The National Chamber of Exporters ( NCE) has submitted some far reaching proposals to the Treasury in respect of Budget 2022 which will be presented in Parliament by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa tomorrow. On the issue of shortage of foreign exchange, NCE Secretary General Shiham Marikkar told the Daily News Business that it has proposed to introduce Convertible Rupee Account (CRA)scheme. It could be enabled to grant the facility to allow import of vehicles using these funds.
It will also allow companies with a deficiency in foreign currency to import raw materials to buy foreign currency from other companies with a foreign currency surplus. On the shortage of foreign exchange, it has also been proposed to creating an incentive for the exporters to receive foreign exchange as well as utilize them in a manner that is profitable to both the country and the exporters themselves.
On the difficulties faced by the exporters in reaching newer/non-traditional markets, as there are limited information on credibility of potential customers, the NCE has proposed to introduce a digital platform and introduce a mechanism where the Sri Lankan Foreign mission could update relevant market access information on the monthly basis. The outcome is expected to establish of a State supported, verifiable and sustainable commercial networks.
The NCE has addressed the issue of Labour laws hindering the operations of exporters, due to its inflexibility to suit the current situation. It has proposed the reduction of number of holidays and change the age old Shop and Office Act to suit today’s environment. For example, under present act Sunday is a compulsory holiday and need to pay double the daily wage and allow another weekday a holiday. Need to change the holiday to be given on 7th working day without restricting it to Sunday.
Present OT hours of 60 limit to females to be increased to 75 thereby allowing female employees to receive extra income by way of OT as most of the companies are now forced to work extra hours due to shortage of labour.
Providing flexibility to both export enterprises as well as the employees to utilize their time as per the current trends of the labour market are the beneficial outcomes of this proposal.
The outcome is expected increase the labour force participation of female employees and provide them equal opportunity to generate income, Marikkar noted.