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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2706

Sri Lanka’s Footwear & Leather value addition a strong 45% - Rishad

Colombo, 06 April, (Asiantribune.com):

Sri Lanka’s Footwear and Leather (F&L) sector is not only an employer with promise but also demonstrates significant value addition. Meanwhile, the F&L praises the government for its initiatives but says the emerging ‘footwear assembly sector’ is a threat to the industry. “Our average annual national production of footwear alone is over 30 Mn pairs at a value of $ 47 Mn. Our footwear and leather value addition is around 45% and in 2012 we exported $ 31 Mn footwear and leather to global markets” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce on 02 April.

Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the ceremonial session of the Annual General Meeting of Sri Lanka Footwear and Leather Products Manufacturers Association (SLFLPMA) held at the Auditorium of EDB in Colombo on 02 April. This is the second such AGM after SLFLPMA’s 2010 reformation. SLFLPMA has 54 Companies as members and is the leading private sector body in Sri Lanka’s representing large scale footwear and leather firms.

“The government has identified this as a thrust sector with great contributing potential to our exports goal of $ 20 Bn by 2020 as per the committed vision of HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa” said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “Today I am also pleased to inform you that Sri Lanka has successfully taken part in the first ever Leather Industry Association of South Asia sessions by UNCTAD held in Chennai. This UNCTAD facilitated forum was the first industry-specific association to be formulated in South Asia. The inclusion of Sri Lanka in these pioneering session shows that our leather and footwear industry has clearly established its reputation as a key supplier in the region’s $ 2.5 Bn leather market as well as the supply chain. In fact, when it comes to South Asian Intra-regional footwear and leather exports Sri Lanka has earned the third place with 16% of region’s total exports closely following India and Bangladesh. It is also estimated that South Asia’s leather market potential is more than $ 2.5 Bn -three times of the current trade levels. Increased value addition in this sector can bring greater benefits to this industry which has strong employment potential, due to its labour intensive nature. Our footwear and leather value addition, is around 45 percent and more than 20000 people are directly employed in this sector. I am also given to understand, that our average annual national production of footwear is over 30 Mn pairs at a value of $ 47 Mn. In 2012 we exported $ 31 Mn footwear and leather which is an increase of 3.3% in comparison to 2011. Marks & Spencer, Bata France, H.H. Browns, Clarks, and Nike are among the global footwear brands, sourcing from us.”

Speaking on his initiatives on this sector, Minister Bathiudeen said: “The government has allowed duty free import of leather to facilitate the industry. Sri Lankan leather product manufactures have already established themselves in the international marketplace supplying to the famous international brands such as Playboy, Laurel, and Helen Kaminski. The 5th edition of international Footwear & Leather show successfully concluded in February. We have also started discussions with Indian Footwear Development Design Institute to set up a footwear training school with SLITA. Also the first Sri Lankan student batch of leather and footwear manufacturing will be receiving certificates from us next Tuesday.”

• Footwear & Leather industry praises Govt. for initiatives
• ‘New trend of Footwear Assembly a threat’ - Industry
• ‘Duty free leather imports to facilitate the sector’ – Rishad
• US footwear multinational Nike now sourcing from SL
• Lanka’s first L&F trained batch passing out next week!

“We in the leather and footwear industry praise the government for its new initiatives for us” said Kulatunga Rajapaksa (Chairman of D. Samson Industries and the outgoing President of SLFLPMA) addressing the event.”Specially the 5th edition of international Footwear & Leather show successfully concluded in February.

It opened many doors of opportunity for us. Many large footwear and leather firms secured several orders during this event. The new footwear subsector-the footwear assembly- has become a threat to this sector.

And this new sector does not generate any new employment opportunities either since no machinery of factories are needed to perform” he added.

- Asian Tribune -

Rishad Bathiudeen (Minister of Industry and Commerce) greets P.D. Nimalasiri (of PG Martins Ltd), on his induction as the new President of Sri Lanka Footwear and Leather Products Manufacturers Association on 02 April at the EDB Auditorium in Colombo.
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