Tea industry urges relevant govt. depts. to increase number of working days to facilitate exports

  • ays industry handicapped by authorities not operating services 
  • States opening Health Dept.’s Food Control Admin. Unit most vital  
  • Most tea factories function with half the staff 

The local tea industry is urging the government to increase the number of working days of relevant government departments to facilitate the necessary approvals for the export of tea.

Speaking to Mirror Business, Tea Exporters Association (TEA) Chairman Sanjaya Herath said the request is put forward so that the industry is given the necessary support, allowing it to continue to steer through the stagnant times brought about by the 
coronavirus pandemic.

“The plantations are working to ensure the production continues. However, we are slightly handicapped since the relevant authorities, where we get the necessary approvals from, are not working. The banks are also working only three hours a day. This is slowing us down,” Herath said.

The TEA chief shared that after a lot of pressure from the industry players and the Sri Lanka Tea Board, the Commerce Ministry is now functioning three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

Required is now to get the Food Control Administration Unit of the Health Department to be open as well, he said. He said the department issues the necessary certification that affirms the final product as fit for human consumption.“Our request is to have them open three days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for at least five hours a day, so we can move forward,” Herath said. 

According to the TEA chief, most of the factories have started work, however only with half the staff capacity. 
While getting staff to factory sites is currently the most challenging endeavour to handle due to the ongoing curfew. Herath said stringent measures are in place to ensure work is carried out in accordance to the Health 
Ministry guidelines. 

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