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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2701

We need level playing field-Local Footwear manufacturers

Sunil C. Perera - in Colombo

Colombo, 27 August, ( Footwear Manufacturers accuse the government institutions like the Armed forces of purchasing imported footwear to fulfill their annual footwear needs. However these institutions never purchased locally manufactured footwear, they said.

Speaking at a media briefing to announce forthcoming Footwear and Leather Goods Fair in Colombo, the manufacturers said the government has no plans to support local leather wear manufacturers and protect local industries.

At present the government institutions open Letter of Credit through banks to purchase foreign made leather wear.

"If we supply leather wear for them, we have to wait long duration to obtain money from them,” they added.

According to the industry sources, a number of small scale shoe manufacturers have closed their factories due to the lack of sufficient orders and unfair competition of the foreign footwear importers.

"There is no pricing formula at the Pettah market. Most of the importers sell their footwear at a low price,” they said.

However, Minister Prof .G.L.Peiris said the government has already imposed a duty of Rs.300 per pair of imported shoes.

Secretary to the Ministry of industrial Development R.V.D.Piyathilaka said that the Ministry has planned to introduce a new purchasing scheme on locally made footwear for the government institutions. A cabinet paper on this regard would be forwarded to the Cabinet of Ministers to give priority to the locally made footwears.

After the cabinet memo the government institutions must purchase locally made shoes for their institutions and the local leather wear manufacturers would receive good market, he said.

Earlier the government had introduced a similar cabinet paper to purchase locally made textile for the government institutions.

We have to add leather wear section into this cabinet paper, Mr.Piyathilaka said.

Minister Kumar Welgama said, the Ministry of Industrial Development is also working on a ten-year plan targeting US$ 1.5 billion by 2016 through footwear exports.

The Sri Lanka Foot- wear and Leather Goods Fair will be held from November 24 to 26 at the BMICH. The fair is organized by the Export Development Board in collaboration with the Ministry of Industrial Development and the Sri Lanka Footwear Association.

- Asian Tribune -

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