Apparel State Ministry not prepared for disruptions

  • Covid spike not expected to affect industry

  • Still eyeing $ 6 b export target 


The State Ministry of Batik, Handloom, and Local Apparel stated that adverse threats that can emerge from the third wave to the apparel industry are not expected, and that the State Ministry is not prepared to face disruptions to the sector.

An official from the State Ministry, who wished to remain anonymous, commented: “We are still not expecting such a thing; the increasing surges of the Covid-19 virus from place to place is believed to not affect the apparel sector drastically.”

The official revealed that some players in the sector are aiming to achieve the 2021 apparel export target of $ 5.1 billion, regardless of the current situation of the country.

However, according to reliable sources, the apparel industry expressed aims of achieving a $ 6 billion export target set by the Government for 2021 before the third wave of the virus surfaced.

“Currently, the apparel sector is operating normally. We cannot predict a lockdown or curfews; we do not believe this will take place. If such a thing happens, however, we will resolve and manage it at that time,” the official added.

It was further expressed that the State Ministry believes that precautions to safeguard the apparel industry against the possible event of another Covid-19 wave is unnecessary as lockdowns or curfews are not expected.

On another note, export performance of textile and apparel exports rounded up $ 3,938 million in 2020 in comparison to the $ 5,205 million in 2019. Currently, the export performance of the textile and apparel sector is at $ 1,218 million.

The main partners that have a demand for Sri Lankan textile and apparel exports are the US (43.14%), the UK (14.23%), Italy (8.69%), Germany (6.14%), Belgium (4.59%), the Netherlands (3.73%), Canada (2.87%), Australia (1.55%), France (1.89%), China (1.51%), India (0.94%), Japan (1.12%), Sweden (1.06%), and other (8.55%).

According to the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters’ Association (SLAEA) website, the apparel industry also set an annual export target of $ 10 billion by 2025 while expanding into regional markets.

“We have set our own target of $ 10 billion by 2025 and continue to be a strong player not only in rural Sri Lanka, but regionally and globally as well,” SLAEA Chairman Saif Jafferjee said at the apex body’s annual general meeting (AGM).