SMEs Hail Debt Relief
Originally Published in the Daily Mirror, December 23, 2019

The SME sector of Sri Lanka has welcomed the latest initiative by the new government to suspend the recovery of loans obtained by them. “The directive by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on December 20 addresses the need of the hour for our SMES and is clearly a timely step in the right direction over the longer term,” Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) Founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen said.

“What is more, we warmly welcome the comprehensive package to be followed for SMES, which is expected to come anytime. We are very hopeful that this additional package will give a bigger boost to both the lender and the borrower in this sector, which is the lifeline of our economy,” he added. COSMI said financing and lack of credit were the key obstacles faced by the Sri Lankan SMES.

According to a 2018 Ernst & Young SME survey commissioned by the Industry and Commerce Ministry, 59 percent of the survey respondents had said SMES were hampered by finances and they were granted loans by established financial institutions at commercial rates. “We have an unexpected and a surprising Christmas gift for all types of SMES this year, thanks to the government’s timely decision,” Rajabdeen said.