Prasanna Ranaweera, the Minister of State for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, expressed the government’s objective to increase the percentage of entrepreneurs, which currently stands at only 2% of the country’s population, to 10% within the next five years.
Additionally, he emphasized that young individuals who have completed their general education and are currently working as trishaw drivers will receive vocational training, creating opportunities for higher-level employment.
These statements were made by Mr. Prasanna Ranaweera, the Minister of State for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, during his participation in a press conference held at the Presidential Media Centre yesterday (03), focusing on the theme of Collective Path to a Stable Country.’
Expressing his views further State Minister Prasanna Ranaweera said;
President Ranil Wickremesinghe has entrusted me with the significant responsibility of fostering entrepreneurship in our nation. Our efforts are directed towards nurturing entrepreneurs while safeguarding our traditional industrialists.
Every year, a substantial number of young graduates emerge from our country’s universities. However, the prospects of transforming them into entrepreneurs remain relatively low. If a majority of them are given the opportunity to become entrepreneurs, it would greatly bolster our country’s capabilities. Consequently, their contributions should be harnessed to fortify the nation’s development process.
In the context of sustainable development, there is a growing global demand for environmentally friendly products, reflecting a worldwide trend towards eco-conscious goods. Bangladesh has already instituted a ban on plastic products. Given this scenario, it is imperative for us to manufacture alternatives to plastic products to engage with the global market. In addition to these substitutes, we should also focus on export-oriented products.
The production of such goods in line with global market demand will enhance our country’s foreign exchange earnings. Under this ministry, we oversee institutes such as the National Design Centre, National Crafts Council, and Laksala. These entities enable us to develop innovative designs that cater to both the modern world and our nation’s unique cultural heritage.
There are villages that produce distinctive designs that are representative of our country. By providing them with proper training and technology, we have the opportunity to transform these communities into new entrepreneurs. Our government is committed to working towards this goal.
Conquering the global market requires more than just one product. In the face of fierce competition, it is essential to create new products. We must break free from a dependency mind-set and transition into a self-reliant nation. Building a manufacturing economy is the path we are pursuing through our ministry, aligning with the government’s vision.
To succeed in the international market, it is imperative to revise certain laws within our country, particularly those related to specific sectors, including those governed by various ministries such as the Ministry of Environment. These changes are essential to facilitate the emergence of new entrepreneurs by ensuring unimpeded access to the raw materials required for manufacturing.
Moreover, a significant portion of our nation’s youth is engaged in driving trishaws as their primary source of employment. To alleviate the economic challenges they face, it is crucial to create secondary employment opportunities. To achieve this goal, we should offer professional training programs such as plumbing repair and electrician training.
Furthermore, it is essential to provide these individuals with access to credit facilities and facilitate their transition into the entrepreneurial sphere. Currently, entrepreneurs make up just 2% of our population, a figure that we aspire to elevate to 10% within the next five years.
By achieving this target, we can harness their support in advancing the government’s development objectives. Our nation boasts a pool of talented human resources and it is imperative to leverage their contributions to enhance domestic production and fortify the economy.