The Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association (SLAEA) held its Annual General Meeting recently in Colombo. Felix A Fernando, Director, Omega Line was appointed the new Chairman of Association. Rehan Lakhani and Azeez Rumi were appointed the new vice chairman and treasurer respectively. On his part, the new chairman pledged support to the industry along with the executive committee and the Council. He expressed gratitude to his predecessor, Saifuddin Jafferjee for an outstanding job done in the last two years.
Fernando's speech revolved around the importance of apparel industry to the economy of the country and the state of the global apparel industry today. He said that the textile and apparel export accounted for 46 per cent of the total exports which accounts for 6 per cent of the GDP in Sri Lanka. Income from the Apparel industry is the second largest forex source. It also accounts for nearly one million direct and indirect employments out of a total labour force of 8.3 million. In other words, 12.5 per cent of the country's total labour force is employed in the apparel industry, and it is equivalent to 46per cent of the total employment in the industrial sector.
Although it was disheartening to digest the current economic realities and the state of world economy and Sri Lanka’s own economy, the Association values the current government's desire to achieve a sustainable development through export led growth with globally connected value chains. He thanked the Minister of Finance for 75 per cent proposed rebate for additional profits from exports, as a result of government's drive to encourage and increase the country's exports.