Chairman of the Export Development Board (EDB), Dr Kingsley Bernard, acknowledges that Sri Lanka, like many other countries, is currently experiencing a decline in export earnings due to the global economic downturn. However, he remains optimistic, expecting the situation to improve by the end of the year.
During the inauguration of the EDB’s first online application portal dedicated to the 25th Presidential Export Awards (PEA), scheduled for November 23, 2023, with President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the chief guest, Dr Bernard highlighted the reduced buying power of countries such as the USA and EU due to various economic and geopolitical challenges. This has had a negative impact on Sri Lanka’s apparel exporters, who are significant contributors to export revenue.
Despite the challenges, Sri Lanka achieved its best year of exports in 2022, surpassing the figures of 2021 and 2020, with earnings of USD 15 billion. Dr Bernard expresses confidence in the global economy stabilizing and sets a target of USD 18.8 billion in export revenue for 2023.
The chairman also mentions the introduction of new products in the export basket, particularly in the wellness, organic food, and pharmaceutical sectors. Additionally, he notes the increasing contribution of the service sector, ICT, and electrical and component manufacturing sectors to export earnings.
Regarding the online application portal, Dr Bernard announces that exporting companies can now submit their applications through the portal from today until August 7, 2023. The portal provides comprehensive information on award categories, guidelines, evaluation criteria, instructional videos for filling out applications, and testimonials from previous winners of the prestigious PEA Award.
The 25th PEA Ceremony, organized by the EDB, will be held at the BMICH and will recognize the country’s best exporters for the financial years 2021/22 and 2022/23. The awards will be presented in two main categories, comprising 13 overall awards and 51 sector-specific awards for each financial year. The selection process for the awards was carried out by a distinguished panel headed by a retired Supreme Court judge. The event is expected to gather around 1,500 attendees, including ministers, diplomatic corps, government officials, well-wishers, and exporters.