The apparel sector will lose USD 2 billion for the three-month period starting from March because of the disruption to supply chain in Europe and the US following the COVID-19 outbreak, Cabinet Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardene said yesterday.
He told Daily Mirror representatives of the apparel industry met him last Sunday and discussed their grievances triggered by the pandemic. He said apparel exporters were in a predicament as they were unable to ship their consignments meant for upcoming summer.
“According to what they narrated to me, their buyers are not ready to place orders at the moment. They have manufactured a lot of garments to be shipped to the markets in Europe and the United States for this summer, but COVID-19 has disrupted the supply chain. There are some 500,000 employees directly linked to the apparel sector. These industry representatives sought concessions from the government to pay salaries for these workers during this period. They spend Rs.18 billion as salaries. I will raise this issue at the next Cabinet meeting,” he said.
Among the organisations that made representation to the minister were Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters’ Association, the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Chamber of Garment Exporters. (Kelum Bandara)