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Finance Minister gets useful report on MSMEs

From left: Visa Sri Lanka and Maldives Country Manager Avanthi Colombage, Pathfinder Foundation Senior Visiting Fellow Rajendra Theagarajah, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Pathfinder MMBL Director/CEO K. Balasundaram and Pathfinder Foundation Executive Director Mamta Ameera Arooz 

 


  • Pathfinder Foundation in collaboration with Visa hands over ‘Connecting Micro & SME Sectors to Contribute towards Economic Prosperity: In a Digital Savvy, Post-COVID-19 Sri Lanka’ publication 

The Pathfinder Foundation in collaboration with Visa recently handed over a report titled ‘Connecting Micro & SME Sectors to Contribute towards Economic Prosperity: In a Digital Savvy, Post-COVID-19 Sri Lanka’ to newly appointed Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

Pathfinder Foundation Senior Visiting Fellow Rajendra Theagarajah led a small work group to examine the implications of the April 2019 terror attacks and subsequent COVID-19 Pandemic on the Micro and Small and Medium Enterprise segment (SME) and tourism/ inbound leisure sector related supply chains.  

The study also took the opportunity to examine the current state of the ‘start-up’ ecosystem, specifically the Fin-Tec and Agri-Tec players, and the opportunities for this sector to energise the MSME/SME segment in contributing meaningfully towards the economic revival of Sri Lanka. Visa, the global leader in digital payments, joined Pathfinder as a strategic partner in bringing local and global insights relating to the role of ‘digitalisation’ in the above conversation. 


Knowledgeable and experienced persons ranging from policy makers, private sector and business chambers were invited as panellists at the three workshops moderated by Theagarajah as a part of the study.


The Pathfinder Foundation earlier submitted a comprehensive list of recommendations for consideration by the Government of Sri Lanka in July 2020, which was captured under ‘Beyond the Box: A New Economic Vision for Post-COVID-19 Sri Lanka’.


This report focuses on identifying essential elements and ‘pain points’ for Micro/SME enterprises, new generation of emerging Fin-Tec and Agri-Tec entrepreneurs and businesses involved in tourism/ inbound travel related ventures. It suggests ways and means of how “digitalisation” can contribute towards energising these businesses and fostering Sri Lanka’s future economic revival. 

The knowledge and expertise of a global leader such as Visa in the area of digital payments further strengthens the recommendations identified. The report also takes cognisance of some of the macro strategic recommendations made in the Foundation’s July 2020 submission. The six key recommendations identified in the report are categorised as short-term operational interventions and medium/long-term policy interventions.