While encouraging that Sri Lanka must develop a comprehensive entrepreneurship structure that encourages people, especially graduates, to embark on building their own businesses, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters on Friday that the government expects the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ (ESL) program to meet its medium-term targets, including a per capita income of US$5,000, 1 million new jobs, doubling exports and more than 5% continuous GDP growth.
Speaking at the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ (ESL) program that saw the launch of 15 tailor-made schemes, one especially for the youth, Samaraweera said that a new loan scheme, “Arabuma”, has been tailor-made for the youth to encourage young graduates to enter into the economic development process by turning their innovative business ideas into potential businesses. The scheme ensures the cash flow through loans at zero interest rate, with full government guarantee.
The minister further added that ESL also has several other target groups including micro- entrepreneurs, self-employees, young entrepreneurs as well as selected vital groups of society. The program enables school service van owner to move to 32-seats buses from the old van, thereby contributing to a more secure school transport service.
Samaraweera also highlighted that at present whenever entrepreneurs went to bank institutions, they were asked to name suitable guarantors. As a result, even if they had a good business proposal, they were unable to obtain a bank facility.
“That era is going to end. We have held a meeting with state banks and instructed them to have a separate Enterprise Sri Lanka’ desk staffed by employees knowledgeable on the loan scheme,” he said.