Greater focus urged on export-oriented sectors urged


By Hiran H.Senewiratne

Sri Lanka should focus more on export oriented sectors to earn foreign exchange for the country and to generate employment opportunities. This would enable Sri Lanka to integrate into the global production value chain, Minister for Special Assignments Sarath Amunugama said.

"Sri Lanka’s small and medium size enterprises (SME) could play a predominant role, which could become a part of the global value chain. If the SME sector integrates into the global value chain Sri Lanka could reduce the import and export gap to a greater extent, the minister said at the 20th Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year awards ceremony organized by the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FSSISL). The event was held on Wednesday at Stein Studio Ratmalana.

He said that the government encourages and creates a more investor friendly environment to enable investments in industries and manufacturing plants. "This could help in Sri Lanka's integration into the global value chain."

He said the SME sector is the biggest employment generator and if they could provide one job, the country’s unemployment rate could be reduced considerably. "The biggest problem the SME sector encounters is that it has not integrated into local and global production value chains, he said.

New government is planning to resolve the land problem for local and foreign investors. The banking system is to be revamped to create more access to credit and more emphasis is given to training staff in order to help the SME sector, the Minister for Special Assignment said.

"The government and private sector joint venture projects take the economy to greater heights, Amunugama explained.

Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure Harin Fernando said that it is important to reward and recognize the SME sector because it contributes 55 percent to the GDP and 45 percent of the country’s work force.

He said that Rs 10 billion has been allocated from the recent budget to improve the country’s digital infrastructure. New digital technology use for business by the SME sector is the way forward, he said.

He also said recent surveys revealed that the early adoption of IT and digital technology when doing business, enables to increase revenue by 15 percent.

If the 250,000 SMEs get linked to IT and digital technology, it would take the businesses and the country forward, Fernando added.

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