Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said on that the country must develop a comprehensive entrepreneurship structure that encourages people, especially graduates, to embark on building their own businesses. He was speaking at the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ (ESL) programme which saw the launch of 15 tailor-made schemes, one especially for the youth.
A new loan scheme, “Arabuma”, has been tailor-made for the youth to encourage young graduates to enter into the economic development process by turning their innovative business ideas into potential businesses. The scheme ensures the cash flow through loans at zero interest rate, with full government guarantee.
The minister said that ESL also has several other target groups including micro enterprisers, self-employees, young entrepreneurs as well as selected vital groups of society. The programme enables school service van owner to move to 32-seats busses from the old van, thereby contributing to a more secure school transport service. It enables low income groups to upgrade and complete their houses and media personnel who work under difficult circumstances to buy necessary equipment.
He said the Government expects this programme to meet its medium-term targets such as per capita income of US$ 5,000, 1 million new jobs, doubling exports, more than 5% continuous GDP growth etc.Mr. Samaraweera said that at present whenever enterprisers called over at banks, they were asked to name suitable gurantors. As a result, even if they had a good business proposal, they were unable to obtain a bank facility. “That era is going to end. We have held a meeting with state banks and instructed them to have a separate Enterprise Sri Lanka’ desk staffed by employees knowledgable on the loan scheme,” he said.
The minister said that for the Gamperaliya programme Rs 64 billion had been allocated this year and every Divisional Secetriat area will be allocated Rs 200 million each for specified projects.President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister Samaraweera together launched ESL and ‘Gamperaliya’ (Village Transformation) programmes at the BMICH.
President Sirisena, addressing the gathering, said that State banks have a critical role to play in driving the economy and a responsibility to go beyond generating profits, to improve the economy of the country by providing services to the people. “My view is that State banks have multiple roles to play with around 50% of their efforts focused on profit generation and 50% in providing services to the people,” he said.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, speaking at the launch, said, when the Government took over in 2015, it could not afford to pay its own loans, but with 3 years of proper fiscal management, things have turned around for the better, and the Government is able to provide loans to the people. “Now we need more investments, increase exports and for people to have more spending power. People need money in their hands”.
He said that small businesses are the backbone of the economy, but rising interest rates discourage many from taking loans to expand. Hence, he said, the newly introduced Government loans scheme where the Government will pay the greater portion of the interest rate, will encourage entrepreneurs to take risks.
The programme also promotes Green Energy with 2 loan schemes to be implemented, focusing on solar power generation under the ESL Programme. The local funded ‘Rivi Bala Savi’ loan scheme supports households to establish solar power units on their rooftop, and the ‘Rooftop Solar Power Generation Line of Credit Project’ will be implemented with a US$ 50 million funding from the ADB, to encourage both households and industrialists to transfer to solar power. Within the next 3-years period, it is expected to invest around Rs 50,000 million in the solar sector, through these loans schemes that come under the ESL Programme. This will add around 250 MW to the National grid, which is, comparatively, of low cost and environment friendly.
A canard, born out of some utterances, reportedly made by disgruntled political elements has been desperately attempting to mislead the public, saying that the Army is in the process of withdrawing its formations in the North and East and downsizing its strength, putting the national security at risk.The Sri Lanka Army categorically denies having taken any such decision, nor has it contemplated implementing a move of that nature at all as alleged by those elements who try to showcase that ‘they’ are more patriotic than members of the armed forces in the country.
The Hydrographic Service of the Sri Lanka Navy celebrated the World Hydrography Day 2018 at the Naval Headquarters, on Thursday (21st June) under the patronage of the Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Sirimevan Ranasinghe.
The Government has issued an extraordinary gazette notification listing the names of 14 individuals living overseas with links to the LTTE and banning them from entering Sri Lanka, by placing them in the list of designated persons.
Chief Justice Priyasath Dep has appointed three High Court judges to hear cases in the country’s first special High Court to try high-profile financial fraud and corruption cases, informed sources said yesterday.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs today urged anyone in Sri Lanka or overseas to share with the Office on Missing Persons information regarding any individuals, including security forces and police personnel, who may be considered to be missing.
China Merchant Port Holdings Limited (CM Port) yesterday released the final tranche of US$ 584 million for the Hambantota Port, completing the US$ 976 million investment. This marks the single highest ever Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) received by Sri Lanka to date.
The attention of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been drawn to a list of names published online by the ITJP (International Truth and Justice Project). According to the ITJP, this list, which presently consists of 351 names and can be accessed at http://www.disappearance.itjpsl.com/#lang=english is of persons who are alleged to have disappeared while in the custody of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces in May 2009.
Sri Lanka is poised to be a major source of investment for companies looking to use Sri Lanka as a base to tap into the fast growing Indian Ocean region says Minister of Finance and Media Mangala Samaraweera Yesterday.