Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe
Sri Lanka needs to step up efforts in enticing a larger proportion of its population across all provinces towards embracing entrepreneurship so that the impacts of the ongoing economic crisis would lessen, the Central Bank asserted.
The chief of the country’s monetary authority yesterday noted that one of the obvious options locals, specially the youth, can explore, is in becoming entrepreneurs instead of opting to go overseas looking for greener pastures.
However, while it is critical for Sri Lanka, in the current juncture, to have more entrepreneurs, Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe acknowledged that authorities have much more to do in creating a conducive environment for entrepreneurs.
“While policymakers must create an enabling environment for investment and businesses, consistent policies, anti-corruption measures, and governance are important,” said Dr. Weerasinghe addressing the national policy symposium on entrepreneurship hosted by the International Labour Organization (ILO), in Colombo yesterday.
“Therefore formulating well coordinated, holistic as well as an actionable national policy approach will remain critical in enabling the envisaged paradigm shift in investment and entrepreneurship,” he added.
Sri Lanka holds the 101st position out of 137 countries in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, which reaffirms the need to improve efforts in pushing the development of entrepreneurs.
“This is precisely why there is a large number of people looking to gain employment in the public sector, and then the private sector.
There is no more room for the government to absorb any more recruits, in fact, they need to reduce employees. The solution to this is in entrepreneurship,” he stressed.
Dr. Weerasinghe pointed out that some of the key reasons why entrepreneurship is not a popular option among citizens are inefficient access to finance, regulatory hurdles, lack of commercialisation of innovation, negative use of technology, lack of information and data, inefficient positioning in the value chain, and the notion that entrepreneurship is an inferior alternative to a salary-based career path.
The impacts stemming from Covid-19 pandemic, and then the economic and political crisis that followed resulted in numerous uncertainties and instability in Sri Lanka’s operative environment.
The harsh conditions directly affected investments and business sentiments. The sharp rise in inflation and the increase in interest rates took away the confidence of potential entrepreneurs to set up ventures.
To reverse the ongoing negative sentiment in this regard, the CBSL head asserted the need to restore price stability, interest rates, and maintain low inflation.
“The objective of the Central Bank is to contain the high rising inflation which is an enemy to any economy. The structural reforms under the ongoing macroeconomic adjustment are expected to correct many of the current impediments to business and investment climate that businesses at any scale have experienced over the years in Sri Lanka,” he said.
“We are looking forward to the envisaged return of inflation to its targeted levels of 4 - 6 percent which would help to bring down interest rates as well. We hope that will happen soon and will reduce the cost of borrowings,” he added.
Dr. Weerasinghe went on to stress that transforming actions to promote innovation and entrepreneurship will play a vital role in lifting people out of poverty by creating employment and stimulating economic activity, thereby improving the overall economic conditions.
Gehan Friday, 26 May 2023 06:37 AM
Governor, can we please have an immediate change to the Rs 5,000 note giving just one week for people to bank or change their cash to new notes? That way, any entrepreneurs may have confidence that the money they earn actually has true value than be eroded in value by constant currency manipulation. You could also ask any individual banking or changing the notes to prove their source of funds. If they fail to do so conclusively, tax this money at the standard rate.
Spartacus Friday, 26 May 2023 06:53 AM
All "successful" entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka need to know politicians to be successful. None can be successful in this country with skill, competencies and ability of there own. Look how Peter Hill of Sri Lankan was sent packing because he worked according to his conscience. The simple water pump by Jinasena never received State backing to go international. Why? Because politicians could not get any pocket money on this.
Terrence K Friday, 26 May 2023 08:30 AM
Mr. Governor just using jargon to attract enterpreneurship will never initiate the public to switch to this area. Far back in the 1970's veteran bankers initiated projects under Small and Medium Scale Industries and the govt was fully involved in providing many refinancing schemes to boost the SME PROJECTS through international organisations whilst giving our local enterpreneurs an opportunity to participate internationally with a view of exposing them in technology etc. The brainchild of the Gami Pubuduwa Scheme initiated by HNB went to every nook and corner of the country through their Gami Pubuduwa Upadeshakas who not only offered financing but the acumen in making their projects profitable. Whilst today the govt. through their henchmen have destroyed these projects by not giving them the support and also misusing the end use of funds. The problem lies not in finding the public for enterpreneurship but a govt which is clearly focused to support the public. Eg farmers today.
Pembara Maaatha Friday, 26 May 2023 08:35 AM
President Ranil W, is really good at high level vision and policy. But he is very weak in formulating well coordinated, holistic, timebound as well as an actionable national policy approach. TO achieve paradigm shift in investment and entrepreneurship Actionable Policies must now be stated with time lines by the President. And he should have a good Prime Minister who gets the job done (and honest) Patali Ranawake has one of the two.
Suhada malli Friday, 26 May 2023 08:37 AM
Instead of Ratnayake, Jayaweera, Fonseka, Perera, Silva, we must encourage Dr Weerasinghe to be our next independent presidential candidate. He has his head and his heart for Sri Lanka.
joshua Friday, 26 May 2023 08:47 AM
He may be right. But these technical lectures do not take the country anywhere
Jude Friday, 26 May 2023 09:56 AM
In the Sri Lanka Youth Entrepreneurship Roadmap 2004 , ILO has identified three main disabling economic factors for potential potential Youth entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka: lack of access to finance, lack of access to business support and the outdated policy and regulatory environment!! Unfortunately, it's the same stumbling block after almost 2 decades later!! Yeah.
lester Friday, 26 May 2023 10:48 AM
How are you going to boost entrepreneurship when you and Ranil are busy doing credit swaps and IMF loans and artificially brining the dollar down with no real expansion in the economy? Which entrepreneur wants to export and receive less than what the dollar is worth?
Myna went graveyard Friday, 26 May 2023 12:09 PM
Really? What a stupid comment!! Citizens, look what kind of expert we have at the head of the bank!! Eighth grade students can make statements like this. Fools like you abound in this country, that's why we can't rise above the surface.
Hema Friday, 26 May 2023 01:49 PM
Drop the interest rates boss, entrepreneurs will evolve.
T Gunarathne Friday, 26 May 2023 01:54 PM
One of the most important things is stop corruption and implement effective legal system to fight against corruption. Then the system will be efficient and people will start investing in businesses. New job opportunities will be created. Otherwise no way forward.
Gunadeera Palankade Friday, 26 May 2023 05:09 PM
You can do nothing now Nande! Your boss is highly qualified for corruption - whole world knows it! Then go back to where you came from and take your Pin Padi!!
NightOwl Friday, 26 May 2023 07:00 PM
Says the governor who is holding interest rates sky high, which caused many factories to close and entrepreneur to go bankrupt. Even the Nawaloka hospital, soft logic group are in trouble
Rushdi Marikar Saturday, 27 May 2023 10:43 AM
Yes Sir it is important to encourage entrepreneurship. But the Inland Revenue Act No 24 of 2017 in relation to the deductibility of interest cost discourages taking up entrepreneurship. Many in the SME sector are not capable of injecting equity in to their businesses. Hence they look forward to borrow and invest. However, the deductibility of the interest cost, is subject to the thin capitalisation rules as provided for in the above Act. Hence almost all or a very large proportion of the interest cost is disallowed from being deducted as expenses necessarily incurred in the production of profits in arriving at the business income. This situation needs to be corrected and the best solution is to re introduce the provision contained in Act No 10 of 2006, with regard to thin capitalisation.
Mandayan Saturday, 27 May 2023 11:20 AM
Yes, we are planning to follow our entrepreneurial MPs in smuggling gold to become rich. May be drug business too.
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