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VIPs, strong resolve at Exporters’ Association AGM

Aug 14, 2011 2:31:38 PM - www.ft.lk

The Exporters’ Association of Sri Lanka which is affiliated to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce held its 14th AGM recently.  
The Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa was the chief guest at the AGM and the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal was the guest of honour and the Key note speaker at the event.

Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa lights the oil lamp at the Annual General Meeting of the Exporters' Association of Sri Lanka. Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal, newly elected Chairperson Dawn Austin (second from left) and outgoing Chairperson Nirmali Samaratunga are also present

Dawn Austin Managing Director of Nidro Supply (Pvt) Ltd. assumed responsibility as Chairperson for EASL, whilst Rohan Daluwatte, Manager, Operations & Logistics, Tea Tang Ltd. was elected 1st Vice Chairman and Saradha De Silva Chairman and Managing Director of Intercom Limited was appointed 2nd Vice Chairman.
The EASL’s mission is to promote and protect the interests of the exporter community at large and has brought together a wide spectrum of exporters under a strong single platform aimed at exchanging views and making representation on macro issues relevant to the country’s exports.  
The EASL has  constantly  engaged with Government agencies, representing and lobbying  exporter concerns  for consideration, with a view to  facilitating a dialogue with regard to national  policy  direction,  whilst  taking  into account the shared goal of  achieving  strong national economic development through the combined endeavours  of the export sector and the Government.   
Governor Cabraal encouraged the high profile house by stating that, despite the state of the world’s economy, exports in the first half of the year had demonstrated that the country can achieve growth at around 8.5 percent this year.  He explained the negative impact of inflation and urged exporters to identify niche market demands whilst addressing the aspect of improving productivity. He stated that the Government had successfully addressed the establishment of a stable macro-economic platform for business development by regulating and reducing interest rates and the level of inflation. He commented that new and diversified export markets have emerged in the recent past which was a reflection of Sri Lankan exporters’ ingenuity. He stated that the dividend of peace would auger well for new investment and create a positive environ for increased export activity.
Nirmali Samaratunga, Co-Chairman and Joint Managing Director, Mackwoods Ltd. stepped down as the Chairperson of the Association after completing 3 successful years in the said capacity. She concluded her speech by saying “Sri Lanka is today, poised for exponential growth and sustainable progress and development. The peace we yearned, for almost 3 decades and the political stability fundamental for strong economic growth is today a reality. With this firm foundation now in place it is for us as citizens of this country and particularly as the private sector to, in partnership with the Government build on this foundation so the country may realise its true potential to achieve double digit growth, double per capita income, reach middle income status, and most importantly, achieve social equity for all”.
Austin on her election as Chairperson of the Association for the year 2011-2012 stated that “the year ahead is definitely going to be a challenging one.”  She recorded her belief that the Government’s  export target of $20 bn in the year 2020 was achievable. She also said that exporters would need to re-invent their strategies and define new marketing initiatives in order to meet customer demands in a volatile currency market.  She assured the Minister that the EASL looks forward to engaging with the Government, as also with the Private Sector, in extending its capacity and willingness to support every endeavour towards take this country to a greener and sustainable future way beyond 2020.

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