Business News: Sri Lankan SMEs bear the brunt of Coronavirus onslaught. “We welcome HE President Gotabaya Rajapakse for his initiative to remove taxes from mask imports. Our SMEs face the brunt of Coronavirus spread. We also praise his suspension of recovery of loans to businesses and SMEs by banks. Helping SMEs is helping our people” said COSMI Founder President Nawaz Rajabdeen on 18 March. COSMI’s Rajabdeen was welcoming HE Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakse’s latest initiatives and also his address to the nation in the wake of the Coronavirus issue.
On 17 March, addressing the nation HE Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakse said: “I am ordering banks and finance companies a recovery period of six month from the loan facilities taken by businesses, as it is a huge burden on them presently. At the same time, steps are being taken for banks to give capital at four percent interest.”
“More than 60% of enterprises and 40% of employment comes from our SMEs. Therefore SMEs are a key provider of Sri Lankan livelihoods. With the slowdown of economic activities due to coronavirus, SME activities are affected and as a result, their employees too. This means, economically, our SMEs are facing the brunt of coronavirus. In this background, we praise HE President Gotabaya Rajapakse for his initiative to suspend recovery of loans to businesses by banks for six months. We also welcome working capital loans at four percent interest. We believe that helping SMEs is helping our people. We with our SMEs therefore are ready extend our fullest cooperation to our HE President to revive our SMEs and small industries.”
On 18 March, the government announced of the removal of tax on import of masks, sanitizers and disinfectants. The Confederation of Micro, Small and Medium Industries (COSMI) was formed in 2019, and aims to revive and foster the MSME and industry sectors of Sri Lanka.