Sri Lanka apparel firms mull investments in former war zone

Jan 27, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan apparel exporters said they are considering expanding into the former war-zone in the island’s north and east from where Tamil Tigers have been driven out. Ajith Dias, chairman of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, an industry umbrella body, said the government is trying to encourage apparel companies to set up plant in the north and east to give employment in communities disrupted by war.

“There are huge expansion opportunities in the eastern province and now in the north,” Dias said.

“The government is pushing hard for us go to the east, where three factories have already been set up.

“There are 13,500 young widows who need to be gainfully employed,” Dias said.
“These are opportunities.”

Government forces last year ousted Tiger rebels from their jungle lairs in the east where conditions are slowly returning to normal.

The security forces have also made significant gains in their campaign against the rebels in the north.

Troops over the weekend captured Mullaithivu, the last remaining big town under rebel control on the north-east coast.

The Tigers have been confined to a small pocket in the island’s north-eastern co