SMEs claim 70% of Sri Lankan enterprises and 23% of national employment. Our banking sector still looks the other way when it comes to our SMEs as they are worried about recovering credit from SMEs. This is despite our Central Bank’s efforts to keep lending rates at low levels. I urge our banking sector to link with Sri Lanka’s SMEs much closer and become a direct stakeholder in our national development. Do not avoid this risk. It is in such risks that great rewards and profits are found said Minister Bathiudeen and added: “In this background, I highly commend, the recent announcement by International Finance Corporation (IFC) office in Colombo to assist our SMEs with their valuable funding of $ 125 million.
Minister Bathiudeen was addressing the inauguration event of SMIDEX held recently by the Industrial Development Board under Ministry of Traditional Industries & Small Enterprises at BMICH, Colombo. According to the IDB, SMIDEX has been introduced by the IDB to mark its 45th year anniversary. SMIDEX is yet another national event showcasing the SMEs with special attention to technology, machinery, raw materials, business development and other services.
Also present on the occasion were Basil Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries & Small Enterprises, Weera Kumara Dissanayake, Deputy Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprises, AHM Fowzie, Senior Minister, V. Sivagnanasothy, Secretary to Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, Anura Siriwardene, Secretary, Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Nawaz Rajabdeen, Chairman-Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka.
SMIDEX is ably supported by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and sponsored by the Export Development Board.
According to data available with National Enterprise Development Authority, Lanka’s SMEs claim 70% of Lankan enterprises and 26% of national employment. 91% of Industrial Establishments are SMEs.
The "Mahinda Chintana" vision of President Mahinda Rajapaksa outlines SME entrepreneurs, to be the backbone of our economy. Thanks to President’s economic vision, in 2013 we achieved 7.3% GDP growth and, the Asian Development Bank, now forecasts, growth could reach, 7.5% in 2014. The successful Divineguma program by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa is well known across the country, and has contributed to upgrade our entrepreneurs at rural levels. Also among other entrepreneur development efforts of NEDA, are the new business creation, and expansion programmes, the Women Entrepreneur Development program, and the Cluster development program. I am pleased to inform you, that the UNIDO focal point under my Ministry too has in the recent times spent more than $ 6 six million, to support our SMEs. The latest initiatives, by UNIDO are the project on Bamboo processing in Sri Lanka, the livelihood development project in the Eastern Province and the Cinnamon Industry skills upgrading project. Developing SMEs is not the responsibility of one institution alone, but is a team effort of several stakeholders.”
According to data available with National Enterprise Development Authority under Ministry of Industry and Commerce
“SMIDEX is a forum for new market opportunities. IT helps boost Sri Lanka’s SMIs” said Nawaz Rajabdeen (Chairman-Industrial Development Board of Sri Lanka), addressing the event. “It is also a platform to share best practices, and strategies for our SME development, which is part of Mahinda Chinthana” Chairman Rajabdeen