The grant comes at a time when new opportunities are opening up in Sri Lanka’s plastics sector, including a rise in demand for PVC pipes as well as a growing need for pigments, additives and masterbatches. In addition, the money also seeks to address some of the challenges facing the island’s plastics sector, including a lack of technological expertise, low productivity levels as a result of insufficient technical and quality management systems, a shortage of qualified staff, a slow response to consumer requirements as well as a weak R&D sector.
UNIDO data indicate that Sri Lanka currently consumes almost 140,000 t/y of plastics – a figure that is expected to grow by 10-12% over the coming years. Some 900 companies engage in plastics processing, most of them small- or medium-sized enterprises. A little less than half of these also export their goods, mostly to the US. Finished plastic products account for about 88% of the state’s plastic exports, with the remaining 12% consisting of raw material or plastic waste. In the first category, packaging materials are the most common export good, accounting for 60% of all finished goods leaving the country.