Locally owned participatory mechanism of the private-public dialog platform, the District Enterprise Forum (DEF), which aims to empower local actors in order to shape the future of the locality where they live in, was launched recently in Batticaloa.
Inauguration was facilitated by the CHEER Project of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), chaired by S. Arumainayaham District Secretary Batticaloa, with the participation of the HQI-Police, Heads of Government Departments, Representatives of the Batticaloa District Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, Traders Association, Farmers Organisations, Oxfam GB Eastern Region, ESCO, Sarvodaya and Cooperative Societies of Batticaloa District.
President, Batticaloa Chamber of Commerce V.Rangithamoorthy welcomed all the participants and highlighted the necessity and the importance of the forum, as many issues obstructing the development of the local economy could be solved through this dialog platform.
S. Arumainayaham District Secretary in his address stated that, DEF was a timely initiative since there was increasing recognition that private sector development had an important role to play in economic development of the regions. He further added that all reforms and modern concepts are only in papers but not practiced to the expected level, hence the DEF mechanism would substantially fill the gap. He appealed to all the participants, specially the Police, Heads of departments and the representatives of the INGOs, NGOs and organisations to support this endeavour.
FCCISL is one of the national implementing partners of OXFAM, in the EU - ACAP 2009/2013 Project (European Union Assistance for Conflict Affected People). It works in association with the district Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Ampara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Mannar. The FCCISL implementation component of the project is named FCCISL CHEER Project (Chamber-network Engagement in Economic Rehabilitation). The entire project is funded by the European Union.
S. Raguramamoorthy Programme Coordinator Oxfam GB with the assistance of M. Yogeswaran Eastern Programme Manager of Oxfam GB, enlightened the gathering of study on Value Chain Analysis conducted by OXFAM with Agrarian Services Department for the Paddy sector in Batticaloa District.
W.J. Soosairatnam, National Women Entrepreneurship Coordinator of CHEER Project of the FCCISL, in his presentation discussed the concept, objectives and the process of the DEF programme, emphasised that the District Enterprise Forum is a platform for dialogue between the Government, private sector and NGOs in the district to address and resolve business related regulatory and administrative issues which hinder economic development in the region. Executive committee of DEF was established with District Secretary as the Chairman which bringing credibility to the forum as the decisions taken have the highest possible level of support of the district. Accordingly the role of the District Enterprise Forum is to empower the local business community by creating more conducive business environment by supporting on policy advocacy and representation actions.
The District Chamber, being the Secretary to the Forum, would coordinate with entrepreneurs including beneficiaries from the EUACAP project villages identify, compile and submit issues that hinder the economic environment in the district. Any issues that cannot be solved at the district level, will be directed to FCCISL to be taken up at the National forums.