■Factories shifting to Bangladesh – TU
The loss of the GSP Plus facility that was granted by the EU to Sri Lanka is continuing to result in the closure of factories in the country resulting in thousands of employees jobless.
It is learnt that two such factories had closed down on January 2nd since they are shifting their businesses to Bangladesh, which is a reception of the GSP Plus facility.
President of the Inter Company Employees Union (ICEU), Wasantha Samarasinghe said that contrary to claims made by the government, the loss of the GSP Plus facility has affected many private sector businesses in the country.He observed that the recent closure of two garment factories in the Gampaha District had affected the direct employment of 1,500 while a large number of indirect employment opportunities have also been affected.
He said that Chrystal Sweater (Pvt) Company in Malwatta Investment Promotion Estate in Nittambuwa was closed down on January 2nd and Firefox Pvt Ltd in Pamunugama in Wattala was closed down on the same day.
According to Samarasinghe, these factories have been established with Board of Investment (BoI) approval.
“The government assured that the country would not face any economic fallout due to the loss of the GSP Plus facility. But now factories are closing. The government needs to provide solutions to the current crisis,” he said.
Samarasinghe added that the government has failed to address the issue of people losing their jobs.
“Although some employees have received some form of compensation payments due to the intervention of traded unions, some others workers have lost their jobs even without proper compensation,” he said.
The EU’s GSP Plus tariff concession allowed Sri Lanka to sell over 7,000 products to the EU countries tax-free.
The country’s garment industry benefitted most by the facility.
It is learnt that 10 garment manufacturing factories have been closed in Biyagama, Nittambuwa and Katunayake investment zones.
The government has stated that these closures have caused losses amounting to around Rs. 5 billion to banks.