Implementation of Sri Lanka’s first national SME strategy began in earnest as the government moved a top global private advisory firm to lead the process.
Interestingly, the implementation of Lankan SME policy is starting (with a huge Rs. 3.8 million pilot project) in a very short time from its initial national launch last year- within five months.
“The Government of Sri Lanka has assigned high priority to the development and strengthening of SME sector to be a sustainable sector of the country’s economy and to link to global markets,” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, addressing the launch of Sri Lanka “Enabling Environment -SME Legal & Institutional Assessment” session by the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) in Colombo yesterday.
NEDA has signed an MoU with EY Advisory Services -a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited, a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services-on this occasion as a preparatory step for implementation work of national SME policy launched by his Ministry last year with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge.
Sri Lanka EY Advisory Services has retained Colombo’s law firm F. J. & G. de Saram for mapping of legal environment related to Lankan SMEs. GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) in Sri Lanka is the funder of this three-month long SME policy implementation start furnishing a huge SL Rs 3.8 million.
“We thank GIZ Sri Lanka for supporting our SME sector in this initiative with their huge funding. There are a little more than one million registered SMEs and MSMEs in Sri Lanka. Each provides employment to three people on average especially in rural areas.
We believe that SMEs are more than 70 percent of the total number of enterprises in the economy providing 45 percent of the employment and contributing to 52 percent of the Gross Domestic Production (GDP). With the increasing trend of globalization the SME sector has become a driving force for ‘growth and development’. As a result the Government of Sri Lanka has assigned high priority to the development and strengthening of SME sector to be a sustainable sector of the Country’s economy and to link to global markets,” added Minister Bathiudeen.
The SME Development Action Plan is expected to achieve the defined objectives in the SME policy framework. It is based on six policy intervention strategies articulated in the policy framework and enabling environment is one main area to be addressed to improve the legislative regulatory and institutional framework. This also involves proper coordination simplification and rationalization of procedures for SME development.
Partner of EY Advisory Services Arjuna Herath said that EY was proud to partner in this national initiative. “EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services. Locally, we are committed to doing our part in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities. We believe there is a need to boost Sri Lankan SME sector in a qualitative way and this is a major step in this direction.”