The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, following the success of its roadshows to promote access to finance for small and medium enterprises, is planning more such events in collaboration with commercial banks. Earlier IFC has conducted three such roadshows in Hambantota, Matara and Colombo.
This week, the media was briefed on the 4th roadshow to be held in Ratnapura on October 16-17. Deva De Silva, Financial Markets Specialist, IFC, Sri Lanka told The Sunday Times FT that the IFC sponsored SME Road Show programme is successful since this programme began around two and a half years ago the SME portfolio penetration was around 20 to 30 %. Now with this programme in place the penetration has reached above 50 %.
Officals said the roadshow provides a unique opportunity for local small and medium enterprises to meet with banks that are involved in financing small businesses. Participants will include the Commercial Bank, DFCC Bank, Hatton National Bank, Nations Trust Bank, NDB Bank and Sampath Bank.
Per Kjellerhaug, IFC Manager for South Asia said that their past events proved to be excellent platforms for facilitating access to finance for small and medium enterprises, while helping Sri Lankan financial institutions look at funding SMEs as a bankable proposition. The roadshow in Ratnapura will aim to achieve the same objective.
On poverty reduction vis-à-vis developing the SME sector, Mr de Silva said that the main mission of the World Bank Group also is to reduce poverty and they use various ways and means to achieve this purpose. He said that the SME Road Show programme applies to poverty reduction and their intention is to conduct more and more events like this in the rural backdrops where poverty is more visible.