The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Sri Lankan government signed a 165 million United States dollars loan agreement Wednesday to provide immediate financing support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This loan agreement will also provide long-term financing to underserved SMEs, including businesses led by women and tea smallholders, a statement from ADB in Sri Lanka said.
The agreement was signed by the Secretary of Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle, and ADB Sri Lanka Resident Mission Country Director Chen Chen.
“The government highly appreciates ADB’s long-term commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s development. SMEs will be essential to recovery from COVID-19. The new loan from ADB will help the government’s efforts of supporting SMEs in and after the COVID- 19 pandemic,” Attygalle said.
“We are glad to be of assistance to the SME sector at this crucial juncture when the sector has suffered a severe setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Chen said after the signing of the loan agreement.
“We trust that this assistance will help SMEs to revive their businesses and contribute once again significantly to the Sri Lankan economy,” he added.
The new financing will build on the ongoing Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Line of Credit Project, which ADB approved in 2016 to strengthen SMEs’ access to finance.
The ADB approved a 20 billion dollars expanded assistance package in April to support its developing members’ COVID-19 response.