Asian Development Bank (ADB) Director-General for South Asia Department Kenichi Yokoyama has assured President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the bank will support the promotion of Small- and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in Sri Lanka.
The ADB provided a USD 750 million concessional loan last year for projects in the country. Mr. Yokoyama said that the ADB will take steps to increase this amount to USD 1 billion next year.
His remarks came during a discussion with President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, earlier today (October 05).
Mr. Yokoyama further noted that the success of the COVID-19 vaccination drive demonstrates Sri Lanka’s ability to overcome challenges.
The President pointed out that the entire public service and the health and security sectors had worked together to make the vaccination programme and the COVID eradication process a success.
The government’s objective is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and move towards the use of renewable energy sources. A number of solar and wind power generation projects have been planned for this purpose. The government has also taken a policy decision to use organic fertilizer. The President also requested Mr. Yokoyama’s intervention to provide technical assistance for the production of organic fertilizer and nitrogen extraction.
The government aims to uplift the income and living standards of those who make up 90% of the rural population engaged in agriculture. The President further pointed out the need to increase the forest cover through economically viable cultivations and sought the assistance of the ADB.
Asian Development Bank Country Director Chen Chen, Deputy Director Utsav Kumar, Secretary to President P. B. Jayasundera and Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga were also present at this discussion.
(Source: Ada Derana)