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Government happy with plantation, more support projects on the way

Aug 15, 2011 2:41:43 PM - www.ft.lk

Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabral on Friday stated that the Government considered the plantation industry as an extremely important one to the country and had created opportunities in varied ways to support the sector.
Cabral stated that instructions gad been issued to all banks to use the profits set aside for long-term activities as according to the last budget instructions to support the sector’s replanting and new planting initiatives.

“In the last budget, President Rajapaksa said that a special fund would be created within all banks where the profits of banks will be retained for future long-term activities. Recently we issued operating instructions for the usage of those funds and one of the first areas we have advised the banks on is to support replanting as well as new planting,” the Governor said.
“There is a pool of resources earmarked particularly for such long-term gestation projects so that banks also have a pool of resources that can be supportive of projects such as replanting.”
He stated that the Government was conscious of the need for continuous replanting and new planting so that the country would always have a level of activity within the plantation industry to support the external sector as well as overall employment.
Cabral noted that the state would also like to see the industry moving into further product diversification and value addition. “In tea exports, 68% is value added, which is commendable. But this means there is 32% still available for further product development. Within the next few years, we should ensure that that part of tea is also exported in value added form.”
He asserted that the issue of productivity which had been a question under consideration for far too long, should be resolved by coming up with a methodology supporting all parties.
“I hope you may see a methodology where you can develop partnership with workers and others so that you will have a model developed to satisfy plantation companies, trade unions and workers to achieve industrial harmony,” he emphasised.

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