First ever national SME study calls for apex SME Commission

Sri Lanka’s first ever nation-wide study on the country’s SMEs recommends an apex SME Advisory Commission integrating the three top national SME institutions under one roof.

The apex SME Advisory Commission would bring the country bringing the three top institutions active in entrepreneurship (NEDA, IDB and SED-Small Enterprise Development) under one umbrella and transform the SMEs to Sri Lanka SME Authority.

The study also recommends an SME Industrial Zone, an e-platform to manage SME market supplies, and a one stop licensing agency similar to BoI for all SME licensing needs.

These recommendations were made during the special presentation of the second draft report of ‘Legal and Institutional Study for Creating Enabling Environment for SMEs’, a study commissioned by the Ministry of industry and Commerce.

The Rs 3.2 million study conducted by Ernst & Young (E&Y) also focused on the creation of a more conducive environment for SMEs while transforming them to large scale sustainable business enterprises and linking them to export markets.

“This study focuses on three aspects-they are the current business environment relating to Small and Medium Enterprises in Sri Lanka the prevailing Institutional Framework supporting the sector and the Regulatory Framework that relates to the SMEs” said the Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen addressing the special presentation of the second draft report.

The pioneering national Survey covered 20 Ministries that serve the business sector with over 90 of their Departments, authorities and councils established under them.  The legal review of the study includes laws and regulations applicable to SMEs in no less than 15 aspects.

The Study report presented on 22 October was not a final report but is now expected to be further strengthened with inputs and opinions from stakeholders present at October 22 session. When finalised, the recommendations from this pioneering study are expected shape the way forward vision for Sri Lanka’s SME and entrepreneur domains that the government is keen to position for export markets.