Basil R should change course if we are to come out of this foreign reserve crunch
Posted on September 6th, 2021

Dr Sarath Obeysekera London 

Since 2015 Export Development Board has been trying to implement National Export Strategy ( NES) with few salient features which can enhance our foreign currency reserves

A few of them are Development of Boat Building for Export coupled with Nautical Tourism in addition to Development of Spice Trade,Digital Technology  Transformation, development of  Wellness Tourism.

Nautical  tourism coupled with wellness tourism can be a winner for the country during this COVID pandemic where foreign tourists can be enticed or travel to Sri Lanka to spend their time to spend their holiday And also to recuperate after a Corona infection 

Many medium-sized cruisers are laid up in many parts of the world  and Sri Lanka can hire them at a reasonable fee and deploy them from Port City Hambantota, Galle, and Trincomalee 

Various hotels nearby those harbors can provide staff and food to these cruisers  with few private hospitals providing v medical facilities

Proposals were submitted to the task force but no attention was paid by the tourism authority 

Sailing from one port to another by sea could avoid tourists contacting locals to prevent the spread of COVID.

EDB has also formulated an Advisory Board to develop Marine and Offshore Industry by enhancing infrastructure in Trincomalee Harbour to deploy more Oil Rigs for layup during this lean period of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production.

Local contractors and chandeliers could benefit and more youth employment can be generated 

Unfortunately, the government  has not understood the potential 

Another matter brought up by the advisory’s board Is to promote Port City exclusively for foreign firms who are engaged in providing outsourcing facilities to Design and Project  Management of Oil platforms and oil tanker conversion to Oil drilling platforms. Sri Lanka has decided to provide tax amnesty to investors but more Road Shows should be organized to promote these facilities 

Two other main features in Marine and Offshore Industry Development is to encourage Sri Lanka. Educational  institutions to change their outdated curriculum to educate more white and blue-collar Technical staff to train in Disciplines connected to Oil and Gas Industry

Despite efforts by EDB with support from advisory boards, government has not understood the potential 

This exercise can be a winner for Sr Lanka to bring more foreigners to study in Sri Lanka 

Unless Sri Lanka change their strategy we will not survive much longer

Dr Sarath Obeysekera 


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