The military has beefed up security at Sri Lanka’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) where export manufacturing facilities are located to ensure the safety and smooth operation of the zones.
In this respect, the Board of Investment (BOI) has been “communicating with the Sri Lanka Police and the Army to ensure the safety of all the workers in order to facilitate transporting them to all respective factories without a hitch,” a statement issued by the organisation stated.
A BOI spokesman noted that the Police, Army and the Navy have moved into the zones. Since last week operations at the zones were affected when groups of protesters entered the premises of zones and called out to the workers to come out and participate in the protest to bring down the government. Following this, discussions had ensued among the FTZ Manufacturers Association (FTZMA), the trade unions and the security forces to provide maximum protection to workers and property.
It is learnt that since last Saturday the security had been enhanced with military presence and operations have resumed as normal at the zones.
The BOI statement also noted that operations at the zones has “begun and is bouncing back to normal” despite the uncertainties prevailing in the country with the workers reporting for duty.
Further the BOI had also held discussions with the Sri Lanka Customs and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to make operations with respect to the export process smooth, the statement said.
It also noted that “In the face of the current circumstances, it is of utmost importance that we keep our foreign exchange going.”
FTZMA Secretary Dhammika Fernando said that the protesters had entered the premises of the zones previously. The entrances were blocked and later the workers were allowed to come in but again they were disrupted with mobs turning up and shouting at the gates.
With order books of some of the SMEs in the apparel sector empty from July/August the disruptions at the workplace needs to be quelled, he added.