In this regard, the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media will conduct the first major exhibition in Moneragala this week from August 29 -31 and roll out several village-level infrastructure projects parallel to the exposition under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“We selected Moneragala because it is one of the poorest regions in the country and many people would benefit from the programme that we will do including the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ scheme. Additional resources for the Gamperaliya programme would be allocated in the next Budget,” Minister of Finance and Mass Media, Mangala Samaraweera announced at a press conference on Monday.
According to the Minister, the event will comprise 515 stalls and draw the participation of about 204 persons from the corporate sector including those from abroad. Special bus services will be operated for the exhibition.
‘The Enterprise Sri Lanka’ initiative, launched in July this year, with an allocation of over Rs. 5.2 billion comprises 16 credit financing schemes under three categories - interest subsidy loan scheme, donor-funded refinance loan scheme and financial and non-financial support programme. A total of 11 loan schemes offered under the interest-subsidy scheme include Ran Aswenna, Govi Navoda, Riya Shakthi, Rivi Bala Savi, Diri Saviya, Jaya Isura, Sondura Piyasa, Madya Aruna, Arambuma Credit Scheme, ‘Green Loan’ and ‘Middle Income Housing Loan Scheme’.
The donor funded refinance loan scheme consists of three categories (Rooftop Solar Power Generation Project, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Line of Credit Project and Pavithra Ganga Initiative) while there are two other financial and non-financial support programme.
“The objective of the programme is to support young entrepreneurs in villages and strengthen their small businesses by providing capital on easy terms through Sri Lanka’s state owned banks. The loan schemes address financing needs of small scale farmers, agro and fish processing establishments, poultry producers, potential home and vehicle buyers, women and youth,” a senior official from the Fnance Ministry pointed out.
According to him, all state banks and branches have set up a special desk and ‘Relationship Manager’ to handle Enterprise Sri Lanka loans.On the other hand, Gamperaliya is a fast-track rural development programme aimed at developing irrigation, rural roads, schools, sanitary facilities, playgrounds, Sathi Pola, green parks, electricity, renovation of religious and archaeological sites and housing. With an investment of Rs. 65.8 billion, the Gamperaliya scheme will be the primary focus of the Government’s economic agenda over the next two years. Accordingly, the Government has set aside Rs 200 million per electorate for the next four months and intends to inject more money into the rural economy particularly for the development of rural roads, rural markets, and other public work under this programme me me , Minister Samaraweera said.
“The Government hopes to provide close to Rs 32 billion for the Gamperaliya programme for the next four months.Budget 2019 to be presented to Parliament in November will also provide more funds to make this project a success in the coming years,” Minister Samaraweera told journalists at the media briefing on Monday.
Meanwhile, Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Wijith Wijayamuni Zoysa explained the rationale behind selecting Moneragala as the first venue for Enterprise Sri Lanka and Gamperaliya exhibition. He said that as the district is suffering from acute poverty levels, the Government intends to take development to the grass roots by empowering people in that region.“The Government has understood the needs of a new breed of young entrepreneurs and has put in place the necessary financial frame work to support them.
‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ will be an ideal platform to create a conducive environment with fair and equal opportunities for budding local entrepreneurs to contribute to the country’s development,” he pointed out. Also taking part in the media briefing, Minister of Public Administration and Management, Law and Order Ranjith Maddumabandara said the exhibition would rejuvenate Wellassa.
“Entrepreneurship is something that is in our DNA. During the pre and post-colonial period, Sri Lanka had maintained robust global trade and entrepreneurial engagement with the rest of the world,” the Minister said.He added that the Government has embarked on an ambitious development revolution based on two important pillars, ‘democracy and reconciliation’.
The second and third editions of ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’, Gamperaliya exhibition are slated to be held in Anuradhapura and Jaffna.