Sri Lanka’s apparel industry sounds alarm bells over ongoing crisis as day-to-day operations take a hit

April, 1, 2022

The Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apex body of Sri Lanka’s apparel industry, reiterated concerns over the industry’s ability to continue its operations due to the prevailing fuel and power crisis.

“The fuel shortage is having a massive impact on our day-to-day production. We are unable to use our generators during power outages because of the lack of diesel. To add to this, fuel shortages are affecting our ability to transport our goods and provide staff transport for our employees”, stated Secretary General of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Yohan Lawrence.

While order books have been full since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, JAAF noted that fulfilling these orders on time without interruptions, particularly before the April holidays, is proving to be a challenge. Factories, including a number of SMEs, are already shutting down as they are unable to operate any longer due to the prolonged power cuts and lack of diesel.

It was earlier stated that BOI run Export Processing Zones would be exempt from the power cuts but that has not been adhered to, as in the last 24 hours, the EPZs too have been experiencing prolonged power cuts.

Sri Lanka’s apparel sector contributes 6% to the country’s GDP and accounts for 40% of all exports. The sector provides direct employment to 350,000 workers and an additional 700,000 who receive livelihood opportunities as part of the greater supply chain.

“This crisis, if not resolved immediately, will place the entire industry at risk.  Sri Lanka has always maintained a high level of confidence among our buyers,” Lawrence reiterated.  “If our buyers start losing confidence in us and move to other competing markets, getting them back will be extremely challenging.”