As Sri Lankan textiles sector now stands bolstered by the recent offer of support from the Government of India, the domestic manufacturers, who were struggling a few years back, are successfully moving for a bigger slice in domestic demand.
“I am pleased to say that now, our textile manufacturers are fulfilling almost all uniforms needs of armed forces and 50% of all our education (School) uniforms, which was only 30% earlier due to lack of capacity. This is an encouraging trend in our annual $29 Mn national uniforms requirements and I thank our committed textile makers for not abandoning and leaving the sector in the face of capacity issues” announced Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka on 30 September.
Minister Bathiudeen announced this in the aftermath of his visit to several private sector uniforms manufacturing plants located throughout the Western Province, accompanied by his Cabinet colleagues -Bandula Gunawardena (Minister of Education) and Mrs. Pavithra Wanniarachchi (Minister of Technology and Research) on 30 September.
The 15 manufacturing firms entirely fulfill the needs of the country’s armed forces, the Police, and the Prisons (except the Navy) as well as the school uniforms. Minister Bathiudeen has now successfully moved the manufacturers to produce 50% of 11.21 Mn Metres of fabrics ($15.57 Mn, required by 2013 January) at a value of $ 7.25 Mn, by December 2012, while the rest is to be imported.
The supply of only 50% is due to the limited capacity of manufacturers in terms of manufacturing capacity, finance and management support. “If our manufacturers can supply the 100%, we will be happier and ready to support” Minister Bathiudeen added. “I am also pleased to say that the total uniforms demand from country’s armed forces, the Police, and the Prisons are now met by our domestic manufacturers” Minister Bathiudeen revealed.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce has estimated that in 2012, for country’s armed forces, the Police, and the Prisons, uniforms valued at more than $ 14 Mn would be needed-all of which will be manufactured by Lankan textile firms engaged on this, numbering 15. All the school uniforms are made domestically using the “weaving process” -where only yarns are imported and everything else is completed here while for armed forces-police-prisons uniforms, “import gray process” is for local processing afterwards.