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Sri Lanka keen to send skilled manpower: CG.

Byline: K.S. Ramkumar

JEDDAH: The growing requirement of overseas skilled manpower for Saudi Arabia despite its ongoing Saudization was in focus at a seminar held at the Sri Lankan Consulate General late Saturday.

Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Vice Chairman Mazen Batterjee and Secretary General Mustafa A.K. Sabri, as well as businessmen and company CEOs, including Dr. Hamed Mutabagani of New Jeddah Clinic and Hospital, were among those present.

Representatives of the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment, part of the island's Ministry of Foreign Employment and Promotion, presented the seminar emphasizing the availability of trained and skilled manpower for overseas employment. Sri Lankan Consul General Abdul Latiff Mohamed Lafeer said the island state was looking to explore the vast opportunity available for skilled manpower in the Kingdom despite its Saudization policy.

"The idea of this event is to provide a forum for potential Saudi employers to explore the possibility of meeting their manpower requirements from Sri Lanka," he said, adding that the island state had remained a major source of manpower for the world over, especially for the Middle East, because of having the highest literacy rate in Asia.

He added that the island had been producing a great number of professionals including doctors, engineers, accountants, bankers, hoteliers and skilled workers. The consul general said half a million Sri Lankan expatriates were working in the Kingdom, but a majority of them were domestic workers.

"While we thank the Kingdom for hosting our workers, we want to focus on the fact that we also have a growing reservoir of skilled manpower who could contribute to the Kingdom's on going development efforts. The consul general said the idea of hosting the seminar was initiated by him during a meeting of the heads of Sri Lankan diplomatic missions in the Middle East held in January this year in Dubai under the chairmanship of the island's Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

L.K. Ruhunuge, general manager of Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign employment, gave a presentation on the procurement of manpower recruitment in the island state and P.G.S. Yapa explained the various training programs that are producing skilled manpower in the state.

Ruhunuge said Sri Lanka was a prime source of "trainable, reliable, loyal and cost effective" manpower. The liberation of trade and the open economic policies pursued by the government, encouraged youth to learn and develop industrial skills, he said.

Ruhunuge further said that close monitoring of trends in industrial and other disciplines ensures that program to train craftsmen, technicians and semi-skilled and other skilled workers acquaint them with modern technology, latest equipment techniques and methods so that they would not be found wanting at any stage.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Jun 22, 2009
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