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* IFC helps Sri Lankan small businesses grow through easier access to loans
Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 12:36 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 05, Colombo: International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is working with Sri Lanka's Credit Information Bureau to make it easier for up to 37,000 micro and small businesses to access loans and other forms of financing using movable assets as collateral.

IFC will provide advice and assistance to CRIB to support the legal framework which will enhance financing for firms against movable assets such as inventory and equipment. Expanding the collateral registry to include non-fixed assets, all of which are more readily available to small businesses, makes it easier for them to obtain financing even without traditional mortgages like land or property.

"IFC's assistance in this project will pave the way for a well-developed Secured Transactions Act, and provide transparent rules for creditors," said Ananda Silva, Chairman, CRIB. "It will also facilitate the use of movable assets as collateral, benefitting businesses and supporting economic growth."

Sri Lanka's small and medium enterprise sector constitutes between 80 to 90 percent of businesses and generates 75 percent of the employment. However, the World Bank's 2011 Investment Climate Assessment estimates that only around 35 percent of Sri Lankan small firms can access a loan or a line of credit, and around 14 percent of those who applied were denied financing.

"This initiative will make it easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs with few fixed assets to obtain the financing they need to grow," said IFC Executive Vice President and CEO Jin-Yong Cai. "And it will allow financial institutions to reduce risks and diversify their lending portfolios."

Sri Lanka is a priority country for IFC. IFC's committed portfolio of $274 million in Sri Lanka covers projects across a range of sectors, including infrastructure, tourism, renewable energy, finance, and health care. IFC also provides advisory services to promote sustainable growth among small and medium enterprises by facilitating access to finance, and by offering capacity-building and training opportunities.



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