The National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) this week called for greater focus on SMEs and MSMEs, as a boost in the sector is essential for the national economy to overcome challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.While a number of challenges prevail in extending support to this key segment, which includes the capturing of relevant information that would help assess the stimulus and support required, the chamber’s newly appointed President, Nandika Buddhipala asserted the need to do things differently to help SMEs reach their full potential.
“In developed or developing economies, SMEs are playing a crucial role by contributing to the economy. I emphasise that we need to get ourselves out of our traditional domains and need to reach out to Micro and SMEs,” said Buddhipala during his first address as NCCSL chief.
He pointed out that one of the key challenges in supporting the SME and MSME sectors is the lack of SME performance related data, which is making a ‘cloudy situation’ for policy makers in implementing coherent policy measures.
The rapidly changing market demand, lack of capacity in knowledge, innovation and creativity are few other hurdles faced by SMEs in making any real progress, and renewed efforts are required to address these challenges, he said.
Buddhipala shared that in the recent years due to the ongoing revolution in information technology, SMEs are presented with increasing opportunities to plug into global value chains and the sector must look at ways and means to capitalize on this opportunity.
“It is vital to note that, when compared with large organizations, SMEs have the flexibility and capacity to respond innovatively to changes required by the new market conditions. It has paved the way for some SMEs to dominate certain niche markets and stay continuously integrated with large multi nationals as their key partners,” he shared, pointing out the possible avenues that could be explored for the sector to reach higher growth.
Buddhipala added that there is also greater opportunity for SMEs to benefit from the input side of the production by having access to cost-effective raw material and labour, technology and
Buddhipala, as NCCSL’s new president, said that SME and MSMEs will continue to remain as the chamber’s key area of focus and new plans will be implemented to help the sector increase its contribution to the national economy.
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