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Sunday, 15 May 2011





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UNSG Panel Report could derail SME growth

Asoka Hettigoda

The Darusman Report may have an adverse impact on the economy and in particular the Small and Medium Scale (SME) sector industries in Sri Lanka said President, National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), Asoka Hettigoda.

He said that the Chamber hopes that the Report would not have an adverse impact on the economy but if it does, it would be the SMEs who will be the most affected.

“NCCSL has done a great deal of work to assist and promote SME sector enterprises who make a salient contribution to the economy. The SMEs are the backbone of the economy”, Hettigoda said.

The NCCSL supports over 1,200 SME enterprises with financial assistance and the imparting of technological know-how through the SME educational program launched in 2006. Hettigoda said the Report could erode confidence of foreign investors on Sri Lanka and added that it could derail the economic progress of the country.

“Sri Lanka has emerged from long standing crisis and is hopeful of achieving economic progress. Adverse criticisms could tarnish the image of the country and hamper progress,” he said.

Sri Lanka is poised to achieve eight percent GDP growth this year and double its per capita income by 2015 from the current US $ 2,000. Sound fiscal policy, increase in foreign reserves and inflation under check have been hailed by IMF and many donor agencies.

“Sri Lanka has recorded a 48 percent export growth despite the withdrawal of the GSP Plus. The shift from traditional markets has helped enhance exports”, the Chamber chief said. Secretary, NCCSL, Sujeiva Samaraweera said that during the past four to five years the NCCSL has been focusing on SME development and added that all these efforts would be of no use if the Report has an impact on the sector.

“It would be the newly formed SMEs who would be the most affected as foreign buyers will not want to reject their long standing exporters”, Samaraweera said. Samaraweera said that if Sri Lanka loses its international market due to the eroding of confidence among the foreign business community the impact will mainly be on the SMEs who commenced business recently. “The North and the East SMEs will be the worst affected sector as these enterprises were revived a few years ago.The entrepreneurs in the North and the East are capable of making a vital contribution to the economy”, Samaraweera said.

The NCCSL, one of Sri Lanka’s pioneer business chambers promoting SME development participates in government policy-making and voices concerns of the SME sector enterprises in the country.



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