Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (third from left) handing over a certificate to a SLITA diplomat, joined by Chairman of Joint Apparel Associations Forum (JAAF) Sharad Amalean (far right) JAAF Secretary General Tuly Cooray (second from right) and Ministry of Industry and Commerce’ Additional Secretary Textile Development M.A. Thajudeen (second from left)
Having successfully wrapped a three decades’ run, Sri Lanka’s foremost apparel training body is to expand to the South Asian region next.
Meanwhile, for Sri Lanka to sustain its apparel advantage over the longer term, it needs to think beyond its low cost of labour.
“I am pleased to inform that Sri Lanka Institute of Textile and Apparel (SLITA) under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce is planning to expand,” said Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, addressing the apparel industry graduation ceremony by SLITA at Nelum Pokuna theatre where more than 500 new SLITA grads received their certificates and awards from him.
Industry leaders such as Chairman of Joint Apparel Associations Forum (JAAF) Sharad Amalean and JAAF Secretary General Tuly Cooray, Ministry of Industry and Commerce’ Additional Secretary Textile Development M.A. Thajudeen, as well as High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Sri Lanka Riaz Hamidullah attended the event.
“With today’s passing out of another 500 diplomates the grand total of SLITA course participants stands at 21600” said Minister Bathiudeen, and added: “As the only government institution engaged in training for apparel and leather sectors SLITA showed several important achievements. In 2017 SLITA performed almost 50000 testings for the first time, trained 5400 persons. These successful diplomates obtained academic and on–the-job training in textile and apparel technology with latest industrial exposure. Today I am also pleased to inform you that SLITA has important plans of expansion. SLITA is planning to expand its services to South Asian region and preparing to establish links and collaborations with prestigious textile and apparel institutions in the region. SLITA is also planning to acquire degree awarding status to award apparel degrees.”
Highlighting apparel sector performance of the first half of 2018 he said,“Our apparel exports that picked up in May this year strengthened further in June. The total exports in January-June this year was at US$2.4 billion, up by 5 percent compared to same period in 2017.
We exported US $ 1 billon apparels to EU, another US$ 1 billion to US and US$321 million to the rest of the world. Exports to EU grew by 7.76 percent and to US by 3.77 percent. For us to sustain this success rate over the longer period, we need to focus on gaining more advantages, in addition to our low labour costs. “
“I like to make three suggestions for the next stage of Sri Lankan apparel sector” said JAAF Chairman Sharad Amalean. “Increased adoption of digital platforms and e-commerce business for the sector. Secondly, speed and agility in our end-to-end courses. Thirdly, making Sri Lanka a total solutions hub-this is important.”
SLITA has a 30 year-history of continued success and was formally established as a single institution (after merging two institutions) by Parliament Act no 12 of 2009.