnings in 2022 showed a record high of USD 13 billion newly elected President of National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) Jayantha Karunaratne told the 28th NCE AGM held in Colombo on Tuesday.
Though appreciation of rupees will help to reduce cost of imports and help reduce consumer prices the input prices for exports, such as interest, electricity and other overheads should come down drastically in order for Lankan exports to be competitive in the export market. Such drastic appreciation of rupee could not help the export industry if input cost is not brought down to levels where Lankan exporters can compete in the market.
“We need to wait and see whether this appreciation of rupee will help the exporters or whether this will bring down this USD 13 billion to a lower level in 2023. Karunaratna cautioned that overseas markets faced numerous issues such as recession, military conflicts between countries and sanctions which would have a negative impact on Lankan exports. He said exporters need to take into consideration those outside concerns because the industry needs to compete internationally therefore need to keep costs at a lower trajectory to compete internationally. He said the NCE was prepared to lobby on behalf of the exporter and focus mainly on ease of doing business and go for innovation, research and development and look for new markets.
SG, CEO, NCE Shiham Marikar said they will initiate various membership drives this year to increase the membership by 150. He said this year they plan to get 100 companies on board for ethically trading certification and they were partnering with INDEXPO on this CET project. Marikar said the Exporter magazine sent to more than 500 overseas business contacts where 1,000 copies were printed would be increased to 2000 this year.