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COLOMBO – Fuel and energy shortages could impact the performance of Sri Lanka’s apparel export sector this year, the country’s main textile trade body has warned. Sri Lanka has been hit by a financial crisis in recent months, with shrinking foreign exchanges and a dollar shortage leaving it struggling to pay for goods – including fuel. The crisis has hit some garment factories with reports of a shortage of diesel leading to power cuts at some factories.

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) – the apex body of the Sri Lankan apparel industry – has now released a statement on the industry’s continuing efforts to maintain productivity in the face of disruptions in fuel and energy supplies in the island.

JAAF noted that while prudent measures were urgently required to address day-to-day issues, the industry has been able to keep operations on schedule, despite interruptions in power supply.

“At this point in time, the industry is managing as best as possible to fulfil orders under the circumstances. Our orders are secure for the next 3 to 4 months and are being processed, with some companies having to resort to costly air freight to meet committed deliveries,” said JAAF secretary-general Yohan Lawrence (pictured, main image).

On mitigating future disruptions, Lawrence stated that unless resolved soon, the extended power cuts, coupled with shortages of diesel, will have an impact on the industry’s performance this year. “The need of the hour is for a long-term sustainable solution to the issues being faced, in order to secure buyer confidence and maintain our reputation for delivering orders on time,” he said.

Garments are Sri Lanka’s second largest export by value and the sector has seen a pandemic recovery with export earnings increasing 22.1 per cent to US$487.6m this January, compared with January 2021. The sector has around 300 factories that generated revenues of US$5.4bn in 2021.

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