Jan 12, Colombo: The Government of Sri Lanka has assigned high priority to the development and strengthening of small and Medium enterprises (SME) sector to be a sustainable sector of the Country's economy and to link to global markets, Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen said today.
Addressing the launch of Sri Lanka "Enabling Environment -SME Legal & Institutional Assessment" session by the Ministry of Industry & Commerce and the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) in Colombo, Minister Bathiudeen said the national SME Policy framework, its action plan and assigning responsibilities are important steps to achieve this goal.
According to the Minister, implementation of Sri Lanka's first national SME strategy began in earnest as the government moved a top global private advisory firm to lead the process.
At the occasion, NEDA under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, has signed a MoU with EY Advisory Services -a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited, a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services-on this occasion as a preparatory step for implementation work of national SME policy launched by his Ministry last year with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Sri Lanka EY Advisory Services has retained Colombo's law firm F. J. & G. de Saram for mapping of legal environment related to Lankan SMEs. GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) in Sri Lanka is funding the three-month long pilot project of SME policy implementation with Rs 3.8 million five months after its initial national launch last year.
Thanking the GIZ Sri Lanka for supporting Sri Lanka's SME sector in this initiative with their funding, the Minister noted that there are a little more than one million registered SMEs and MSMEs in Sri Lanka, each providing employment to three people on average, especially in rural areas.
"We believe that SMEs are more than 70% of the total number of enterprises in the economy providing 45% of the employment and contributing to 52% of the Gross Domestic Production (GDP). With the increasing trend of globalization the SME sector has become a driving force for 'growth and development'," the Minister said.
The SME Development Action Plan is expected to achieve the defined objectives in the National Policy Framework for SME Development that was launched by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in September last year.
The SME Development Action Plan is based on six policy intervention strategies articulated in the policy framework and Enabling Environment is one main area to be addressed to improve the legislative regulatory and institutional framework. This also involves proper coordination simplification and rationalization of procedures for SME development.
"Accordingly Ministry of Industry and Commerce and National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) with the generous support of GIZ have worked hand in hand to select a qualified and suitable consultant and it has been awarded to M/s Earnest & Young Advisory Services to undertake the study on enabling environment particularly evaluation of legal environment and institutional framework," Minister Bathiudeen said.
Partner of EY Advisory Services Arjuna Herath said the EY, a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services, is committed to doing its part in building a better working world for Sri Lankan people, for the clients and for the communities. "We believe there is a need to boost Sri Lankan SME sector in a qualitative way and this is a major step in this direction," he added.