Sri Lanka, Maldives to enhance cooperation in boat and shipbuilding industries

A virtual meeting between the National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM) and the Representatives of the Sri Lanka Boat and Ship Building Industry was recently hosted by the Foreign Ministry in collaboration of the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka.

It was organized with a view to enhancing mutual cooperation in the field of ship and boatbuilding industry between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

During the welcome remarks, Additional Secretary of the Foreign Ministry P.M. Amza noted that this as a landmark event for enhancing collaboration between the two countries to share knowledge and resources which would pave the way for greater physical engagement to conquer the world together.

The Additional Secretary further noted that Export Development Board has identified ship and boatbuilding as a priority area for Sri Lanka whilst emphasizing on the strategic location of Sri Lanka. He continued that this first-ever engagement would be mutually beneficial to both countries and a priority to further enhancing the economies and strengthen the existing bilateral ties and that it would be good for the sectors if an Agreement between the counterparts could soon be effective.

The Director-General of Export Development Board of Sri Lanka (EDB) Chithranjali Dissanayake indicated that the initiative is an important step forward to energize the collaboration towards a more sustainable partnership in the industry and stressed that the focus of EDB is the Boat Show 2021 to be held from October 25-29 virtually and that Sri Lanka has taken steps to enter the nautical tourism as well and that collaboration in this field is certainly vital to meet the partners globally. She also called the Maldives boat Industry to register and participate at the boat show to have more interactions.

President of the National Boating Association of Maldives (NBAM) Ahmed Afrah presented on the boat building industry in connection to the tourism sector of Maldives with live a boards and the main focus of NBAM to develop the boating industry of Maldives ensuring economic and social development aspects. Further, Afrah noted that the Marine Exhibitions, Maldives boating awards event and the Stay Safe Afloat as some of the important activities carried out by the association in addition to the magazine publications on environment awareness promotions. The presentation included descriptions of liveaboards and facilities catered to tourists in the Maldives and he emphasized joining them to fulfill requirements of this sector and recommended having an Agreement to support and share expertise in the areas of mutual interest.

Managing Director of Boat Building Technology Institute of Sri Lanka (BBTI) Gamini Herath underlined that the focus of BBTI is to promote Sri Lanka as a Boat Building Hub in the South Asia region. Further that some of the products include boat accessories, life jackets, boat and ship repairing including repairs of super-luxury vessels and yachts, and that their services have expanded to markets in Africa, Europe and some Middle Eastern countries as well as to Indonesia and Maldives.

During the discussions, the Maldivian side pointed out that around 10,000 to 20,000 movements in the Maldives get around the island nation and raised the concern of Sri Lanka having not much prepared to pitch in the Maldivian market. It was also proposed to have joint ventures in the industry to facilitate better investment and business engagements. The Sri Lankan side noted the absence of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement which results in the lack of approaching the sector due to tax burden among other obstacles and both sides agreed to work on drafting an Agreement on the industry for closer cooperation and taking the relations to newer heights.

The meeting was arranged by the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Male. Senior Officials of the Foreign Ministry, Export Development Board and the Representatives of Colombo Dock Yard and Executives of the Sri Lanka boat and shipbuilding industry and the Executive Members of the NBAM participated at the event. – ada derana

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