He said it is disheartening to see the country importing even kites, bananas and pomegranates which are produced locally and cherished for ages by the people. The enterprise development program will be a flop if we do not put a stop to imports of goods that is produced locally.
“The entrepreneurs will commit suicide if the trend continues and many will be left in the lurch without a market for their produce. There has to be a market, a proper price, quality and maintenance of standards to develop local enterprises. There is no point in talking big about local entrepreneurs excelling internationally if entrepreneurs within the country are not excelling. Entrepreneurs within the country must excel first and then capture the global market,” the President said.
He said State banks are making big profits but the question is how far do they help develop the national economy through entrepreneurship development which supports the rural economy. The state banks must be 50 percent commercial oriented and 50 percent service oriented to support entrepreneurship development.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that at the time the current government assumed office it hadn’t even money to service the debts apart from launching a program to support local entrepreneurs. However, today we have not only restored economic stability but also accelerated economic growth and the Enterprise Sri Lanka program is a reflection of these achievements. Foreign investments recorded the highest growth last year. Programs to boost enterprises will help attract more foreign direct investment which is essential for export development and in turn stimulate the rural economic growth.
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said henceforth entrepreneurs need not have to worry as all hurdles to obtain loans will be cleared through the new program enabling them to reach the global market and onday the pinnacle of success as entrepreneurs.
The Enterprise Sri Lanka Loan Scheme aimed at grooming 100,000 entrepreneurs by 2020 got underway at a ceremony presided over by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the BMICH on Friday. The Rs. 80 billion program comprising 16 concessional loan schemes with additional incentives provided to incentivize women entrepreneurs aims at revitalizing the village economy through vibrant enterprises that would contribute to the national economy.
The government has already allocated a sum of Rs. 5.25 billion for the project according to Finance Ministry sources who said another 10 percent will be added to the interest rate concessions for enterprises which employ over ten workers of which a majority is women. Persons with disabilities will receive the same allowance. The 16 loan schemes comprising 11 interest subsidy loan schemes, three refinancing loan schemes and two 2 financial and non‑financial schemes will be implemented by the Ministry of Finance in partnership n with state and private banks.
Banks both State and private, have been instructed to give prominence to entrepreneurs of the loan scheme with a special window for the Enterprise Sri Lanka Program set up at all People’s Bank, Bank of Ceylon and Regional Development Bank branches.
The government aims at reaching a per capita income of US$ 5000, one million jobs, doubling exports and recording over five percent GDP growth continuously under the theme “Enterprise Sri Lanka”.There are 15 tailor-made local and donor funded financial and non-financial schemes under the “Enterprise Srilanka Credit Program’ to support the SME sector, the driving force of the economy.
he program also aims at assisting farmers and agro based companies engaged in small scale subsistence agriculture to commercial scale agriculture by infusing low-cost capital for mechanization and adopting modern agro technologies.