Northern SMEs seek wider access to funds | Sunday Observer

Northern SMEs seek wider access to funds

8 December, 2019
V. K. Vignesh
V. K. Vignesh

The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector in the Northern Province is looking forward to wider funding access to enable it to contribute to the economy in a more sustainable manner. Entrepreneurs are seeking government intervention to obtain funding through the State mechanism under specified loan programs.

“Most of the SMEs are deprived of the funding available through the government loan schemes as banks are reluctant to release these funds for the allocated purposes. Many banks promote their own loan schemes instead of offering the funds specifically given for the SME sector and this has hampered the upward movement of the sector in a big way, Chairman, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yarlpanam (CCIY) V.K. Vignesh said.

The SME cluster of the Northern Province is capable of contributing to the national economy in a significant way. However, the un-met funding requirement is a huge drawback in this regard. They look forward with renewed hope that the government will address their problems to ensure the growth of the sector which is of paramount importance to uplift the living standard of the Northern community, he said.

“Sri Lanka is currently facing economic challenges and in this backdrop ‘Jaffna International Trade Fair 2020 - Your Gateway to the North’ will greatly help in boosting exposure of the North to the rest of Sri Lanka and the world. The North needs Foreign Direct Investment. The Northern region has faced hard times owing to the war and we wish to collectively work with the rest of the country and globally, to improve trade and business prospects,” Vignesh said.

The 11th Edition of ‘Jaffna International Trade Fair 2020’ is set to see crowds of over 65,000 with a staggering 300 stalls this year. The event was re-launched in the year 2010 with over 50 stalls at Jaffna Central College and today it features as the most awaited fair to be held in the North, providing the opportunity for Small and Medium Entrepreneurs to introduce their products and services for the Northern communities to be exposed to a range of products and services from elsewhere in the island.

Organised by Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (LECS) in association with the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam (CCIY) with the support of the Jaffna Municipal Council, International Business Council, The Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Consulate General of India in Jaffna, Jaffna International Trade Fair 2020 will take place from January 24-26 at the Muttraweli grounds in Jaffna.

This year the Fair will feature trade stalls, live evening musical shows, motorbike stunt shows, hourly raffle draws with exciting gifts, an amusement park with children’s play area, hawker type special food court area and a range of seminars and workshops.

Open to the public, Jaffna International Trade Fair is known to be the biggest and only one of its kind in the Northern Province, held to coincide with the Thai Pongal Festival, which is a period for new beginnings and festivities. The event is known to be a multi trade fair featuring agriculture, hospitality, education, fashion and food industries with pretty much all the Northern hotels going on full occupancy and other services, such as transport and logistical services also seeing growth during the period.