“Women-friendly” is how Chathuri Ranasinghe, Chairperson Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commere, described the 2018 budget.
In a statement she said that from the perspective of women’s empowerment, the chamber welcomed the budget. It was heartening to note that the budget incorporates many a proposal in respect of gender equality.
“The proposal to support majority women owned enterprises, by the proposal to grant a 10 per cent interest relief for loans obtained by female entrepreneurs is highly commendable and will be of great encouragement for women entrepreneurs. The proposal to improve child care facilities will certainly enhance women participating in the workforce.”
The statement said that Small and Medium Entrepreneurs will immensely benefit by the Rs 10,000 million allocation to establish an EXIM Bank to provide long term loans for SMEs and the Rs. 750 million allocated for launch of Enterprise Sri Lanka loan scheme. A 15 per cent interest relief for loans obtained by disabled entrepreneurs, the Rs. 3 billion fund to be established to fund IT Sector SME’s and local start-ups.
“The One Stop Shop to be established by the Registrar of Companies would enable the hassle free registration which would encourage the entrepreneurs becoming privileged legal entities. The reduction in the prices of essential items like sprats, potatoes, dhal and onions will help particularly our rural women in some measure to balance their domestic budgets. It is important now to ensure that these proposals are implemented and sustained so that they impart the benefits that are intended for the entrepreneurs especially the women who are entrepreneurs/professionals in business, who juggle the roles of also being a wife, mother and home maker,” she said.