A New Industrial Estate Will Be Started In Valaichenai For The Development Of The Footwear And Leather Manufacturing Industry – Ramesh Pathirana, Minister Of Industries

Although the economic, social and political problems that have arisen in the country in the past two years, there has been growth in the local industry and therefore, to promote the footwear and leather manufacturing industry, 25 acres from the Valaichenai paper factory site are allocated for a new industrial estate. It is expected to start this soon under the Ceylon Industrial Development Board. The minister said this today (3) while participating in the opening of the footwear and leather exhibition

The exhibition will be held at the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Hall in Colombo on the 3rd, 4th and 5th for the 13th time. The exhibition consists of 145 stalls where small, medium and large-scale footwear and leather manufacturers will have the opportunity to display and sell their products.

Minister further expressed that “Sri Lanka had to face an economically, socially and politically difficult period during in the last 2 years with severe foreign exchange crisis. We hope that the situation will be over after 2023. But during this difficult period, many local industries have come forward. Among them, the footwear and leather industry has been identified as one of the leading foreign exchange-saving industries in the country. These industrialists have managed to supply 90% of the local footwear needs. The total value of this industry is about Rs. 60 billion. The government has already implemented a special program to protect the local footwear and leather manufacturers by imposing a cess tax. As well, many tax concessions have been given for the import of leather and such decisions taken by the government led to the promotion of this industry”.

The footwear and leather industry, which saves foreign exchange for the country, has directly and indirectly provided about 3 lakh employment opportunities and 10 large-scale companies, 30 medium-scale companies and about 3000 small-scale manufacturers are engaged in this field. The footwear and leather sector has been identified as a value-added manufacturing sector that can promote the export earnings of Sri Lanka. The footwear requirement in the country is about 50 million and the rubber sandals requirement is about 25 million. 60% of this is produced locally. Currently, the local school shoe requirement is about 4.5 million pairs, which is met entirely by local manufacturers. Today, local footwear manufacturers export rubber sandals to Australian and European markets.

In addition, eight (8) leather factories are operating in Sri Lanka and produce about 6 lakh square feet of leather per month. There are six(06) large-scale and 1000 small-scale factories that produce leather goods aimed at the tourism industry.

This exhibition, to promote the footwear and leather industry, started in 2007 and is held jointly with the Ministry of Industries, the Sri Lanka Industrial Development Board, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and the Footwear and Leather Manufacturers Association after a two-year break due to the Corona crisis.

Thilaka Jayasundara, Secretary of the Ministry of Industries, P. G. D. Nimalasiri, president of the Footwear and Leather Manufacturers Association, Suresh De Mel,  chairman of Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Dr. Saranga Alahapperuma, chairman of Lanka Industrial Development Board,  Ministry officials, industrialists and many others attended this event.