New PPP to fast-track Rubber Master Plan

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By 2017-07-17

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By Nishel Fernando

Preparations are steadily progressing to implement the Rubber Master Plan (RMP) which is lagging a year behind schedule. The Government would shortly set up a key institute under the RMP and Rubber Secretariat at Diyawanna Gardens to lead implementation efforts as a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Addressing the 98th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Ceylon Rubber Traders Association speaking on behalf of the Minister of Plantation Industries, Naveen Dissanayake recently, Advisor to the Minister, Lakna Paranawithana said, "Preparations were underway to implement the RMP. There is slight delay but we are progressing. We have almost completed the setting up of the Rubber Secretariat at Diyawanna Gardens which will be an enduring PPP. Its two key executives would be appointed soon and we will invite the private sector to join us when it is inaugurated."

The RMP aims to increase production up to 30,000 metric tons by 2045, while the industry's export revenue exceeding $5 Million by 2030 under RMP. All 24 projects would be implemented under the Master Plan and would require investments of approximately U$ 500 million. Plantation development would require nearly 90 per cent of this amount which would spread over 25 years......providing sufficient spread and flexibility in allocating funds.

Nine new projects would focus on how to improve rubber production, productivity and quality. Paranawithana said, "We are taking steps to restructure the Rubber Development Authority (RDA) to make it more responsive to rubber producers' needs. Its link with the Rubber Research Institute of Sri Lanka (RRISL) will be strengthened. At present, a team of eminent scientists are conducting an organizational diagnostics study of RRISL to bring about a change in the way RRISL operates."

The Master Plan was drafted by a team of Sri Lankan specialists with wide industry experience who functioned as Asian Development Bank (ADB) consultants and was supported by ten Work groups (WG) representing different industry value chain segments. Implementation of RMP was scheduled to begin in 2016.

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