Loan relief directive by Govt, key for revival of MSME industries-COSMI
Originally published in the Daily News, December 23, 2019

Nawaz Rajabdeen

The recent directive by the President and the Prime Minister addresses an urgent need of the hour and is welcome action by the Government”, Nawaz Rajabdeen, Founder President COSMI said praising the Government on the suspension of recovery of loans obtained by the SME sector, not exceeding 300 million for each entity. The directive was announced yesterday by the Government in an effort to revive SMEs in the country.

Rajabdeen also signaled regional chambers to rise to the occasion. “This will be an ideal opportunity for regional and district chambers to come forward lock-stock and play a positive role in the sustainable development of industrial MSMEs, particularly Micro and Small industries which are lagging behind,” he said.

Development finance and access to affordable finance pose one of the major hurdles faced by MSME sector in Sri Lanka, undermining its development and survival. Rajabdeen noted that the move would not only revive of MSMEs, but also generate new employment opportunities for the masses.

SMEs account for 80 per cent of all businesses in Sri Lanka and cover all sectors providing employment for persons of different skills, skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled.Male and female unemployment rates were percent 3.4 and 6.9 percent respectively during the first quarter of 2019. The gender imbalance however continues to be an ongoing trait in the employment sector underscoring the need create equal opportunity and better working conditions within the industry, while assisting in their survival and growth.

Sri Lanka’s Unemployment Rate increased from 4.70 in March 2019 to 4.90 in June 2019, and has been a trend during the previous years. Unemployment rose from 4.2 percent in 2017 to 4.4percent in 2018, according the Central Bank statistics.

Male and female unemployment rates were for those years were 2.9 and 6.5 percent, and 3.0 and 7.1 percent respectively.