Labour regulations must be amended to allow greater flexibility – Harry Jayawardena

The existing labour statutes have to be amended to allow greater flexibility as current regulations deter employers from recruiting during periods of uncertainty, delaying economic recovery, a top industry official said. “This is a time for renewed focus on facilitating unhindered international trade so that our exports remain competitive in key markets. Labour regulations must also be amended to allow greater flexibility as current regulations deter employers from recruiting during periods of uncertainty, delaying economic recovery,”Chairman of Aitken Spence PLC Harry Jayawardena told shareholders in the annual report 2019/20. Jayawardena noted that Sri Lanka’s post COVID-19 growth strategy will have to be driven by the state with the private sector as a catalyst and facilitator. Further, he stated that the consumption is necessary to spur economic growth, which can only be driven by policies that support continued employment and job security and added that extended relief measures including greater tax concessions would in turn enable businesses, especially those in the worst affected industries, to create much needed confidence among the stakeholders to retain their workforces. “We also see seismic shifts in supply chains as policy changes in key markets and exporting countries lead to the relocation of places of manufacture due to near-shoring and on-shoring,” he said and added that Sri Lanka must use its strategic location on to seize these opportunities through investment friendly policies and ease of doing business. Jayawardena further noted that the Government must pursue development of large-scale infrastructure projects with concessionary financing terms including longer grace periods to attract foreign direct investment (FDI). He also stated that Sri Lankan companies should be given preferential terms to provide services for these contracts to maximise the flow of benefits to the country from such projects and added that consistent fiscal policies are also a prerequisite for FDI inflows. The full statement conveyed by the chairman is given below.                

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