Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said that the Government has designed a multi-pronged strategy, as a short-term economic activity, in order to avoid short-term loan consumption booms through artificial fiscal and monetary stimulus.
The ONUR is currently engaged in uplifting the North under the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ Loan Scheme and the rapid rural infrastructure investment scheme.
The ONUR, in its role as a catalyst in work related to reconciliation in Sri Lanka, has spent Rs 1,254.1 million to implement 568 projects in the Northern and Eastern Provinces to uplift the basic infrastructure facilities such as roads, water supply and sanitation, electricity, education, health, irrigation and livelihood development between 2016 to 2017.
Addressing the progress review meetings at the Jaffna and Vauniya District Secretariats on 2 August, she said that the purpose behind this effort is to provide credit facilities for the resumption of economic activities in agriculture, livestock, fisheries, micro and small enterprises, trade and other self-employment projects in the war affected areas.
She explained the importance of regularly reviewing these investments while giving the knowledge and guidance required by entrepreneurs.
Also, the Government is gearing to disburse Rs 60,000 million through State and private banks to would-be entrepreneurs and another Rs 5,250 million has been set aside by the Treasury to reimburse the interest subsidy to the banks.
At the review meeting in Jaffna, Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V. Wigneswaran said that if an enterprise is the development of businesses by the people of a country rather than by the Government unilaterally, the same principle should be adopted in politics too.
“Instead of adopting a top down approach, we are glad that Bandaranaike has thought it fit to encourage our local enterprises and economic pursuits while staying on the side like a mother watching her children growing and developing.”
He also recollected Chief Minister of the North Central Province Peshala Jayaratne saying, some time ago, in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena, “We want full devolution for all the Provinces but not Federalism” forgetting that federalism is the way to ensure such full devolution.
“We have always urged the Centre to let us decide our future and like the hen taking care of its brood you can watch over us and as you speak about enterprise and urging us to engage with you, similarly engage with us, encouraging a greater political future,” Wigneswaran said.
The ONUR forum, which discussed the interest free loans to support self-employment and the livelihoods of the war affected people in the North, also had reviewed the issues related to the post war scenario in the North and the East.
Wigneswaran said that entrepreneurship and support, via a subsidized loan scheme, is welcomed by all means from the ONUR.
“In the same manner, bring about a change through Constitutional reforms where the Tamils could live with dignity and self-respect set up through sharing Provincial powers.”
Enterprise Sri Lanka and ‘Gamperaliya’ joined hands with the ONUR and was launched as per a 2018 Budget Proposal with the aim of converting Sri Lanka into a haven for entrepreneurs.