SME Access to Finance Programme, 26th March 2011
Anushka Wijesinha, Research Officer, IPS, participated in the ‘SME Access to Finance’ programme organized by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and Pacific (ADFIAP), in collaboration with the International Chamber of Commerce at the Taj Samudra Hotel, Colombo, on 26th March 2011.
The programme was attended by 40 participants representing the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector in the country, financial sector officials, advisors, consultants and public and private officials involved in SME development. Sessions were conducted by consultants from ADFIAP from the Philippines, and banking sector experts from Sri Lanka.
A key issue faced by SMEs in Sri Lanka is access to finance. One of the crucial elements for their survival and growth is creating a more conducive environment for tapping formal finance by focusing on resolving the constraining factors at both the demand and supply ends. A recent article on the IPS blog Talking Economics (www.ips.lkblogspot.com) highlighted this issue in the context of enterprises in conflict-affected regions of the country (see ‘Access to Credit: Critical Issue for Conflict-Affected Enterprises’ – http://ipslk.blogspot.com/2010/10/access-to-credit-critical-issue-for.html)
Anushka Wijesinha was recently appointed to the Policy Strategy Committee of the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development tasked with developing an equity financing framework for the SME sector. He is also involved in providing inputs for drafting a new National SME Policy, a task led by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA).