Sri Lanka relaxes export support criteria

April 03, 2009 (LBO) – The Sri Lankan government is ready to be flexible on export earnings criteria in a support package for exporters to help them weather the economic recession, a senior finance ministry official said. S R Attygalle, director-general of fiscal policy of the finance ministry, said the government is ready to be flexible on the export earnings criteria in a recently announced stimulus package.

Under this support package exporters have to maintain 90 percent of the previous year’s export turnover this year and not retrench workers to qualify for a five percent incentive payment on their revenue.

The scheme was originally meant for the island’s apparel sector, the main industrial export, as well as the leather products exports sector, but it has now been extended to cover all exporters.

But exporters have been complaining that it is impossible to meet the export earnings criteria as exports have slumped with recession in key export markets reducing consumer demand.

Exporters have said that not only have orders come down but overseas buyers are also asking for lower prices, reducing their earnings even further.

Attygalle said while the government is willing to be flexible on the earn