The Sri Lanka automobile sector is making great strides and over 108 types of locally assembled cars, including luxury vehicles, trucks, military vehicles, three wheelers and motorcycles are already playing on Sri Lanka roads.
“In addition the automobile component manufacturing industry too is gaining momentum and becoming a formidable FOREX earner as well,” said Secretary, Ministry of Industries Thilaka Jayasundara.
VEGA INNOVATIONS has manufactured luxury vehicles while Mahendra too has assembled and introduced vehicles to the Sri Lankan market. In addition, Micro Car too has a local automobile assembly plant. She said the government is now encouraging these manufactures to go green and look at assembling electric vehicles and this too is now taking off. Jayasundara said that the component manufacturing industry while serving the local market is also exporting to companies like Toyota and Tesla adding a new component to Sri Lanka’s export basket. The Ministry of Industries four years ago launched the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for local assembly of vehicles and automotive component manufacturing to encourage world renowned brands to locally assemble vehicles. This historic SOP was a major success as today there are over 100 local company manufacturers. “Their local production in addition to generating export revenue has also helped Sri Lanka save and is expected to save over Rs. 200 billion annually from the import of vehicles and automotive spare parts.”
The current local manufactures such as tyre, battery, exhaust components, rubber parts and cushion makers will also get bigger orders and also better prices due to this SPO initiative. She said that in a bid to increase capacity and draw more foreign companies to start joint ventures with local companies, the government is planning to create a special automobile component manufacturing industry zone in Katana. “We have also identified 100 lands for this project and want to bring many related industrialists to this zone which will make providing logistics for them easier.”
She also said that they have observed the land allocation for industries in Sri Lanka is at a very low level of even less than 0.4%. “We are also aiming to increase this to 1% by 2025 and this is one such initiative.”
Commenting on other initiatives towards the industry sector she said that with President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Green initiatives they hope to introduce ‘green concept to 1,000 industries involved in the SME sector industries. She disclosed local industries depend 90% of their manufacturing based on foreign raw material. During The economic crisis we made special arrangements via the indian credit line to keep this import channel active.Due to the then dollar crisis there was a temporally restricted listed (TS) which included over 1.000 items and we negotiated with relevant line ministers and cleared it to help the local industries,” she added.
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