Fast Links

Jan 09, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s fast-growing information communications technology (ICT) industry is seeking lower tariffs on high-speed communications links the cost of which is still too high, officials said.

“We have proposed that they have preferential tariffs for export industries.”

Export earnings from the sector, which has 175 firms employing 16,000 people, are expected to reach a billion dollars before 2015.

The main markets for ICT exports are Europe, USA, and south Asia while the main markets for BPOs are the US, Europe, Canada and mature Asian countries. Accessing reliable and fast Internet links is one of the key problems facing the industry which could constrain growth, according to a recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers done for the Export Development Board, the state export promotion agency.

Mano Sekaram, chairman of the EDB’s advisory committee for the ICT and BPO sectors, said the industry was seeking tariff concessions to reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of the ICT industry.

The island’s ICT and BPO (business process outsourcing) exports shot up 47 percent to 310 million US dollars in 2010-11 from the year before and will remain strong, the survey said.