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Benefits will support five-hub concept- Central Bank Governor

The 2015 Budget received overwhelming commendation from the business community and civil society for the support extended to boost small and medium sector enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of the economy.


Budget 2015 has emphasised SME development

Top corporate personalities hailed the budget for the consistence in government policy to accelerate economic growth through the SME sector which makes a salient contribution to rural livelihood development and economic growth.

Governor of the Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa presented a solid road map with a clear policy direction under the Mahinda Chintana - forward vision to expedite economic growth through all sectors to reach the per capita income of US$ 7,500 mark by 2020 and and a US$ 100 billion economy.

“This is not an election gimmick as branded by some. The 2015 Budget has taken into account all sectors and it is a development oriented budget focusing on passing down the benefits of economic growth to peripheries of the country.

The benefits of growth should trickle down to all and if not there is no point in all our efforts,” Cabraal said.

The benefits to boost the farming community, plantation, SME industries, steps to stimulate growth in the tourism industry through a Rs. 17 billion commitment to renovate the airports, kapruka loan scheme, Divineguma benefits for home garden development, pension scheme for apparel sector and migrant workers will help achieve the goals envisaged for 2020.

The 2015 Budget has provided a host of benefits to support the five hub concept with special emphasis on promoting knowledge economy through sound education in information technology literacy improvement, setting up Nanasala centres at all Divisional Secretariats.

The Governor said that the budget will give direction to achieve the eight percent economic growth, single digit inflation, boosting reserves, low interest rates and reaching US$ 7500 per capita income by 2020.

The business community also commended the move to maintain a budget deficit of 4.5 percent which would be a huge achievement to focus attention on developing the infrastructure and accelerating growth.

Industrial Development Board Chairman ad former Federation of Chambers of Commerce President Nawaz Rajabdeen said that the 2015 Budget has offered a host of benefits to develop the industrial sector with special emphasis on SME development. The proposal to set up 300 factories at all Divisional Secretariats , loans schemes for SMEs to boost exports, reduction in electricity tariffs and pension schemes for apparel sector, farmer loans will help take SME industries to get to the next level of business to be large scale exporters.

“The IDB will form an association to bring all SME industries under one umbrella to focus on exports .The Archchuveli industrial zone has commenced operation and it provides a large number of employment opportunities to youth in the North”, Rajabdeen said.

Chevron Lubricants PLC, CEO Kishu Gomes said that the budget has shown consistence in policy with should be commended as a vital factor to develop business through a stable and conducive business environment.

“We hail the moves to support the public sector through increase in minimum wages to Rs, 25,000 which will increase the purchasing power of people which would benefit the economy.

The macro economic fundamentals are strong with a stable currency rate, low inflation and reduction in debt to GDP rate”, Gomes said.

He also said that though there in no special emphasis on the business community consistency of policy should be hailed.

National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka President Sunil Wijesinghe said that the budget has emphasised SME development through special loans schemes to promote cottage industries and home garden projects which will boost income of rural masses.

He said while thee service sector development is vital we should not forget the role of the industrial sector.

The triple reduction on training should e hailed as there is a sever mismatch of skills which is a major draw back to be competitive.

If we are to compete in the global market we need to focus on developing modern technology, setting up sate of the art laboratories with our own accreditation systems and standards.

NDB Group CEO Rajendra Theagarajah said that the 2015 Budget is a SME development budget and added that it will help create a vibrant SME sector. He said that low interest rate regime could hit the senior citizens. Widening the tax base is a good move. Country Director, Turner Investments (USA) Dr. Rohantha Athukorala said that one of the key challenges of the industrial sector this year was the high production cost, The budget proposal to address this by way of the cost reduction in gas, electricity and fuel was a good move towards increasing industry competitiveness.

This will help the export industry and the SME sector. Now we need consistency of such long term policies”

The proposals to promote healthcare, free seed paddy for farmers, reduction in water tariffs, VAT reduction from 12 percent to 11 percent, payee tax reduction, concessionary loans for purchasing of motorcycles for postmen men and servicemen through were hailed by the business community.

- LF

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