Sri Lankan government to support SMEs to ensure greater role in the country’s economic development
Sri Lanka’s State Finance Minister Eran Wickremaratne says that the government’s 2018 Budget has included measures to support small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) as part of broader plans to hand them a bigger role in the country’s economic development
The local media has reported that Wickremaratne has recently discussed with a team from Oxford Business Group (OBG) about the Sri Lankan government’s plan to increase the contribution made by smaller-scale businesses to exports and lift foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2018.
“The 2018 budget focuses on encouraging investments in exports. However, at the moment, a few big companies account for 90% of all earnings from international sales,” the State Minister has reportedly told OBG’s team. “It is vital, therefore, to strengthen SMEs in exports so that earnings are dispersed and the risks from exposure are reduced.”
Wickremaratne has noted that the budget was drawn up with the aim of playing to the country’s strengths. “Sri Lanka has a favourable geographical location, which allows it to act as a logistics hub between two huge markets, namely China and India,” he said. “It also has a well-educated human resource base, despite its small size.”
As for FDIs, Wickremaratne has said that attracting FDIs for key sectors, such as ICT, tourism and mining, is seen as pivotal in Sri Lanka’s efforts to make the transition to knowledge-based economy.
“I expect FDI in 2018 to register increased growth, taking account of the EU’s generalised scheme of preferences plus (GSP+), the new budget and planned free trade agreements,” he has said.
OBG’s representatives have reportedly met Wickramaratne with work under way on The Report: Sri Lanka 2018, the global research and consultancy firm’s forthcoming publication on the country’s economy.
The Sri Lankan government’s move to include measures to boost SMEs and boost FDIs to the country in its 2018 Budget indicates that the government is looking at an aggressive programme aimed at economic development. The government’s economic policy would open up many business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka that could be explored by discerning investors.
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