‘Lanka SMEs hampered by regulations’: Basil

Monday, 7 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Sme.lk now live
  • Also at play, first ever Omega Eggs and SME Biz Development Directory for Sri Lanka
  • ‘We want an egg industry body!’: Rishad
  • Sri Lankans annually consume 65 eggs per head, 1.2 Bn total
Sri Lanka’s regulatory and legal framework has become a hindrance to SME development. “SMEs are the cornerstone of our economy. But when certain SME enterprises want to commence and start up, they have to go through almost 29 state institutions in Sri Lanka and fill countless paper forms before they get the go ahead. This has become a hindrance to their development,” said Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa on 4 October in Colombo. “The state regulation on SMEs is too heavy” he added. Minister Rajapaksa was addressing the triple launch event of Ministry of Industry and Commerce and its National Enterprise Development Agency’s initiative at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo on 4 October. Being launched on 4 October were Sri Lanka’s first omega enriched eggs for the consumer market, the sme.lk online platform (with  Lanka Bell) for SMEs and the launch of first ever Business Development Service Provider Directory for SMEs, all pioneered by NEDA. Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen and NEDA who played the triple initiative in Sri Lanka, addressing the event said: “Only yesterday the top official in charge of Asia Pacific operations of the powerful Switzerland Global Enterprise brand the Swiss Government organisation that attends to their imports exports and investments personally met and informed me that the Swiss SME sector is looking for investment opportunities in Sri Lanka. This shows the gradual recognition our SMEs are receiving. On behalf of the SME community let me extend my sincere thanks to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for his initiatives towards our SME framework.” “The sme.lk online platform initiative for SMEs is a big leap forward for this sector. By bringing our SMEs online for the first time we are directly linking them to international buyers and the world markets. I thank Lanka Bell for their valuable commitment, in this Public Private Partnership effort. Sme.lk will integrate more than 650,000 SME players and their products info to a database in stage one. In its second stage, the database will be upgraded to an online portal. A single window of Lankan suppliers within the SME framework is the expected result. “Also Information is essential, for any business whether it is, micro, SME or large scale corporates. It is a well-known fact that Sri Lanka’s SMEs can reap greater benefits, from better organised information and business listings so that this crucial sector becomes much more, productive. “Our second initiative today therefore is the launching of Sri Lanka’s first ever Business Development Service Providers’ Directory for SMEs by NEDA. It provides vital information on 80 public and private institutions that serve the SMEs. This is a long-felt need and is in support of the Divineguma Livelihood development program. “However, the information in it can be used even by other entrepreneurs and SMEs. The third initiative is the launch of eggs enriched with Omega and DHA fatty acids. NEDA took successful efforts to do this through a natural process where a specially formulated, poultry feed, with natural ingredients, produces these eggs. “This is a strong health food for expectant mothers and growing children. Most importantly this egg boosts HDL cholesterol levels which is ‘the good cholesterol.’ It is interesting, to note that Sri Lanka’s leading protein source is fish, followed by milk, then ‘meat’ such as chicken and then ‘eggs.’ The deciding factor of choosing eggs is price, especially when the fish prices, are on the rise, eggs sell more. “Our small farmers, supply 80% of annual egg consumption which is around 1.2 billion to 1.3 billion eggs, and our annual egg consumption per capita is estimated at 65 eggs. However, there is no government sponsored body for the egg industry and I believe it is time, that we think of creating such an organisation so that similar important initiatives as Omega eggs, launched today, become more frequent. “I am also pleased to mention that, NEDA under my Ministry has many active projects to uplift the SME sector with a more than Rs. 30 million annual outlay. Currently, NEDA has 15 macro level projects to develop our SME sector island-wide.”