A Fisheries Bank is to be established for the benefit of 175,000 fishermen and to make the fishing industry one of the leading export oriented ventures, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister said.
“Our immediate objective is to bring fishermen to the high income category and increase the export earnings to one billion US dollars by 2015. This will not be a difficult task if a bank is established with the initial capital raised by the fishermen themselves,” Minister Senaratne stressed.
The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Ministry has taken measures to establish ‘Fishermen’s Societies’ and a National Fishermen’s Convention has already been called. Fishermen will be provided with soft loans, fishing gear and boats through Fishermen’s Societies.
Minister Senaratne pointed out that the soft loan schemes launched with the assistance of the Bank of Ceylon and People’s Bank grant loans on easy payment terms up to Rs.20 million under ‘Diyawara Diriya’ programme.
Dr. Senaratne added that he expects to draw the attention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the matter and also discuss it with the Central Bank shortly. (Sandun.A.Jayasekera)