(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that the country’s export earnings grew to US$ 7,886 million during the January to August 2021 period, with an increase of 22.4% over the corresponding period of last year.
The Finance Minister said this while participating in the lengthy discussion on the problems faced by the respective sectors in the face of the pandemic and the solutions required for managing them and reaching the relevant performance level, at Temple Trees last Friday.
The discussion was held on the progress made in earning foreign exchange through the export and service of local products up to August 2021 and the issues that have contributed to its further growth.
Accordingly, the targets achieved in the export of textiles and apparel, tea, rubber and rubber products, coconut and coconut related products, engineering products, other export crops, gems and jewellery and seafood were also discussed.
The average monthly income from commodity exports last year was US$ 840 million and in the first eight months of 2021 it had increased to US$ 986 million. Despite the COVID pandemic, rubber and rubber products and engineering production have now successfully achieved the expected targets while other sectors are still close to the performance level.
There was a lengthy discussion on the problems faced by the respective sectors in the face of the pandemic and the solutions required to manage them and reach the relevant performance level.
Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa instructed the officials to identify the problems faced by those who are seeking to go abroad for employment and to take immediate action to resolve those problems. The Minister emphasized the need to remove any obstacles as soon as possible as there is a growing demand for Sri Lankans in the foreign employment market. Accordingly, the Minister drew the attention to the problem of lack of aircraft seating facilities for those currently expected to travel abroad and instructed officials to resolve this issue expeditiously by using foreign airlines as well as local airlines as required.
He pointed out that the expatriate Sri Lankan working class community plays a significant role in earning foreign exchange and added that it is the responsibility of the relevant sectors to address the difficulties they face expeditiously.Minister Rajapaksa further stated that since the objective of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Government is to lead the country towards a productive economy, necessary steps will be taken to give it priority. He further stated that while strengthening the economy and maintaining the growth of the export sector, active development activities in the country will also continue. Ministers, Secretaries to Ministries and government officials were present.