(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga has made a request to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to give priority to all factory workers in the country in administering the Covid vaccine.
He also pointed out that the provision of the vaccine should be expedited to those who directly contributed to the production process in the country despite the Covid epidemic.
There are 14 Free Trade Zones under the Board of Investment (BOI) islandwide. In addition, there are industrial parks. There are more than 250 factories located in the 14 Free Trade Zones alone, with over 130,000 employees. More than 500,000 people in more than 1700 factories Islandwide, including them, are contributing to the manufacturing process in the country, the Minister pointed out.
There are also a large number of caterers and other vendors providing services for these factory workers.
The Minister pointed out that it was the dedication of these workers in spite of the Covid epidemic that added $ 8.5 billion to Sri Lanka’s export earnings last year, and that it accounted for nearly 70% of the country’s total revenue.
These factories are still operating in accordance with health guidelines. The government has decided to give the Covid vaccine to all people over the age of 30. Although many of the workers would be covered by the government’s vaccination program, the Minister is of the view that if a program could be formulated to provide the vaccine to factory workers in many parts of the country, it would help the manufacturing process in the country.
Meanwhile, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has agreed to Minister Prasanna Ranatunga’s request to give priority in the provision of Covid vaccine to those engaged in tourism industry. Accordingly, it is planned to provide this vaccine to tourism service providers soon, the Minister said.