* New ‘soldiers’ for Department of Commerce
March 6, 2013, 9:05 pm
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said the government has realised that it needs to take full advantage of the free trade agreements (FTAs) the country has signed up for with India and Pakistan in order to arrest export decline.
The minister made these comments when he met 10 recruits to the Department of Commerce. The department strength stands at 44.
The department is enlisting new recruits for its trade cadre to face the global market demands. "The Department of Commerce is the most crucial international service Sri Lanka has today since the time the post-war resurgence began. In today’s challenging global market climate, DoC’s role becomes even more important," Bathiudeen said.
"You are one of the new groups of soldiers who will battle Sri Lanka’s next war on the international trade frontlines. Our export markets have become more and more challenging and 2012 exports have shown a decline for the first time in years. Therefore to win, we need full time commitment, beyond the weekday attendance in your office. We want you to study the full potential of the two free trade agreements –the ISFTA with India and PSFTA with Pakistan," the minister told the new recruits.
"Of the 8,700 total listed products under these two agreements, some product lines have not been touched to-date so that the best advantage is not gained yet. I believe it is now time for us to take steps to get the maximum advantage from these regional openings. Scoring high marks in exams is good but that is not a predictor of your future performance. Also, engaging in private matters during your office duty time is wrong, it is ‘haram’ as per my faith," he said.
Anura Siriwardene (Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce) addressing the recruits, said: "We have selected you for this role based solely on your qualifications and not on any personal recommendations or ethnic or religious bias. We are not rewarding you with a new career opportunity here either. You are one of the new groups of soldiers who will battle Sri Lanka’s next war on the international trade frontlines."
Also in attendance were PD Fernando (Director General of DoC), and Asoka Godawita (Deputy Director of Commerce).