Lanka economy’s engine goes online tomorrow, direct trading with global buyers next
Friday, 4 October 2013 02:06
“A big leap for our SMEs”: Rishad
NEDA and Lanka Bell PPP initiative
For the first time, the backbone of Sri Lanka’s economy will go global tomorrow 4 October. “This is a big leap. The crucial SME sector of Sri Lanka contributes to almost 70% of the economy and for the first time, we are linking it to international buyers in the world market. I thank Lanka Bell for their valuable commitment in this Public Private Partnership effort,” said Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen on 3 October in Colombo.
Minister Bathiudeen was intimating this to his key officials during a discussion on 3 October at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in Colombo. Thesme.lk site, developed in partnership with Lanka Bell, will integrate more than 650,000 SME players and their product information into a database and in its second phase, the database will be upgraded to an online portal; a single window of Lankan suppliers within the SME framework.
Presently sme.lk lists 26 categories of products including agriculture and food, apparel and accessories, arts and crafts, bags, cases and boxes , chemicals, coconut products, computer products, diamond gems and jewellery, furniture and furnishing, health and medicine, lighting, office supplies, printing and publishing, rubber based, security and protection, other services, sporting goods, tea and toys, among others. The categories will expand as more product lines are added.
“This is a new window of linkages for our SME businesses,” said NEDA Director Lakshman Wijeyawardena. “There has been no proper platform for our SMEs to link to e-business or to many other international buyers. There is no full database on Lankan SMEs either. Therefore NEDA partnered with Lanka Bell to resolve this and as a first step, introduced sme.lk. This is a Public Private Partnership effort. We will continue to add our SME data, product-wise, which is our next step. Once our SME sector comes online in full, international buyers can directly contact more than 650000 of Lankan SMEs,” Wijeyawardena added.
sme.lk opens doors for local SMEs to register and display their product details after which interested buyers can link to them, or even create links with their own local SMEs. SMEs need to register with the site first, which will provide each SME with their own homepage (within sme.lk).
“These individual home pages display the information of the particular SME, paving a business window within the SME framework. The SMEs and buyers then can contact them for raw material procurements, exports, tech expansion, biz development and more importantly, selling their products both locally and in the international marketplace. In Stage II, the site will be upgraded to a portal for direct trading of SME production output and services through online e-commerce transactions,” said Lanka Bell General Manager Ajantha Peiris. “SME service providers such as financial institutions, credit agencies (about their loan schemes), machinery sourcing contacts, etc. can also display their info at sme.lk. This will allow SMEs to obtain needed info from a single online location” added Peiris.