‘Women empowered for self-employment’ | Daily News


‘Women empowered for self-employment’

A prosperous future which was once only a dream has now dawned for the people as the government is making a dedicated effort to make it a reality, Finance Minister Mangala Smaraweera said.

The Minister was speaking at the ceremony to award certificates to a batch of women who had completed a technical training course jointly organised by the Women and Child Affairs Ministry, National Council for Road Safety and David Pieris Motor Company, held at the Matara Divisional Secretariat auditorium.

Sixty-four women received their certificates at this ceremony.

The Minister said although Sri Lanka gained the honour of producing the world’s first woman Prime Minister, we had been treating women in general as second-class citizens, due to the commonly-held belief that women could not match men in certain trades and vocations.

He himself could recall many instances where he had visited the same venue to distribute sewing machines and household equipment among women which indirectly meant that women should be confined to the home. But today, women had conquered almost all male bastions and a certain country even had a woman IGP. This clearly showed that today they could not impose professional limitations on women.

Speaking to the women who had completed the training programme, Minister Samraweera said, “Now you need funds to become successful entrepreneurs. It is for this purpose that the government has introduced the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ programme where the government has volunteered to pay the bigger share or the entirety of the interest charged on loans for self-employment.”

“Under this programme, you can take out loans ranging from Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 750 million. If the loan is used by a concern led by a woman entrepreneur, the government is prepared to foot another 10 percent of the relevant interest,” he said.

While traditionally, banks tried to discourage loan applicants, the government had directed banks to release loans to at least 60 percent of new entrepreneurs. If anyone faced problems in obtaining a loan, they should contact the hotline 192500 so that the government could look into it, Minister Samaraweera said. The Minister said similarly they would launch the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ mobile service in Weligama on Friday.

Representatives of all state sector institutions would be present on the occasion to provide loans to suit the requirements of new entrepreneurs.

The government would not dole out anything free. It will provide the necessary support for people to rise up in life.

There was a saying that it was better to give a person a fishing rod rather than a free meal.

The government’s projects are based on this belief, he said.

National Council for Road Safety Dr. Sisira Kodagoda, Women and Child Affairs and Dry Zone Development Ministry Secretary Darshana Senanayake and David Pieris Motor Company Executive Director Jayantha Ratnayake were also present.

A Ministry release meanwhile said 108 women from six districts, including Anuradhapura and Kilinochchi, had completed this technical training course and a majority of them were now engaged in three-wheeler repair and related trades.

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