- NES to go for Cabinet approval in two weeks
- Exporters call for high-level trade governance council
By Nishel Fernando
Sri Lanka is to form a six-member secretariat for monitoring and implementation of the proposed five-year National Export Strategy (NES), Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry Secretary Chandani Wijewardana told Mirror Business, yesterday.
Wijewardana said the action plans of the NES are currently being finalized and the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry would submit the final version of the NES, which also includes the proposed secretariat, to the Cabinet in two weeks for approval.
Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama is also likely to submit the final version of the National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Strategy, following the NES.
The proposed secretariat will have six members comprising of two officials from the Export Development Board (EDB), a representative from the Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry and Board of Investment, a member representing trade chambers and another official from the Project Management Department.
It will work on fast-tracking implementation of the NES while coordinating with the EDB advisory committees and assisting responsible line ministries.
The EDB last week appointed new sector-specific export advisory committees, following the revamp of the existing committees. These committees are responsible for guiding the implementations of their respective sector.
In addition, the committees will also be responsible for providing strategic direction to a specific export industry and have advisory roles in the implementation of trade development interventions.
Wijewardana said the International Trade Centre has agreed to assist the proposed secretariat to establish a tracking system to monitor the implementation of the NES.
The ministry expects the proposed governance mechanism for implementing the NES priorities will ensure that implementation of responsibilities are assigned effectively, resources are used efficiently, transparency of information leads to accountability and key public-private operators effectively support the implementation.
“The secretariat will assess the implementation of the NES by responsible line ministries and will provide the necessary assistance, particularly in terms of getting the required funds for the implementation of the NES.” Wijewardana noted.
According to her, each member of the secretariat will have clear roles and two members will work on a permanent basis while the rest will work on a part-time basis. The Development Strategies and International Trade Ministry currently is working on finalizing the structure of the proposed secretariat.
Meanwhile, the exporters have insisted on setting up a high-level trade governance council, which will be chaired by the president or prime minister to coordinate all trade-related interventions.
Wijewardana said that the government has recognized the need and will consider setting up such a council during the implementation phase of the NES.
The exporters have expressed their confidence over achieving US $ 20 billion in exports by 2020 with the implementation of the NES.