Tuesday, 07 April 2020 14:15

Government’s ban on imports creates rare opportunity for lagging SMEs

Sri Lanka’s limiting and banning of imports of non-essential items is a welcome step in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic-and more so for the revival of the country’s agri-SME sector.

“This will help local enterprises looking to get into in the production and processing of these items Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) Founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen said adding that they believe this situation presents the country with a rare opportunity to kick-start the revival of several local SME sectors.

“SMEs in agri-business, aquaculture, poultry and other livestock are some of the priority sectors that can make use of government’s support if given.

Also the strong domestic demand for their produce during this COVID crisis shows low market risk for their supplies with possible immediate profits so that many connected livelihoods too get a boost.

SMEs are everywhere-in urban and rural areas. Therefore in a crisis consumer’s first visit the SMEs and micros, rather than big companies –in that MSMEs are not only economy’s lifeline but also of Sri Lankan consumers.

COSMI appeals to all the micro and small sector industries and the trade enterprises to take this challenge to get back to Business with any support.

The agri-business sectors that the local SMEs in are spices, teas including specialty teas, herbal medicinal and beverage supplements, coconut and oils, short eats, and fruits & vegetables.

Aquaculture sectors where local SMEs in are ornamental fish & ocean fisheries including fishery cooperatives and processing. Previously on 19 March the Central Bank of Sri Lanka brought in several measures to ease exchange rate pressures and prevent market panic due COVID-19 pandemic.

It directed the Banks to adopt three measures-suspending import of all types motor vehicles, suspending importation of non-essential goods and purchase of Sri Lanka International Sovereign Bonds.


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