The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a grant of $ 9.5 million through Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We–Fi) to support the ongoing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) line of credit, the Finance Ministry said in a statement yesterday.
Financial inclusion for SMEs is important to realise the development objectives of the Government, such as promoting exports, generating jobs and increasing per capita income. As such, the Government mobilised $ 100 million from ADB in 2016, with the objective of financing SMEs and having successfully disbursed these funds, another $ 75 million was mobilised from ADB in 2018 as an additional financing to further enhance the benefits to the SME sector.
Since women-led SMEs face significant difficulties in accessing finance, a grant of $ 12.5518 million will be mobilised from the We–Fi, on top of the loan funds for encouraging women entrepreneurs. Out of the grant of $ 12.5518 million, $ 9.5 million will be provided to the women entrepreneurs on grant basis through participating financial institutions. The balance amount of the grant will be used for technical assistance and administrative cost.
Additional incentives will be provided for women who complete business skills training and for women in Uva, Sabaragamuwa, Northern and Eastern provinces. The Ministry of Finance and Mass Media will continue to be the executing agency of the project, as in the ongoing SME Projects funded by ADB.
In this connection, Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R H S Samarathunga, on behalf of the Government, and the ADB Country Director Sri Widowati, on behalf of ADB, signed a grant agreement to obtain $ 9.5 million on Friday at the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media.