ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka plans to re-ignite inherent entrepreneurial skills in the population that has been well-demonstrated for centuries, through a program to help small businesses, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.
“The Enterprise Sri Lanka program will re-ignite the inherent skills we have inherited from our ancestors,” Samaraweera said at the launch of a program, which will help small and medium business access finance.
Sri Lanka had been a major economic hub in the ancient world and the people had successfully traded with the Roman and Chinese empires, he said.
“Our people had traded standing tall with major powers,” he said.
Samaraweera said a stone inscription found in Galle, dated around 1409, described in Chinese, Persian and Tamil how international trade had taken place.
Mannar and Mantota port, was another ancient trading post where, coins, earthenware and bangles had been found. Sri Lanka had exported high value items like gems, pearls and ivory.
A stone inscription in Thonigala had said that around 300 AD, a group of traders had provided financial services, Samaraweera said.
He said the Enterprise Sri Lanka program will help small businesses and Sri Lanka planned to create 100,000 entrepreneurs in the next 12 months.
Samaraweera said there was a lot of talented young people in the country who wanted to start businesses.
Under Enterprise Sri Lanka a credit subsidies will be given for small businesses.
Sri Lanka has generally high nominal interest rates due to excessive state borrowings, losses in state-owned enterprises, and a permanently depreciation currency, critics have said.
Asia generally had active international trade around several trading hubs. However analyst say the arrival of the Europeans resulted in tighter trade controls under the Dutch East India Company and later the British East India Company.
Liberal British civil servants however broke the monopolies giving greater economic freedom to the populace including in Sri Lanka.
However the ideology of nationalist economics of German economists like Friedrich List, had later taken a grip in many Asian countries, giving rise to protection and exploitation of the general population for the benefit of producers who ran crony businesses rather than free enterprises, with the help of import duties and controls.
Analysts say German historical economics, which is based on nationalism had also led to Nazism and Hitler as discrimination against foreigners eventually lead to discrimination against minorities, who are also perceived as ‘foreigners’.
Donald Trump has revived the ideology in the US, where until recently, liberals had defeated nationalism, allowing countries like Sri Lanka to engage in export trade with the West. (Colombo/June24/2018)