Jan 12, Colombo: Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera has said that the 'Enterprise Sri Lanka' program proposed in the 2018 budget to create entrepreneurs will be launched in March this year.
Under the 'Enterprise Sri Lanka', which is one of the main proposals made in the budget to create young entrepreneurs, 15 loan schemes will be implemented and the young entrepreneurs will be provided loans at concessionary interest rates and on Government bonds.
Those who obtain credit facilities would be given interest subsidy up to 75% of the effective interest rate, Minister Samaraweera said.
According to the Minister, government will disburse financial assistance to the tune of 60 billion rupees through state and private banks while the Treasury will set aside 5 billion rupees to reimburse interest subsidy to the banks as part of the Enterprise Sri Lanka program.
The Minister made this disclosure at a news briefing held on Wednesday with heads of state and private banks at the Treasury.
He said that if 'Enterprise Sri Lanka' is to succeed, the youth of the country must be made stakeholders of this national venture. "All our young people, whatever their social and education status may be, must be given equal opportunities to succeed and utilize their respective talents to the maximum," he said.
Loans will be provided to youth entrepreneurs under this program to launch industries or ventures in any field including agriculture and fisheries.
The Minister said the government wants to empower women and differently abled persons who have been largely neglected. As an incentive for them to come forward, they will be offered an additional interest subsidy of 10% and 15% respectively.
"The lack of access to capital and the requirement for collateral have been the core impediments to the development of start-ups of SMEs in Sri Lanka. Our objective is to ensure that in the future, no entrepreneur is ever denied credit due to lack of collateral," the Minister said.
Minister Samaraweera called upon all the banks to extend their fullest support to implement the program to create new jobs through the expansion of Economy while aiming to expand the exports.
"Let us reawaken our entrepreneurial spirit and transform Sri Lanka into a vibrant trading hub," he said.