Wednesday, October 5, 2022

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Sri Lanka embarks on an ambitious drive to promote rural industries 

Sri Lanka has embarked on an ambitious promotion drive of several traditional and rural industry projects that were launched last year, finance ministry sources said.  

The ministry has allocated Rs 1 billion in the 2022 budget proposals as well as another Rs.150 million r from budget estimates for the state ministry handling traditional and rural industries.

The funds will be used for the improvement of traditional domestic industries such as rattan, clay, brass, lacquer, masks, coconut shells, gold, stone carvings, jute and Dumbara matting patterns, etc.

A special programme will be implemented  to promote the cultivation of raw materials required for rural industries, and  to establish a National Raw Materials Bank, and  to  assist  in going from one entrepreneur to one village project ’.

A project to establish a fashion and process modification centre related to timber products, a local and overseas market promotion programme for rural industries has also been approved  by the cabinet of ministers. 

Rural and traditional industry villages consolidated development programmes, and a national lacquer industries development programme will also be launched to improve traditional domestic industries, the finance ministry sources said.

 The Government has kicked off a Rs. 100 billion revival at grassroots level on Thursday 03 in keeping with the 2022 Budget promise. 

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa revealed that the initiative hopefully will unleash a revitalisation of livelihood, socio-economic infrastructure, environment and social development at village level sans politics. 

The grandiose initiative involves 100,000 people championing projects of Rs. 1 million each at village level bringing a 2022 Budget-allocated Rs. 100 billion into fruition. 

“This is a bipartisan initiative as it covers all districts and electorates even if the ruling party hadn’t won a seat,” Basil said. 

He cited Colombo and Jaffna where non-ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) candidates didn’t secure a clear victory. 

“For example, in Colombo, of the 49 elected representatives the majority (47) are from outside the Government. In Kolonnawa all five representatives are non-SLPP but the Government will support the projects,” Basil Rajaaksa added. 

The Budget 2022 allocated Rs. 85 billion for the village-level development as envisioned by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s “Gama Pilisandara” project as well as Rs. 15 billion allocated for the “shop-house” proposal. 

“What is unique is that these projects are championed by villages and implemented in collaboration with public servants. 

The Government is only supporting it via funding. It is important that these projects would eventually serve towards realising macro national development goals,” he added.

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