Tuesday, 14 November 2017 - 15:52
Finance Ministry sets aside Rs. 15bn for target sectors at lower interest rates

The Budget 2018 themed as Enterprise Sri Lanka will create a credit scheme with the allocation of Rs. 15 billion enabling small businesses in target sectors to borrow at the rate of 6.5% and in some cases 3.3% to fund modernization and expansion of enterprises.
The Minister addressing a post-budget forum in Colombo said that today (14) one of the biggest barriers to starting a business is the cost of capital.
“Many young entrepreneurs and SMEs have innovative business ideas but they find it difficult to make these viable at prevailing interest rates of 15% and above”, the Minister said.  
Samaraweera also said that in parallel, an SME guarantee fund is also being set up to enable SMEs with sound business plans to access credit without collateral.
A Development Bank with an Exim window will provide development capital in the form of long-term loans, project lending, and start-up financing.
Referring to various suggestion made by different sectors of the economy on the budget the Minister said that he was willing to listen to suggestions where there may be mistakes to correct.
But the main theme of the budget- enterprise Sri Lanka and liberalizations are non- negotiable stressed the Minister.
A series of legislative changes will be implemented to address the difficulties in access to these factors of production.
The Budget also proposed to amend archaic laws such as the Agricultural Lands Act and the Shop & Office Employees Act to provide more flexibility to the market.
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