The President had made these statements during a meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on Thursday, to review the Rural Development Bank (RDB) and discuss its future activities. It is a timely necessity to develop export agricultural businesses instead of waiting for foreign countries to do so.
The mere establishment of industries alone cannot be defined as development, pointed out the President, adding that rural entrepreneurship centred on agriculture should be promoted. The Government expects to achieve economic growth by developing the agricultural sector while properly assessing needs. President said it is vital to look at the context from the grassroots level.
In providing loans, commercial banks give priority to the trading sector than to the production sector. It is the responsibility of the RDB to encourage farmers to increase their production. The need of promoting the cultivation of undu, maize, green grams and other varieties of grain without resorting to import them was also stressed. President said it is his wish to see that the rural banks reach the rural community and encourage farmers by setting different targets.
The loan defaulters who had taken large sums of money on a long-term repayment basis should severely be dealt with according to the law, the President said. He also said a mechanism should be formulated to collect debts owed to the State banks.
President Secretary P.B. Jayasundera, Ministry of Finance Secretary S. R. Attygalle, Central Bank Governor Prof. W. D. Lakshman, RDB Chairman Mahinda Saliya, RDB CEO General Manager T. Kuhan and members of the Board of Directors participated in this meeting.