- Requests all members to comply with govt. request
- Says govt. can only declare holiday for public sector
- Stresses need to continue with certain biz activities without interruption
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon (EFC) yesterday urged the private sector to comply with the government’s request of declaring the three-day special holiday so that the impact from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the country can be minimised.
“The government can only declare a holiday for the public sector, and they have requested the private sector to also follow suit due to the emergency health situation. We at the EFC are urging all our members to comply with the request as much as possible,” EFC Director General/ Chief Executive Officer Kanishka Weerasinghe told Mirror Business.
He added that the government had acknowledged the need to continue certain business activities and expects certain industries to allow working from home as much as possible.
“Such include the IT sector; employees attached to the industry will be working from home. It is not a holiday,” Weerasinghe said while pointing out that the deceleration of the three-day special holiday aims at limiting movement and restricting large gathering.
On the evening of March 16th, the government announced a three-day holiday starting yesterday, until Thursday, March 19th.
However, on Sunday (15), the Government Information Department in a special statement announced Monday the 16th as a ‘public, bank, and mercantile’ holiday, unlike the three-day special holiday announcement.
The announcement of the second holiday deceleration has brought about confusion in the private sector as the directive was found to be vague. Employees of the private sector reported to work yesterday as companies resumed operations as usual after the
Holiday confusion hampers logistics operations
The lack of clarity on the government’s three-day special holiday announcement has led to sections of the logistics sector to operate with skeleton staff, a senior representative of the industry said, a situation that could have been avoided if the relevant authorities were specific with their directive.
With exporters struggling to get their shipments on time to designated markets with vessel operators cutting down their frequencies, logistics specialist and Shippers Academy CEO Rohan Masakorala stressed the need for the smooth movement of supply chains at this moment of time. ”The previous day holiday was understood, but the three-day directive lacks clarity as it can be interpreted differently,” he stressed.
Pointing out it is necessary to have the supply chains moving, which he said is also the intention of the government, Masakorala asserted the need for the supply chains to be managed as smooth as possible, which require firm direction from the government.
He said that as of now, Sri Lanka Customs and the ports are working allowing companies to move their cargo in and out without any major hassle.