SME development will be given top priority - Cabraal | Sunday Observer

SME development will be given top priority - Cabraal

Ajith Nivard Cabraal
Ajith Nivard Cabraal

Reaffirming the commitment by the government to develop the country’s SME sector, Senior Advisor on Economic Affairs to the Prime Minister, Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that they are keen to protect, nurture, develop and take forward the SME sector.

“Approximately 90 percent of the world business is SME driven. This signifies the importance of the sector and we need to rectify the shortcomings and drawbacks faced by the sector. The main reason for the failure is not providing the proper background for SMEs to build on. We have given the edge for the sector by way of a moratorium. However, if the total structure of the economy is weak, then all the sectors will be weakened,” he said.

The Certified Management Accountants Sri Lanka (CMA) conducted a conference on financial and cost and management accounting to develop SMEs in Colombo last week.

“We will have a two way process that will have impetus for businesses to grow more. This will bring back the SMEs into the market. With identified needs of the sector that include right access to market, access to technology, access to finance through institutions, make easy access to advice, access to production and infrastructure facilities, access to education and technical knowledge, access to exports and imports, access to secretarial, legal and tax services, the government is working towards providing a supportive environment for the sector,” he said.

“We are striving to maintain macro economic fundamentals of the country at a solid state with good interest rate, proper cash flow and steady investment flow coupled with sound consumer demand. It is also of paramount importance to maintain national security and build up confidence level.

“There is a strong need to identify the features that SMES are looking at including areas of starting businesses, permits, employment, fast approval process, construction permits, electricity, land availability, tax payment with modest taxes, enforcing contacts, contact with the government, and resolving insolvency,” he said.

The government introduced tax cuts to stimulate the economy. We have a feasible economic target of 6.5 percent which we consider reachable. People need to have confidence to engage in businesses. Therefore, transparent and proper system should be in place that addresses corruption and bribery. We need to ensure that a steady flow of investment comes in and it is important to disseminate the message to the world that Sri Lanka is open for business, he said.

Speaking on the topic of navigating digital disruption, President International Federation of Accountants, Dr. In-ki Joo said that this is an era of disruptive technology.

“Technological change will bring success and failures. Therefore, the future will be complicated. The digital disruption represents opportunities and significant challenges for the SMEs. It is important see how the SMEs respond to this,” he said.

The road map to the future will be to envisage change, leverage technology, focus on talent management, evolve from operational model and build advisory services. However, it is necessary to embrace technology in going forward, he said.

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