Sept 12, Colombo: Basil Rohana Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance has instructed the officials to identify the problems faced by those who are looking to go abroad for employment and to take immediate action to resolve them, a press release issued by the Ministry of Finance said.
The Minister of Finance gave these instructions while participating in the Progress Review Meeting of the Foreign Exchange Flow Task Force held at Temple Trees recently.
The Minister emphasized the need to remove any obstacles as soon as possible as there is a growing demand for Sri Lankans in the foreign employment market.
Accordingly, the Minister drew attention to the problem of lack of aircraft seating facilities for those who are currently expected to go abroad. He instructed the officials to resolve this issue expeditiously by using foreign as well as local airlines as required.
Mr. Rajapaksa pointing out that the expatriate Sri Lankan working class community plays a significant role in earning foreign exchange added that it is the responsibility of the relevant sectors to expedite the inquiries into the difficulties they face.
The progress made in earning foreign exchange through the export of local products and provision of services up to August 2021 and the issues that have affected further growth were discussed at length.
Accordingly, the objectives achieved in the export of commodities including textiles and apparel, tea, rubber and rubber products, coconut and coconut related products, engineering products, other export crops, gems and jewelry, and seafood were also examined.
Accordingly, the average monthly income from commodity exports last year was US$ 840 million and in the first eight months of 2021 it has increased to US$ 986 million.
Despite the Covid epidemic, rubber and rubber products and engineering products have now successfully achieved the expected targets while other sectors are close to the performance level.
Export earnings grew to US $ 7,886 million in the January-August period of 2021, an increase of 22.4% over the corresponding period last year.
There was a lengthy discussion on the problems faced by the respective sectors in the face of the Covid epidemic and the solutions required to manage them and reach the relevant performance level.
The Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa stated that since the objective of the President and the Government is to lead the country towards a production-based economy, necessary steps will be taken to give it priority.
Mr. Rajapaksa further stated that while strengthening the economy while maintaining the growth of the export sector, active development activities in the country will also continue.
Ministers, Secretaries to Ministries and a number of government officials were present at the meeting.