SRI LANKA: Govt has decided to re-open textile mill and factory

The government has decided to re-open the Kabool Lanka textile mill in Thulhiriya and Kabool Lace factory in Matthegama in early May, Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Investment Promotion Dr.U.Vidanapathirana told reporters.

Vidanapathirana said that the high-powered committee appointed by President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to resolve issues related to investment and foreign funded projects efficiently, took this decision at its third meeting held on March 29.

"The committee has already resolved many major problems relating to new and ongoing projects. The Pelwatta sugar project and golf link project that were in controversy for three years and some power projects have also been resolved by the committee," he said.

Vidanapathirana said that the two companies are in huge debt and the banks have agreed to re-structure the debts of the companies.

Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that Thultex International, a joint venture of Sri Lanka and the Philippines will take over the two factories.

The new investor will commence the maintenance of plants this month and production will start on May 10. According to Siyambalapitiya the total debt portfolio of the two companies to two leading commercial banks amount to Rs.5 billion. In addition the outstanding salaries, EPF and ETF contributions of the employees are around Rs.8 billion.

Siyambalapitiya said that the new investor will employ all the ex-workers of the two companies. Over 5,000 workers were employed and thousands were engaged in indirect employment in the largest textile mill of the country by the time the Korean investor fled the country in 2003.

Siyambalapitiya said that the government has agreed to purchase material for school uniforms and uniforms of security forces and the police after the new company start production.

The high-powered committee appointed by the President is chaired by Ministers Anura Bandaranaike, Dr Sarath Amunugama, Mangala Samaraweera and Dinesh Gunawardane. Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Investment Promotion, Senior advisor to the President Mano Tittawella, Chairman of the BOI and Chairman of PERC are the other members of the committee.

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Added: April 4, 2005 Source: Agencies
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