Free Trade Zone Manufacturers’ Association Chairman Jatinder Biala and Honorary Secretary Dhammika Fernando yesterday issued the following statement:
“It has become evident followed by the incident that a 39-year-old woman from Brandix factory in Minuwangoda had been detected as infected with coronavirus, we have seen a few media and social media stories doing the rounds vilifying the organisation with unfounded allegations.
“The Free Trade Zone Manufacturers Association (FTZMA) is of the view that Brandix being a member of our association is one of the best and leading apparel exporters. A proud Sri Lankan investment should not be victimised and maligned for spreading the virus at this juncture creating a public stigma. A similar situation could occur at any of our member enterprises in the country.
“We wish to state that the authorities and the general public shall not penalise and shall be devoid of discrediting Brandix unduly, which has been following proper health and safety guidelines recommended by the Epidemiology Unit of Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services.
“Further, we the FTZMA, as a responsible association, had taken various steps throughout the pandemic situation as an active industry chamber and helped the health and law enforcement authorities to overcome various challenges at the initial stage to start operations (whilst adhering to all health and safety regulations) of our member enterprises as early as late March, helping the national economy by bringing in valuable foreign exchange when it needed it the most through our exports earnings.
“Therefore, FTZMA wishes to convey their serious concern of this situation and would like to assist authorities to curb and control it, moreover such incidents may have already put financial stress to the employers of Brandix Fast Fashion and also its employees, so we all should support the company to overcome the current situation which is quite unfortunate.
“Whilst thanking the health authorities for the swift action taken to contain the Minuwangoda cluster, we once again express our solidarity with the Brandix Group.”