The Government has allocated a sum of Rs 32 billion till the end of the year for the Gamperaliya programme, with Rs 200 million set aside per electorate, according to Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera.
He was speaking at a Finance Ministry press conference called yesterday to launch the Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition, scheduled to begin on 29 August in the Monaragala District.
Regarding how the Gamperaliya programme would receive these funds, Samaraweera said, “We will resort to taking this money from the unapproved budget proposals of various ministries.”
Although he could not provide an estimate for the programme’s budget allocation for next year, Samaraweera noted, “From the new Budget, we hope to allocate money for next year’s programme; however, we are sure we will not require foreign funds to continue this programme.”
Highlighting that ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ was the backbone of the Government’s ‘Vision 2025’, Samaraweera stated that the Enterprise Sri Lanka exhibition would be held to inform the rural population about the facilities provided under the Enterprise Sri Lanka programme. The Government targeted the Monaragala District specifically, he noted, as it was one of the poorest of Sri Lanka’s districts, and the aim was to encourage entrepreneurial skills.
“We will continue to have these exhibitions every three months. After Monaragala, we will move to Anuradhapura and Jaffna,” the Minister said.
He also said that he had proposed the provision of loan facilities for three-wheel drivers and their spouses, to encourage small businesses.
“Tomorrow, I will present my views to the Cabinet on the proposed rule that citizens under the age of 35 cannot drive three-wheelers. I think this proposal is a violation of human rights. People should be able to work in any job they like. We cannot take back the three-wheeler culture, but what we can do is bring them into a framework.”
“We will bring a regulator to regulate three-wheeler safety standards. This was a request by the three-wheel drivers themselves,” the Minister said.