Aug 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka's foremost apparel sector training body, Sri Lanka Institute of Textile and Apparel (SLITA) is planning to expand its services to South Asia region, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said.
Addressing the apparel industry graduation ceremony by SLITA at Nelum Pokuna theatre on Wednesday, Minister Bathiudeen said SLITA has important plans of expansion. SLITA is planning to expand its services to South Asian region and preparing to establish links and collaborations with prestigious textile and apparel institutions in the region, he added.
At the Wednesday's graduation ceremony, 500 new graduates of SLITA received their certificates and awards from Minister Bathiudeen.
"With today's passing out of another 500 Diplomates the grand total of SLITA course participants stands at 21600" said Minister Bathiudeen, and added that as the only government institution engaged in training for apparel and leather sectors SLITA showed several important achievements.
In 2017 SLITA performed almost 50,000 tests for the first time and trained 5,400 persons. These successful diplomates obtained academic and on-the-job training in Textile and Apparel Technology with latest industrial exposure.
Speaking of SLITA plans, the Minister said the institute is also planning to acquire degree awarding status to award apparel degrees.
Highlighting apparel sector performance of the first half of 2018 the Minister said Sri Lanka's apparel exports that picked up in May this year strengthened further in June.
The total exports in January-June this year was at $2.4 billion, up by 5% compared to same period in 2017. Sri Lanka exported US$ 1 billon apparels to EU, another US$ 1 billion to the US and US$ 321 million to the rest of the world. Exports to EU grew by 7.76% and to US by 3.77%.
"For us to sustain this success rate over the longer period, we need to focus on gaining more advantages, in addition to our low labor costs," Minister Bathiudeen stressed.
Speaking at the occasion Chairman of Joint Apparel Associations Forum (JAAF) Sharad Amalean made three suggestions for the next stage of Sri Lankan apparel sector.
"Increased adoption of digital platforms and e-commerce business for the sector. Secondly speed and agility in our end-to-end courses. Thirdly, making Sri Lanka a total solutions hub-this is important," he said.
JAAF Secretary General Tuly Cooray, Ministry of Industry and Commerce' Additional Secretary Textile Development M.A. Thajudeen, and High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka Riaz Hamidullah also participated in the occasion.