COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (Aug. 1, 12:45 p.m. ET) — Sri Lanka's plastic industry will get a new boost from the island nation's Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
“As our per capita plastic consumption is set to increase from current 6 kilograms to 8 kilograms, and plastic has become an indispensable item in our lives and manufacturing, I believe this is the right time to strengthen this sector and we are launching a new national initiative with UNIDO which aims to increase production and income volumes by almost 40 percent,” said Rishad Bathiudeen, Minister of Industry and Commerce.
The Bangalore, India-based International Center for Advancement of Manufacturing Technology will be involved in the modernization effort.
“The initial project value is US$1.75 million and we want to go into a detailed assessment of our plastic sector before commencing the modernization assistance,” said Nawaz Rajabdeen, UNIDO national director for Sri Lanka.
According to UNIDO, annual plastics consumption in Sri Lanka is close to 140,000 metric tons, with an estimated growth rate of 10-12 percent. More than 900 businesses in Sri Lanka are engaged in plastics processing, the bulk of them on a small scale.
Some 440 companies were engaged in direct plastic exports in 2009 with 88 percent of them being finished products exporters and rest either raw materials or waste exporters.
Among the finished products exports, 60 percent were in the packaging sector.
Bathiudeen said: “[The] plastic industry holds high potential for Sri Lanka's rural sector. This initiative will address modernization, employment, productivity, production quality as well as export growth.”
The plan proposes modernization of production processes to generate employment, quality and export growth, ISO facilitation and quality management systems.
Some 300 specialists will be trained on Best Manufacturing Practices and Quality Management Systems.
Among the challenges are lack of technological expertise, low productivity, shortages of technically trained manpower, slow response to consumer quality requirements, inadequate documentation and quality management system and weak technological innovation.