EDB welcomes transfer to Finance Ministry  – The Morning


  • No longer under Trade Ministry from 27 May
  • Chairman Suresh de Mel expects move to help prioritise exports 
  • Says exporters have more than enough orders in hand 


By Imsha Iqbal 

The Export Development Board (EDB) applauded the decision made by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to remove it from the purview of the Ministry of Trade and vest it with the Ministry of Finance with effect from 27 May.

Speaking to The Morning Business, EDB Chairman and Chief Executive Suresh D. de Mel stated that the apex body for Sri Lankan exports will come under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, and he expects exports to be given higher priority, along with obtaining the support of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). 

This change in line ministry was announced through an Extraordinary Gazette issued last Friday (27) by the Presidential Secretariat, which included the updated duties and functions of the relevant Ministers. The EDB was previously under the purview of the Ministry of Trade.  

The EDB Chairman further said: “I am not saying that the Trade Ministry is bad, but (coming under the purview of) the Finance Ministry is better.”

At the recent general meeting of the Chamber of Young Lankan Enterprises (COYLE), CBSL Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe emphasised that Sri Lanka’s need of the hour is to revert its dependency on imports, which has diminished the country’s reserves, and to become export oriented to overcome the economic crisis.  

De Mel also said that following continuous discussions with the Ministry of Power and Energy, he has been informed that the authorities hope to provide an uninterrupted electricity supply for the export sector, which will eliminate its need to rely on generators, and thus curtail its need for diesel. He noted that the diesel consumption of generators is considerably higher than that of supplying electricity from power stations, meaning this measure will allow the country to reduce its US dollar expenditure. 

Responding to an inquiry regarding the EDB’s export target revision for this financial year, de Mel said that during the last 10 months, merchandise exports alone were able to exceed the export target, which exceeded $ 1 billion per month on average thus far. 

“April was also a record-breaking month for us,” he stated, despite monthly exports dipping below $ 1 billion that month.

However, he stressed that exporters are determined to acquire diesel and continue their projects in order to contribute to US dollar inflows. Therefore, exporters will continue doing so, as the markets are booming and every exporter “has more than enough orders”, he said.

The key product and service export sectors of Sri Lanka are Ceylon tea, rubber and rubber-based products, coconut and coconut-based products, apparel and textiles, spices, essential oils and oleoresins, food, feed and beverages, diamonds, gems and jewellery, boats and ships, ICT, BPM, wellness tourism, logistics, and electrical and electronics.

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