Mar 16, Colombo: The European Union has agreed to grant Euro 43.7 million of financial assistance for the development projects in Sri Lanka and the visiting EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica signed the agreements Wednesday with the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake at the Ministry premises.
The Ministry of Finance said three agreements were signed in relation to financial and technical assistance for three projects.
Out of the total non-repayable financial aid, Euro 30 million will support the Integrated Rural Development Program in Central and Uva Provinces.
The program intends to improve livelihood, income level, health and nutrition of low income receivers in the two provinces and to strengthen the social and economic services rendered by Local Government Institutions, Community Organizations, and Private Institutions.
Another Euro 8 million will be utilized in the Program for Trade Related Assistance in Sri Lanka to increase the competitiveness of Sri Lankan exports in the foreign market, implementation of policy and regulatory reforms on GSP+ of the European Union, and to implement a Trade Policy that includes measures to be implemented on regaining the GSP+ trade concession.
The remaining Euro 5.7 million to be given to the Water Supply and Drainage Board for technical assistance program. The program will grant technical assistance in Institutional Management and Technical Skills Development with special attention on Waste Water Management.
Speaking at the occasion, EU Commissioner Mimica said EU has been Sri Lanka's reliable partner in poverty alleviation and will continue its support through development cooperation. He said that the EU has allocated €210 million to Sri Lanka for the period 2014-2020 and the amount is almost double the previous amount of €110 million allocated in the period 2007-2013.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake thanking the EU for having confidence in Sri Lanka and assisting the country, said with the present government today adopting accepted global norms in the world, Sri Lanka is back in the World map.
The Finance Minister said that apart from the domestic internal brought forward problems there are also external problems from world economic turns that Sri Lanka has to face. While Sri Lanka can control the local problems, the external problems are the difficult ones and the present government requires the expertise and technical assistance from the EU to tackle external issues faced by the country.
He said due to the sagacity of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, both parties are working together and the benefits are given towards some people.
"We look forward to any assistance and all assistance that can be given on the GSP and we'll ensure that Sri Lanka will be a strong beacon of light in this are," the Finance Minister said.