Published on: February 28, 2024

Comprehensive government program to empower women entrepreneurship

  • Women possess potential to significantly contribute to the nation’s economic development – Says President acknowledging the outstanding achievements of women in business at the WCIC Awards.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored the on-going efforts to nurture female entrepreneurs capable of adapting to the country’s economic transformation. The President highlighted the significant role women entrepreneurs can play in fostering the digital and green economy, affirming the government’s commitment to supporting the empowerment of the women business community.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks addressing the ‘Prathibhabhisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards 2023’ held at the Colombo Hilton yesterday (27).

Hosted by the WCIC, this awards ceremony honoured remarkable female entrepreneurs and aimed to enhance their businesses and market access. Additionally, women from the SAARC region were provided with an opportunity to compete in a special category.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe presented awards to ten outstanding female entrepreneurs at the National Category, while Prof. Maithree Wickramasingha presented the SAARC Category awards.

Established in 1985, the National Chamber of Commerce for Women in Business aims to boost women’s contribution to Sri Lanka’s economy and promote their involvement in key business endeavours. The WCIC, initially comprising a handful of professional women running successful businesses, has now expanded to over 300 members.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, offering further remarks, extended his congratulations to all the award winners and acknowledged the commendable efforts of all participants. He emphasized the challenging nature of the past few years, noting the economic difficulties faced by everyone, including the business community.

Anticipating some economic growth in 2024, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the positive economic growth achieved in the last two quarters of the previous year. However, he acknowledged that this growth has yet to reach the level observed in 2018, estimating it would take about two more years to achieve that milestone. This marks the first year of expected positive growth since the last economic crisis, which warranted difficult decisions.

Recognizing the imperative to create an economic environment conducive to all, the President underscored the inability to print or borrow money, prompting the need for tax collection. He also outlined efforts to strengthen the Sri Lankan Rupee and reduce inflation rates.

Emphasizing the necessity for rapid economic transformation, President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of transitioning to a new economic system, leading the country towards a competitive export economy. Additionally, he reiterated the government’s commitment to providing maximum support to entrepreneurs.

Hence, measures have been taken to defer the implementation of the Parate Law until the year’s end.

“Women entrepreneurs are significantly contributing to the nation’s economy, and the government is committed to providing them with all necessary support. The commendable efforts of your association in promoting women entrepreneurs are also acknowledged.

We firmly believe that careful development of the country’s economy can be achieved through women’s empowerment. To this end, the government has launched a comprehensive program aimed at nurturing women entrepreneurs. Women can play a pivotal role in the nation’s economic growth, making their contribution indispensable for its transformation. In anticipation of the digital and green economy’s rise, the government has devised strategies to nurture women entrepreneurs capable of adapting to these changes.

Today, numerous women are actively involved in businesses of varying scales, while the tourism sector has experienced significant growth. By fostering more opportunities within this sector, we can nurture robust entrepreneurs. It is imperative to systematically develop tourism, and the government stands ready to support entrepreneurs in this endeavour. Additionally, efforts are underway to ensure that individuals in the tourism industry earn a minimum of $500 per day. The responsibility in this initiative also lies with the WCIC.

Furthermore, the government is actively modernizing the agricultural sector and has plans to leverage artificial intelligence in the future. The demand for entrepreneurs in these fields is expected to rise. As technology continues to advance globally, Sri Lanka must keep pace remaining competitive. The government has already laid the groundwork for economic advancement through technology and artificial intelligence.

Efforts are also underway to grant freehold deeds to secure land rights for the people, with approximately 2 million individuals set to benefit directly. This initiative will significantly contribute to the nation’s economy.

Consequently, they can make a direct contribution to the modernization of agriculture. Through these collective efforts, there is a potential to fortify Sri Lanka’s economy.

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, former State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, American Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E. Julie Chung, Pakistan High Commissioner H.E. Faheem Ul Aziz, President of WCIC Ms. Anoji De Silva, Chief Executive Officer of WCIC Ms. Chitranjali Dissanayake, Board Member of WCIC Ms. Thusitha Kumarakulasingham and other officials graced the event.

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