(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday (30) called on all industrialists and the business community to protect their employees and face the challenges they have to face during the epidemic instead of removing them from the workforce.
The Premier was speaking at a discussion held at Temple Trees Wednesday on issues faced by the Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) and the Sri Lanka Retailers Association (SLRA).
The representatives who attended the meeting spoke on issues such as obtaining bank loan concessions, resolving issues in opening letters of credit (LOCs), vaccinating garment workers, obtaining permission to open readymade garment shops as per Covid guidelines, Employees Provident Fund and Employees Trust Fund issues.
Lalantha Wathudura, President of the Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association commended the Prime Minister for launching a separate ministry for the production of batik handloom fabrics and local apparel.
The delegation pointed out that their business activities have been paralyzed for nearly 24 months now due to the terrorist attack on Easter Sunday and the global epidemic of Covid-19 and requested the Prime Minister to provide emergency relief through the Ministry of Finance to maintain business and trade.
Representatives of these unions said it has also become difficult to keep employees in the business while maintaining business and that there was no other option except laying them off but it is also a difficult task.
Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Industry; Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Labor, Dayasiri Jayasekara, State Minister of Batik, Handloom Textiles and Local Apparel Production, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Minister of State for Finance and Capital Markets and Public Enterprise Reforms; Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Prime Minister; Chaminda Kularatne, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister; Sujeewa Palliyaguru, Additional Secretary, State Ministry of Batik, Handloom Textiles and Local Garment Production Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director General of Health Services and officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank were also present.