COLOMBO (News1st): The chambers collective led by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, recommending measures that could be taken to mitigate the spread of COVID – 19, and to stabilise the economy.
The letter included immediate, short and medium-term plans, to help stabilise the economy.
The chambers proposing an immediate term measure called for special attention to be paid towards the smooth running of logistics, and called on customs and border agencies to deploy a less stringent regime on examination checks.
The letter emphasised that priority should be given to facilitate the local production of essential safety items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitiser liquid to meet the demand.
For the industries affected the most, the chambers proposed that the government in collaboration with the Employees Provident Fund and the Employees Trust Fund could consider a three-month moratorium on EPF and ETF contributions.
The chambers also recommended the Government to consider extending the package of concessions given to SMEs and to initiate a programme to access multilateral funds to help affected countries.
Further, the letter proposed that foreign missions in key markets should be activated, in a manner that would facilitate Sri Lanka’s exports such as Tea.
“Strategies should be implemented to exploit the sharp fall in global oil prices,” the letter read.
The chambers also added that the overtime limit should be increased from the current 60 hours to 80 – 90 hours per month for a limited period for all affected industries.
The Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs, The National Chamber of Commerce, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka, The Ceylon National Chamber of Industries, International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka, Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce Sri Lanka and Chamber of Construction Industry Sri Lanka were among the other signatories to the letter.