The brand-new component manufacturers have surpassed the granting of 5,000 new employment appointments in the Western Province over the past few months. This was stated by Dimantha Jayawardena, President of the Sri Lanka Automobile Component Manufacturers’ Association.
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Industries together with the stakeholders of Sri Lankan Automobile Assembly and Automobile Component Manufacturers Industries launched a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Automobile Manufacturing / Assembling Industry and the Automobile Components Manufacturing Industry in Sri Lanka.
Commenting on the developments since then Jayawardena said, “Industry stakeholders have been working hard during the intervening period to make maximum use of the new environment that has been created by the launch of the SOP. In the recent past, many have passed out of the Vocational Training Institute with NVQ Level 4 qualification. Many of them will be absorbed by the private sector companies involved in the manufacturing of automobile components. In the next two to three years, we expect the industry to generate around 45,000 jobs.”
A variety of automobile components are currently being manufactured in Sri Lanka and exported to various countries. Among them are pneumatic and solid tyres, batteries, rubber components including bushes and carpets, silencers, seats, radiators, body panels and bumpers even for racing cars, impact sensor switches for seat belts and airbags, and truck trailers.
“A new truck manufacturer is expected to enter the market soon,” Jayawardena said. “Ten thousand locally manufactured motorcycles will be released for sale by 1st October 2021. These bikes will feature locally manufactured batteries, seats, wire harnesses, plastic and rubber items, as well as tyres.”
The 2021 Budget introduced in November last year included several policy initiatives to encourage the local manufacturing of automobile components. “Last year, SLACMA submitted a 10-year master-plan to the Finance Ministry as a crucial step to take the Local Assembly Industry and Component Supply to the next level, as they seek quality certification from their regional counterparts to boost growth,” Jayawardena said. “The unity within the industry and the very positive responses that we received from particularly the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industries has laid the foundation to move forward with the master-plan.”
“It is very heartening to note that job creation is becoming a reality. Wire Harnesses are largely manufactured by a pool of women, making the employment rate dedicated to this sector see a jump from 60-70% in women’s jobs. We are very confident that despite the pressures of the pandemic, we will be able to realise the objectives of improved and increased local manufacture and assembly and of a rapid increase in job creation.”