Aug 11, Colombo: As part of its vast development efforts in the North, Sri Lanka has stepped up industry expansion in the Province, boosting hopes for new employment and economic resurgence of the region. The expansion work is kicked off from the largest Industry Zone in the Northern Province.
"India has greatly contributed to the development of the Northern Province," Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said while addressing the launch event of the fifth international exhibition on plastics and manufacturing COMPLAST and COMEXPO at BMICH on Friday (10).
Joining the Minister at the launch were High Commission of India in Colombo Deputy Commercial Head Neha Singh, Plastics and Rubber Institute of Sri Lanka (PRISL) Vice President Kaushal Rajapaksa, IDB Chairman Mahinda Jinasena, SmartExpos and Fairs India CEO and President B. Swaminathan, and many leading industry representatives from Sri Lanka.
"The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is a proud co-organizer in this event where 50 exhibitors from India, China, Taiwan, USA, Germany, Malaysia and Pakistan are joining. Special pavilions for India and China are in place. A mini-manufacturing expo, called COMEXPO by IDB under my Ministry showcases "Made in Sri Lanka" manufacturing strength with 55 local industry firms," said Minister Bathiudeen.
"This industry expo series focuses on making Sri Lankan manufacturing more competitive by way of integrating and building stronger linkages. The result is the creation of B2B platform for delivering the best experience, "he added.
"Today I am pleased to invite industrialists here to benefit from a range of services offered by my Ministry. In fact this event comes in a background of various new industry projects being launched by us to develop our manufacturing sector," he said.
The Minister noted that to industrialize the Northern Province the next stage in the development of Achchuveli Industrial Zone is planned at a cost of Rs 100 Million.
"My officials are working on the next stage of this project at present. This large scale industry zone is a pioneering project for the development of the Northern Province. I invite all industrial participants here today to start manufacturing at Achchuveli Industrial Zone and reap maximum benefits. We thank the government and people of India for the grant assistance of Rs 200 million to commence this zone in 2014. India has also greatly contributed for the development of many other aspects in the Northern Province. I wish to express my appreciation to people of India on behalf of people of north."
CEO & President of SmartExpos & Fairs India B Swaminathan stressed of the rapid development of plastic sector in Sri Lanka. "Sri Lanka's plastic processing has increased by 18% CAGR in the last five year period" he said and added: "Sri Lanka was processing 200,000 MT of plastic raw materials to final products in 2012 and by 2017, this has increased to 550,000 MT."
The Achchuveli Industrial Zone is the largest mixed industrial zone in the Northern Province spanning 65 acres. The Rs 100 million new investment by the government is for Phase II of the zone targeting 15 acres. At present five industries operate under Phase I, directly employing 125. After the expansion, direct employment is projected to surge to 500. Industrialists investing in this zone are entitled to a 50% subsidized rate on their total electricity bills. Developed Land and other infrastructure are ready for new investors.