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The frequent occurrence of street protests and demonstrations orchestrated by diverse groups most often with political backing (perhaps to disrupt the work of the Government), is seen to have a telling adverse effect on the conduct of export business, the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) said in a statement yesterday.

Exporters have highlighted disruption of the operations of their export businesses due to this reason. Compounding the most often congested traffic flows of the city and other centers of commerce, street demonstrations with scant respect for the rights of the public, leave alone the freedom to conduct legitimate economic activities, are seen to be carried out with impunity, mostly during peak hours, in some instances even defying court orders.

Member exporters have brought to the notice of the Chamber that conduct of their export business is hampered due to logistical bottlenecks related to transport of goods and other services, causing delays, resulting in increased transaction costs, adding to the incompetitiveness of Sri Lankan exports in the international marketplace. In fact, some exporters have been forced to consider shifting their operations closer to the Colombo Port to overcome this recurring problem.

Although pious intentions were announced by the Government to demarcate designated locations in the city to stage demonstrations and protests, the Chamber is concerned that nothing seems to be happening, which is a sad reflection on the effectiveness of so called ‘good governance’.

The Chamber is strongly of the view that it is high time, the responsible state authorities intervene, to overcome the damage caused to the economy, through not only the adverse effects on existing export businesses, but also by discouraging the entry of foreign investors to Sri Lanka and other entrepreneurs to the field of exports, in the background of the ambitious economic and export targets of the government to resuscitate the economy of the country.