‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ to be launched in March - Mangala


Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera said yesterday that one of the main proposals made in the budget to create entrepreneurs would be launched in March. He said those who obtain credit facilities would be given interest subsidy up to 75% of the effective interest rate.

Samaraweera said the government expected to disburse Rs 60,000 million through state and private banks to would be entrepreneurs and further Rs 5000 million had been set aside by the Treasury to reimburse the interest subsidy to the banks.

"Under this scheme 15 different loan schemes have been proposed for young entrepreneurs in the fields of Agro, fishery industries and for small and medium enterprises. This scheme includes journalists and those who are self- employed as well

"In addition to young entrepreneurs, women and differently abled persons will also be provided special opportunity to take part in this program. Women and differently abled persons who come forward to take part in this programme will be offered additional interests subsidy of 10% and 15 percent more respectively. The women will have to form a company at least with ten equity share holders and each shareholder will have invested at least Rs 10,000. The government will extend a comprehensive support package which includes both non-financial and financial assistance including grants and the credit through the enterprise Sri Lanka credit schemes to these companies".

The Minister of Finance and Mass Media held a discussion yesterday with the Heads and the Chief Executives officers of the state and private Banks at the Treasury. State Minister of Finance Eran Wickremarathna and the ministry high officials also participated at this discussion.

The Minister called upon all the banks to extend their fullest support to implement this programme of the Government, to create new jobs through the expansion of the economy while aiming to expand the exports.

The government expects the SME sector to be the backbone of the economy. However the lack of capital or the difficulty in accessing capital due to both the high cost of capital and the requirement for collateral have been main the main impediments in the development of startups of the SMEs.

However the minister said the objective was to ensure that no entrepreneur was ever denied credit due to the lack of collateral, but would able to access financing given viability of the project proposals.

The heads of state and the private banks assured the minter of their continuous support to this project to realize the government’s objectives of creating one million new jobs, increase the per capita income and the expansion of exports through enterprise Sri Lanka program.

With the aim of obtaining female participation in the field of business and industry, the women who join the "Enterprise Sri Lanka" programme would also be given an interest relief of 10% in addition to 75% interest relief when obtaining a loan and 15% extra (surplus) interest relief for the especially skilled individuals with a treasury bailout, the Minister said. 

The Government will provide non-financial technical facilities for the companies in which women have a greater entitlement, including at least 10 participants that start up with a minimum capital of Rs. 10,000 from each shareholder.

The Government will hold 75% of the leasing cost of the machinery obtained by such companies and the Treasury will issue the required guarantees for the relevant banks.

With the objective to create one million new jobs and to encourage the export by increasing per capita income, the Chief Executives of all the state and Private Banks has promised in the discussion held with the Minister of Mass Media, to provide the full support the Government "Enterprise Sri Lanka" to succeed, which is proposed to be started in March.

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