The Fabric and Apparel Accessory Manufacturers Association (FAAMA) of Sri Lanka has elected Pubudu de Silva, chief executive officer of Teejay Lanka PLC as the body’s president for 2020-2021. FAMMA operates under the umbrella of the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), the apex body of associations operating within the textile and apparel industry.

At its recently held Annual General Meeting (AGM), FAAMA elected Trischel Fabric Ltd chief executive officer Dhanushka Fernando as the vice chairman, while Dhananjaya Rajapaksha, chief executive officer of Stretchline Ltd was elected the secretary, and Samal Dissanaike, chief executive officer of T&S Buttons Ltd was elected the treasurer for 2020-2021.

Executive Committee for the year 2020-2021 include Beauno Fernando (immediate past chairman) – Shore to Shore Ltd, Hameed Ashraff (immediate past secretary) – Fantasia Narrow Fabrics Ltd, Sanjay Chandraratna – A&E Thread Lanka Ltd, Lloyd Fernando – Shore to Shore Ltd, Ashiq Lafir – Noyon Lanka Ltd, Rohan Goonetilleke – Hayley’s Fabric PLC, and Privthiv Dorai – South Asia Textiles Industries Lanka Ltd.

Speaking at the AGM after his election as FAAMA president, Pubudu de Silva highlighted the importance of setting up a strategy to withstand the challenges post-COVID-19 as the global situation is still very uncertain for the industry.

“The global scenario is very uncertain. How we will face the unknown challenges will determine our future. It is critical to set up our strategy in going forward and we will be able to survive,” he said. He added that the steps taken today will be for the betterment of the entire industry which can boast about a high value addition industry, rather than an import bias industry.

FAAMA secretary Dhananjaya Rajapaksha pointed out that the fabric and apparel accessory manufacturers have a critical role to play during the current pandemic. He said the industry should work more on digitalisation, customisation and maintain agility in capacity to stay afloat during these trying times.

JAAF chairman A Sukumaran said the important role being played by FAAMA in the total supply chain was clearly felt when they faced the first closure of ports by China as a result of COVID-19. “The industry could not produce due to non-availability of raw material and we were totally relying on imported inputs. However, those who depend on local fabric base were able to continue to get their supply despite the disturbances that were created.”

He added that subsequent developments within the country further strengthened the argument for an active role by FAAMA members as at present the imports are restricted to the maximum.

“The Government is now thinking in terms of domestic production for local consumption and for substitution of imported inputs for export. This makes the role of FAAMA more meaningful today than was yesterday. Therefore, we are extremely happy that FAAMA is now getting re-energised to function as an effective body,” Sukumaran said.

Noting that the strength of JAAF lies in the strong associations that are there to come up with various issues that are necessary for the sustainable industry, he said, “Revival of FAAMA is of paramount importance to us and we would like to ensure that these efforts be continued with vigour particularly when revival is important.”