to be revamped to assist Small and Medium Enterprises
The Board of Investment (BOI) will be restructured into five regional
commissions in order to address the needs of Small and Medium Enterprises
(SMEs) in each of those regions.
will not be only to service the big people," said Professor
G.L Peiris, Minister of Enterprise Development, Industrial Policy
and Investment Promotion. "We are planning to set up five regional
commissions in different parts of the country in order to enable
decisions to be made in concurrence with the needs of the particular
It is a very
fruitful and timely initiative to address the needs of small and
medium scale industries," he said at the launch of 'Sahanya',
a small and medium scale entrepreneurs' loan scheme.
comes under the overall aim of protecting small scale, local industries
and particularly vulnerable enterprises in a competitive business
environment. Five private banks, namely HNB, NDB, DFCC, Sampath
Bank and Commercial Bank, will be assuming leadership in each of
the five regions, providing support to the industrial sectors, and
catalyse investment by improving SMEs, enhance access to finance
and strengthen the enabling business environment for SMEs.
objective of the government is the industrial and economic development
of the country by addressing the needs of these SMEs.This was not
a "piecemeal solution" or a "bureaucratic run of
the mill scheme", Prof. Peiris said. "It is to do with
uplifting the small man and enabling him to compete in what is a
very volatile and unfriendly environment. So it is a very important
programme from our point of view."
The Asian Development
Bank has sanctioned $60 million in financing SMEs credit component
alone and a partial credit guarantee of $90 million. Each small
and medium business venture will be granted a loan of up to around
Rs.35 million with no minimum amount. The loans will carry a 14
percent interest rate with a maximum repayment period of ten years
and a two-year grace period.
asset value for a loan to be sanctioned must not be more that Rs.35
million. The scheme also recognises the need for better management
and marketing as well as technical experience. (RC)
Bank help in Lanka's reconstruction
- As efforts to consolidate peace intensify in Sri Lanka, the World
Bank agreed on November 14 to provide $31 million to improve the
lives and economic prospects of people living in conflict-affected
areas. The funds were mobilized quickly in response to the immediate
need for easing the hardships which exacerbate tension in the North
East Province, and are in turn part of a broader World Bank strategy
to support Sri Lanka's national economic reform and development
in the context of the peace process.
The new financing
will support an Emergency Reconstruction Programme which will help
restore primary health care; repair urban water schemes; provide
returning families with opportunities for income generation and
employment; and build capacity to undertake a multi-donor-financed
reconstruction programme in the coming years. It will assist people
living in the North East Province where development assistance has
been absent for 20 years. The programme will be administered by
the North East Provincial Council, according to a World Bank statement.
offered this assistance to help those who are among the most vulnerable
of Sri Lanka's poor, as part of the World Bank's primary mission
of helping to reduce poverty," said Peter Harrold, World Bank
Country Director for Sri Lanka. "In addition, it is extremely
important that the benefits of peace-which include better social
services, economic opportunity and growth-be demonstrated to the
entire population of Sri Lanka as early as possible."
of the Emergency Reconstruction Programme were developed based on
a joint rapid needs assessment carried out by the government together
with the World Bank's International Development Association, the
Asia Development Bank, The World Health Organization and the German
Technical Cooperation Agency.
The $ 31 million
will come from project savings that would have otherwise been canceled.
Another $ 12 million will be provided from ongoing projects in legal
and judicial reform and education, which were originally intended
to reach the North East, but had been blocked earlier due to the
conflict. Another $ 23 million is being provided from ongoing projects
aimed primarily at assisting the North East-i.e., the North East
Irrigated Agriculture Project and the Landmine Action Project. This
brings the total World Bank commitments to the North East to $66
officials to visit EFC
Berge, Deputy Director General and Ms. Inger Ostby, Advisor Development
Assistance of the Confederation of Norwegian Business and Industry
(NHO) will be visiting the Employers' Federation of Ceylon (EFC)
and Chambers of Commerce from November 25 to 28.
The duo is visiting
as part of a fact-finding mission to sister organisations in developing
countries and to start a dialogue about possible future institutionalised
cooperation between the NHO and a corresponding local organisation.
The delegation is due to visit the EFC tomorrow.