Strained under frequent protests that create massive traffic jams on key roads, the National Chamber of Exporters (NCE) yesterday expressed dismay at the impact unceasing demonstrations are having on Sri Lanka’s overall economy and called on the Government to address the bottleneck.
In a statement, the NCE said the frequent occurrence of street protests and demonstrations orchestrated by diverse groups is seen to have a telling adverse effect on the conduct of export business. Exporters also highlighted disruption of the operations of their export businesses due to this reason.
“Compounding often congested traffic flows of the city, and other centres of commerce, street demonstrations with scant respect to the rights of the public, leave alone the freedom to conduct legitimate economic activities, are seen to be carried out with impunity mostly during peak hours, in some instances even defying court orders,” the statement said.
Member exporters have brought to the notice of the chamber that the conduct of their export business is hampered due to logistical bottlenecks related to the transport of goods and other services, causing delays resulting in increased transaction costs, adding to the non-competitiveness of Sri Lankan exports in the international marketplace.
“In fact some exporters have been forced to consider shifting their operations closer to the Colombo Port to overcome this recurring problem.”
“Although pious intentions were announced by the Government to demarcate designated locations in the city to stage demonstrations and protests, the chamber is concerned that nothing seems to be happening, which is a sad reflection on the effectiveness of the Government,” it added.
The chamber is strongly of the view that it is time the responsible state authorities intervene to overcome the damage caused to the economy through not only the adverse effects on existing export businesses but also by discouraging the entry of foreign investors to Sri Lanka, and other entrepreneurs to the field of exports, in the background of the ambitious economic and export targets of the Government to resuscitate the economy of the country, it noted.