Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) estimates that close to 100,000 people engaged in the industry will be unemployed owing to COVID-19 pandemic impact with multiple waves experienced in major markets, which are continuing with restrictions on mobility and events.
Around 300 garment factories employ 990,000 and over one million people are indirectly dependent or employed.
JAAF is also of the view that despite picking up in recent months, apparel exports for the entirety of 2020 are likely to be $ 2 billion lower than last year. Revised forecast is that apparel export earnings to decline by 40% which is about $ 2 billion and in the best case scenario earnings to drop by $ 1.3 billion to $ 3.3 billion by the year end.
Sri Lanka last year earned $ 5.3 billion from apparel exports, an increase of 5.1% from 2018. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the industry originally expected a 6% increase in exports for 2020.
Sri Lanka took proactive measures and imposed strict controls to contain the spread of COVID-19 with aggressive contact tracing despite some gaps in testing and has since largely opened economic activities to resume subject to health guidelines and social distancing.