The second of the series of workshops jointly organised by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA) was held recently in Dambulla, with the view to drawing up of a road map for enhancing the efficacy and advocacy skills of the District Enterprise Forum (DEF).
Senior officials from the NEDA and FCCISL together with Presidents of Regional Chambers of Matale, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Puttalam Central Province Chamber, Women Chamber – Central Province and Women Chamber – Kurunegala participated in the workshop.
The FCCISL had taken the initiative to establish DEF at District level under the leadership of the District Secretary/Government Agent in Oder to facilitate and promote the development of Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) for regional development.
DEF consisted of the representatives of the district chambers, senior government officials, regional financial institutions and district level entrepreneurship and business development organisations. The objective of DEF to engage in productive dialog to address the problems encountered by the MSME sector at the regional level to find solution and also to seek redress on problems to be solved at the national policy level.
Although DEF have being established in 16 districts since 2008 while some of the forums were working at optimal level some DEF are required to improve their operations for better coordination among the stakeholders. The objective of the workshop was to ascertain the impediment of the current system of operation and to assign responsibilities to specific agencies to improve the efficacy to DEF.
The workshop during the group discussions identified that the problems encountered by the SME sector could be converted in to opportunities through the organised Chamber movement if the problem could be looked at with an innovative mind to benefit both the SME and the Chamber.
Building the confidence of the SME sector on the Chamber Network is essential for proper working of the DEF. The participants while appreciating the services rendered by the Government Agents and senior officials of the respective districts towards the working of DEF also emphasised the necessity for establishing Informal, friendly and closed personal rapport with the senior government officials at district level by the chamber Network.
It is necessary to launch a fresh awareness programme among Government Agents at the district and senior government officials about the operation of the DEF by NEDA and FCCISL.
Representatives of Regional Chambers should be invited to participate in the District Development Council (DDC). The FCCISL should also attempt to develop human resource and institutional capacity of the Regional Chamber Movement.
The workshop finally drown up a road map clearly demarcating specific responsibilities of each organisation such as FCCISL, NEDA and Regional Chambers Network with a view to seek better working environment of DEF.