Thursday, February 7, 2013

Planters’ Association welcomes Govt. support for tea industry

The Planters’ Association of Ceylon yesterday welcomed the Government’s decision to resolve the crisis faced by the tea industry following the move to hike the cess on exports.

Chairman Lalith Obeyesekere said the PA was indebted and  grateful to Plantation Industries Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe for acting swiftly  in this matter in bringing it to the  notice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who, having understood the serious repercussions of an increase of over 100% in the prevailing cess, has directed the relevant gazette to be amended so as not to cast any further  burdens on this vital industry whose long-term sustainability is of significant importance  to the country.

Following the unexpected enhancement of the export cess on tea, which resulted in an immediate decline in the market and would have undoubtedly led to further depression in the ensuing weeks, industry stakeholder associations including the PA made an appeal to Minister Samarasinghe for his intervention in bringing about an equitable resolution both in terms of the quantum of cess and the methodology in computing same.

  “While we appreciate and commend this laudable gesture by President Rajapaksa and Minister Samarasinghe, we trust that any future regulatory or fiscal changes would be made in consultation with the line Ministry, the Sri Lanka Tea Board, and the industry stakeholder associations,” Obeyesekere added.

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