Sri Lanka exporters moving beyond labour arbitrage

Sept 25, 2013 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s high end apparel and information technology firms are moving beyond labour arbitrage to leverage knowledge and supply chain efficiencies, officials said. “Labour arbitrage is not necessary, the way we see it,” Udena Wickramasuriya, group director at Brandix a top Sri Lanka based apparel group that also has operations in India said.

“We see asset productivity being important in the next few years.”

He was addressing top executives at an LBR-LBO CFO forum on “Middle Income Economy Challenges: Private Sector Perspectives,” in Colombo.

Before nationalism intensified in Europe leading to tighter immigration barriers, labour migrated all over the world to centres, where economic activity flourished, helping eliminate unemployment and equalize wages across geographically diverse regions.

Manufactured exports, when dealt purely on cheap labour was an alternative to migration, and would also gradually help raise wages with reducing unemployment unless currencies were depreciated through central banking to arbitrarily impoverish workers.

Depreciating currencies also destroy capital and savings, making it more difficult to build capital int