June 22, Colombo: 'Enterprise Sri Lanka' loan scheme proposed in the 2018 budget to create entrepreneurs and boost domestic private investment was launched by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall on Friday.
Speaking at the event, President Maithripala Sirisena said that as well as introducing new loan schemes to local entrepreneurs, a program jointly formulated by all the relevant institutions is needed to provide a good market and a reasonable price for the products of the local entrepreneurs and to prevent the importation of such products.
Expressing his views, the President said that every developed country in the world rose with self-reliance by developing the local industries.
The President said that although the country needs modern knowledge, technology and advice are needed from foreign sources, the country must rely on the strength and experience of the local entrepreneur and the highest support the government can offer them is providing the financial and non-financial facilities.
The President, highlighting the significance of state banks operating with the goal of service providing as well as profit making, pointed out the importance of 50 percent of their profit from commercial transactions and the other half from becoming service providing banks.
President Sirisena also explained the importance of imparting knowledge and guidance to entrepreneurs by regularly reviewing their investments.
The Government introduced the Enterprise Sri Lanka program in the 2018 budget to help rebuild the island as an entrepreneurial paradise using the entrepreneurial skills of Sri Lankans.
The Enterprise Sri Lanka scheme offers attractive concessionary financing to stimulate investment and expansion by entrepreneurs, SMEs, and even large business.
A number of loan schemes with state subsidies will be launched under this program, and the Finance Ministry has given the instructions to relevant banks on implementing the program in cooperation with State and Private Banks, Foreign Financial Cooperative Institutions and other participating institutions.
Accordingly, the relevant banks have already started disbursing the loans.
The Enterprise Sri Lanka program consists of 16 schemes including 11 interest subsidy loan schemes, 3 refinance loan schemes based on foreign aid and two programs for financial and non-financial assistance.
The government has allocated Rs. 5,250 million to pay interest subsidies alone in the year 2018 and it is expected to create a Rs. 60 billion capital using the interest subsidies. The program is also expected to create 50,000 new employment opportunities.
The President and Prime Minister symbolically presented loan facilities to recipients at today's event.
Minister of Finance and Mass Media and Information Mangala Samaraweera, Secretary to the Media Ministry, Central Bank Governor and a large number of officials also participated in the event.