SRI LANKA: Industry Ministry to develop comprehensive rubber database, looking for consulting firm

"The first trade focused national rubber survey of this nature, it is a comprehensive attempt on the rubber industry in the country," said Industry and Commerce Ministry Additional Secretary Asitha Seneviratne.

"The MIC has identified the rubber products manufacturing industry as one of the thrust areas for development in its SME development effort. The government has also reiterated the significance of rubber industry as a primary contributor to industrial development and export income while generating high quality employment," Seneviratne stressed.

Sri Lanka imported raw rubber to the value of US$ 101 million in 2010 and to the value of US$ 105 million from January to July this year. Last year, Sri Lanka exported rubber in raw form to the value of US$ 170 million and rubber finished products to the value of US$ 567 million.

"The first step towards it is a full scale rubber manufacturing industry survey in Sri Lanka. The results from the survey and database will become input towards design methodology, survey tools and implementation plan for the subsequent comprehensive workforce survey," said Development Division 2 Director Epa Dayaratne.

"We are now looking for a consultancy firm" added Dayaratne, who functions as Ministry's contact person for this project.

According to Dayaratne, eligible firms are invited to indicate their interest in providing the said services. Interested firms are requested to provide information regarding their eligibility including company profile, experience in similar tasks, availability of appropriate skills and expertise among staff.

"The selected firm is expected to develop comprehensive database and to design, develop and conduct a pilot workforce survey for rubber manufacturing industry in Sri Lanka. Expression of Interest including all requested information must be delivered not later than November 21," Dayaratne stressed.

Explaining Sri Lanka's rubber, Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen said in Parliament on September 21: "As the world's seventh largest natural rubber producing country, Sri Lanka offers many types and grades of rubber such as RSS, pale crepe, sole crepe, technically specified rubber and specialty rubber. Sri Lanka's rubber products are exported to sophisticated markets such as Europe and USA and do not have any problem in adhering to international standards. The range of products covers industrial products such as solid tyres, auto components, conveyor belts, hoses and tubes, while latex based products include industrial, household and surgical gloves. General rubber products include, doormats, rubber bands, sports goods, footwear and footwear components."

Source: "Daily News", Colombo; 7 Nov 2011

(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)