Budget 2019 : Women’s Chamber seeks improvement in ‘ease of doing business’ | Sunday Observer

Budget 2019 : Women’s Chamber seeks improvement in ‘ease of doing business’

The Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) appeals to the policy makers to focus on proposing sustainable measures to ensure ‘ease of doing business’ for women entrepreneurs in Budget 2019.

WCIC Chairperson Chathuri Ranasinghe the Chamber wants to see focused and sustainable measures to ensure the ‘ease of doing business’ for the entrepreneurs especially women in the 2019 Budget. She said information on measures introduced to improve the working environment for women entrepreneurs should be available country-wide, with “one window” centers opened across the country where investors and entrepreneurs could attend to legal formalities and registration without having to travel to Colombo to do so.

There should be micro schemes especially for women entrepreneurs from State Banks. Access to finance for women entrepreneurs is a huge problem in the country especially to those in the provinces and from lower income groups. It has been shown that micro finance projects have not been the answer as they have created innumerable problems for such women and driven them to even take desperate measures when they are unable to make payments in time.

It has also to be borne in mind that many of them are ignorant of what starting a business entails and need to have a source of information. Also many of them have no land to offer as co-lateral.

Any schemes or offers of assistance should be feasible and sustainable and if they are suddenly withdrawn or conditions on which they are being offered are changed, it would defeat the purpose. Sound measures would help women from lower income groups to become entrepreneurs. “The chamber requests the government to give a serious thought to the escalating cost of living which has heaped untolled burden on the poorer segment of women entrepreneurs in the country. The regular increase in fuel prices and essential food items have added on the cost of living,” Ranasinghe said.

She said measures aimed at increasing productivity in all economic activities through improved infrastructure, transport facilities and better policies of traffic management are vital.

WCIC also seeks budgetary allocations for reforms in the education system in the country, Funds for teacher training and vocational training should be used for well considered plans drawn up with academics, professionals and knowledgeable individuals from the private and industrial sectors to ensure the reforms would have the desired output and that they are sustainable.