‘CMA Sri Lanka COVID-19 SME Development Conference 2020’ on 20 Sunday in Hambantota | Daily FT

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The inaugural CMA Sri Lanka COVID-19 SME Development Conference 2020 themed ‘Solutions to meet challenges faced by SMEs in Financial Management, Bank Funding and Entrepreneurial Leadership in the Post-COVID – New Economy’ will be held on Sunday 20 September from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Magam Ruhunupura International Convention Centre (MRICC), Hambantota.

It is organised by the CMA Sri Lanka COVID-19 SME Development Committee.

The inaugural ceremony of the conference will be from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will be the Chief Guest. Minister of Irrigation Chamal Rajapaksa, Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera, Minister of Industries Wimal Weerawansa, Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Namal Rajapaksa, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal and State Minster of Aviation and Export Zones Development D.V. Chanaka have been invited as well.

The ‘CMA Sri Lanka COVID-19 SME Development Committee’ comprises around 50 members from professional bodies, chambers of commerce and industry, commercial banks and industry experts who have been meeting since April to find solutions to problems faced by the SME sector.

This event will be co-hosted by the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce, sponsored by nine commercial banks in the Hambantota District and supported by the Ministry of Industries and other chambers of commerce and industry.

The SME sector forms the backbone of the economy and is found in all sectors of the economy and accounts for 52% of the GDP, and 45% of the total employment, whilst making up more than 75% of the total number of enterprises in the country.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown have greatly impacted the SME sector and the committee is engaged to provide urgent assistance for their revival in many areas by the setting up of ‘SME Help Desks’ by the member chambers of commerce and industry with expert committees to advice on financial, labour, management, marketing, entrepreneurship, skills development and accessing commercial bank loans and other facilities.

The conference will mainly attract SME customers of the commercial banks operating in the Hambantota District and it is expected that around 300 SMEs and distinguished invitees will attend this conference.

“We have lined up outstanding speakers who will address topics on financial management, bank funding, entrepreneurial leadership, labour, and marketing, combined with panel discussions with industry experts,” a CMA spokesman said.

To develop the SME sector in both the domestic and export sector the committee has prepared proposals on taxation and incentives and these will also be launched at the event.

Entrance would be by invitation and those who wish to register should contact their nearest Commercial Bank branch or the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce: Sudammika 077513 9117 or 0474933933 or e-mail: chamber@hdcc.lk; or CMA Secretariat Ramyani 0776292492 or e-mail secretariat@cma-srilanka.org.