President Maithripala Sirisena has given instructions to the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and to the Heads of State Banks to implement a comprehensive programme of 100 types of joint loan schemes, within the next few months, to provide assistance for the local small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and businessmen and women to uplift their businesses.
President gave these instructions during a meeting held with the Heads of State Banks at the Presidential Secretariat today, as the state commercial banks met with the National Economic Council (NEC). The banks presented a combined portfolio of 100 types of loan schemes useful for economic revival of the country(28).
The objective of this programme is to encourage the local small and medium-sized entrepreneurs and businessmen to induce a new revival in the field of local industry. The President also instructed the Ministry of Finance to provide a report to him within the next two weeks regarding this task, which is to be implemented within the next few months.
The President stressed the importance of paying attention to the proportion of the profits earned by State Banks flows to the public. President Sirisena further said that it is very important in the economic processes of the country the relevant benefits flow towards the general public as well as to the entrepreneurs.
The President also highlighted the need for a broader publicity campaign to educate the public on these loan schemes and the President pointed out that one of the main issues that many entrepreneurs face are the issues related to the terms and conditions and documents required of guarantors when obtaining loans. He also stressed the importance of creating an environment to grant loans for entrepreneurs without any inconvenience.
President Sirisena advised the bank chiefs to implement special programmes targeting unemployed graduates to develop them as entrepreneurs. He said that while providing these benefits to people, it should be done without any political intervention and advised the officials to take assistance from the village officers while implementing these programmes.
State banks should be public friendly and courteous with the people who look forward to obtain loans and services, the President said and advised the chairpersons of state banks to instruct the office bearers to provide a healthy service to the public.
President Sirisena pondered on the fact that since Sri Lankan banks were victims of commercialization and it has adversely affected identifying social problems and giving loans for the development of the country in a positive manner. He inquired about the loan schemes which currently conducted for local small scale and medium scale entrepreneurs by Central bank, People’s Bank, State Mortgage and Investment Bank, including state banks under Ministry of Finance and stressed the importance of considering the proposals made by entrepreneurs in implementing such loan schemes.
Ministers Mangala Samaraweera and Lakshman Kiriella, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance,Dr. R.H.S.Samaratunga, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Enterprise Development,Mr.Ravindra Hewavithrana, Governor of the Central Bank Dr.Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Secretary General and Chief Economist of the National Economic Council Prof. Lalith Samarakoon,and other members, including Chair persons of state banks, directors and officers were present in this event.