Sri Lankan government is determined to develop the handloom apparels industry through a five year strategic action plan.
This was revealed at Ransalu (Golden wear) the Twentieth National Handloom Exhibition and Contest 2010 which was kicked off by Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa today (December 28, 2010).
Addressing the distinguished gathering at Minister Rajapaksa said that the intention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa was to allow the benefits of development trickle down to grassroots.
We could have achieved necessary growth levels by having two or three large scale projects. But President Rajapaksa s idea is to allow development to be distributed evenly in all provinces, all regions, all villages, all families, and all individuals. So development must happen at family level.
Minister Rajapaksa added that the government after heralding in an era of peace has brought into the country phenomenal growth through infrastructure development in highways, ports and aviation, power and energy.
He said that during the day itself the government was successful in securing an investment into apparels industry amounting over Rs. 8.3bn (US $ 75mn).
I am confident that the government will be able to achieve its handloom industry targets as Minister Rishad Baduitheen was a dynamic and young leader along with a committed team, the Minister added.
Speaking at the occasion Minister of Industries and Commerce, Rishad Bathiudeen, said that the government was thoroughly focused on developing the textile industry through a five-year strategic plan.
We want to set up 33 industry projects and nine colour labs by 2016. I assure you that we will set up at least three labs by the end of 2011.
The handloom industry did not receive sufficient attention in the past. Only after President Mahinda Rajapaksa took over did the sector was given any attention.
He added that the government wanted to set up nearly one million housing economic units with the collaboration of fifteen ministries. (See related story).
Full text of the speech of Minister Rishad Bathiudeen:
Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce Jayarathne Herath, Ministry Secretary Thilak Kollure, Additional Secretary H M R B Herath, Director (Textile) W A Wijitha Premapriya, Adivasi leader Uruwarige Wanniyalaeththo, Veteran Journalist K T Rajasingham, distinguished guests.
Mahinda Chinthana has clearly set out the manner in which the domestic economy will be rebuilt. According to it, by granting incentives for local produce apparels industry is gradually reaching progress and will lead to handloom garments becoming extremely popular.
Handloom Exhibition and Contest, will be crucial for the introduction of innovative and creative production trends that will suit modern active market requirements, which will lead to building local entrepreneurs who will ensure the forward growth of handloom industry by triumphing over international markets with local knowledge.
If the full potential for growth of the handloom industry is utilised the modes of income and job opportunities will be bountiful leading to decline of unemployment and under-employment in the rural sector. This will also serve as an ideal opportunity to enhance the quality of life of all youths including widows who had lost their husbands during the thirty years bloody civil war.
I wish all the very best to the National Handloom Exhibition and Contest organised by Textile Department and the Textile Division of Ministry of Industry and Commerce and thank all those who contributed to this national endevaour.