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“Government to empower women entrepreneurship”

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored the on-going efforts to nurture female entrepreneurs capable of adapting to the country’s economic transformation addressing the ‘Prathibha Abhisheka’ Women Entrepreneur Awards 2023’ held at the Colombo Hilton on Tuesday.

Hosted by the WCIC, this awards ceremony honoured remarkable female entrepreneurs and aimed to enhance their businesses and market access.The President highlighted the significant role women entrepreneurs can playin fostering the digital and green economy, affirming the government’s commitment to supporting the empowerment of the women business community.

President Wickremesinghe, 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.”

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.

“Consequently, they can make a direct contribution to the modernization of agriculture.”

Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, former State Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe, American Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung, Pakistan High Commissioner Faheem Ul Aziz, President of WCIC Anoji De Silva, CEO of WCIC Chitranjali Dissanayake and Board Member of WCIC Thusitha Kumarakulasingham participated.

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