The government will support the formation of a textile cluster by providing investment relief to businesses that will invest in this venture and will also provide adequate space to save close to $2,000 million per annum. While the apparel and textile industry of Sri Lanka exported products worth $4,800 million in 2015, it imported fabrics worth $2,296 million in the same year.
Garment exporters will also be granted permission to import branded products by enterprises for reworking, operating under the commercial hub regulation. These garments will then be exported to countries where there is no preferential treatment, said the government.
The textile and handloom industry of Sri Lanka has a significant domestic market and will generate employment for many. The Industrial Development Board (IDB) will provide the necessary infrastructure and training. The board has also been requested to increase engagement with the industrialists who require knowledge transfer and upgrade the industrial estates to support the small and medium enterprises (SME) sector. The government has proposed to allocate Rs 500 million towards this sector.
The government will also allow apparel companies based in Sri Lanka to invest in overseas entities involved in apparel design and manufacture up to 5 percent of their average export turnover of the preceding three years in any given year. Profits and income of such enterprises established overseas should be received by the investing company in Sri Lanka.
As multiple industries including textiles, require thousands of trained workers, the finance minister of the country proposed a significant shift in the policy framework in vocational training, by providing scholarships to anyone who wishes to follow a vocational training programme at a state operated institution. This will enable vocational training in Sri Lanka for all at no cost. A sum of Rs 300 million will be allocated by the government to meet the cost of the scholarships to be provided under this programme.