“There are many institutions that provide microfinance services in a responsible manner, playing a significant role in the Sri Lankan economy. The government is not ready to neither disrupt this endeavor nor pressurize the majority because of a few players that bring disrepute to a valuable industry due to their malpractices, however alternative action should be taken to resolve the issues” said Hon. Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Microfinance, Self Employment, Business Development & Underutilized State Resources Development at a webinar organized by the Lanka Microfinance Practitioners’ Association (LMFPA) on 20th of January 2021.
The State Minister stated that the ministry has already commenced public awareness campaigns centralized from Anuradhapura with the association of the Central Bank and the Department of Samurdhi Development. He also stated that the objective of the government is to implement practical solutions for the people in terms of access to finance. “People should be able to have access to financial services at affordable interest rates and honour them in a timely manner and all financial service providers should work in harmony towards this.”
According to the State Minister, the ministry is in the process of establishing a working committee to find effective solutions to address the issues in the microfinance industry and requested LMFPA to nominate their representatives for same. One of the issues was a revised microfinance regulatory framework where the minister welcomed proposals by the LMFPA to amend the present Microfinance Act. Another important issue is the accessibility to low cost bulk lending for MFIs. For this, the state minister mentioned that discussions are being made with state banks for the provision of same.