Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 10 January 2010





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Northern Investment Forum:

Responsible development urged

Jaffna back to business

By developing the North you not only reap profits but contribute actively in the development efforts and provide employment to the unemployed, said Mayor of Jaffna Yogeshwary Patgunarajah addressing the BizPAct Investment Forum in Jaffna themed ‘Invest in Peace - Responsible Investment opportunities in the North.’

This is a good opportunity to attract the communities in Sri Lanka to invest in responsible development in the North and East regions.

A total of 178 delegates including representatives from 15 companies in Colombo, 30 entrepreneurs from Jaffna and 20 overseas delegates as well as government officials and the media gathered at the historic Jaffna Library on January 6 to create a platform for responsible development of the North. The word responsible was stressed by most of the speakers. The natives of Jaffna encourages development but it should blend with their culture and not harm the environment.

At present there are 200,000 unemployed persons which include 3,000 graduates of various disciplines in Jaffna.

Chairman Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam K. Poornachandran said that the market is full of sea food which is just sent to Colombo and nobody has thought of processing and exporting.

The agriculture produce is expected in the coming Maha season therefore there are many opportunities for value addition and exports.

He said that SMEs should start ventures for the unemployed who are increasing daily with IDPs coming from Vavuniya with a mere Rs. 5,000 in their hand. He was confident that except for textiles and electronics everything else can be manufactured in Jaffna. President Ceylon Chamber of Commerce Dr. Anura Ekanayake said that investors as well as the chambers are not fully aware of the potential in the North since the available information is old.

He said peace is a must to discuss economic development.

Though the war has stopped to enjoy the full freedom of peace there should be economic development with the introduction of new technology, linkages, an enabled regulatory environment, goodwill, trust and infrastructure. He said that infrastructure is not the only thing needed for development.

It is expensive and takes time to build while all the other factors are less capital intensive compared to infrastructure. Therefore let us start with the less capital intensive factors for a start.

Plight of the palmyra tree

The palmyra tree considered as the multipurpose tree that grows in Jaffna and other places in the North and East has seen many changes. Prior to the war there had been over 6 million trees in the Jaffna District of which one million has been destroyed.

According to a spokesman it is very difficult to improve this industry as it comes under the cooperative sector. Therefore, they don’t come in close contact with the private sector. Another factor hindering the development is the difficulty to obtain funds.

At present around 45,000 people are involved in this business as small and medium businesses.

Managing Director Uthayan Publications E. Saravanapavan was of the view that banks are not interested in developing the region. Instead their only interest is mobilising deposits. When a person wants a loan they ask for security which discourages the people.

The managers are reluctant to give loans as it is additional work and they discourage the entrepreneurs who come to the banks with proposals to establish businesses. He said that most of the time the customers cannot get the funding as they cannot fulfill the requirements. The banks need government servants to sign as guarantors and since the war has just ended this is a difficult task.

Chairman Chambers of Commerce & Industries of Yarlpanam K. Poornachandran in his address said that the Central Bank has given the approval to open 67 bank branches in Jaffna. Already the banks have started to open branches. The HSBC will open a branch in the second week of the year while the Bank of India too will open a branch very soon.

LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
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