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Global giant to assist Lankan foundry industry

27 April 2015 05:09 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lankan foundries have not been given clear directions or policies, and will be addressed in the future with the help of a global foundry technology giant, according to a press communiqué from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

“Lankan foundry sources, including the Foundry Development and Services Institute of Sri Lanka feel that LEI/LMI (Light Engineering Industries/Light Metal Industries) itself has not been having a clear direction while also showing gaps in skills, technology and policy,” the statement said.

Government policies in the past had ignored the industrial sector of the country—except for a handful such as garments—skipping from an agrarian model to a service-based one in contravention of natural economic development.

Therefore, Sri Lankan manufacturing industries have been limited to producing light items such as water pumps, steel bars, machine parts, bolts, nuts and screws, welding systems, welded meshes and welded fences.

“Foundry is a feeder industry to many other export industries and therefore it is vital that we get this fundamental sector right, so that we can increase our exports in that, increase our overall export target as well as GDP to exports share,” Exports Development Board Director General Sujatha Weerakoone expressed.

Global foundry technology giant FOSECO’s Indian subsidiary has agreed to help Sri Lanka bridge this gap.

“Looking at the Lankan foundry sector, we believe we can share our knowledge and experiences on global foundry best practices with Lankan sector which will enhance it greatly,” FOSECO Marketing Head Sudhakar Rao said.

She noted that the foundry-based labour supply in Sri Lanka is very cost-effective.

“(This) means there is good scope here for foundry products at internationally competitive prices, especially for import substitution industries in this regard,” she said. Rao said that with technology and knowledge transfers from FOSECO, Sri Lankan foundries could boost their revenue by 30-40 percent.

“FOSECO also agreed to help Sri Lankan foundry sector to visit highly developed Indian casting sector which is the hub of casting in Asia,” Foundry Development Services Institute of Sri Lanka Chairman Melvin Samarasinghe said.

The progress review was made during a session jointly organized by EDB and the National Engineering Research Development Centre. It was attended by representatives from 30 Lankan foundry-relted institutions such as SR Metal, Hayleys Agro Technica, Alumex, Jinasena, Solex Engineering, Bopitiya Auto, Oscar Engineering, Milwa, Lakru, IDB, NERDC, and the Ceylon Steel Corporation.

Meanwhile Weerakoone said that despite constraints, LEI export revenues have increased 6 percent year-on-year to US$62 million.  “Despite many constraints, our light engineering sector has been bringing in increased export revenues to Sri Lanka. A study has been done and it pointed to tech and skill gaps prevalent in the industry and fixing them are crucial for the development of the sector,” she said. She claimed that the sector will be strengthened under the guidance of Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen.

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