Asian Development Bank (ADB) Director General for South Asia Department Kenichi Yokoyama has assured President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the ADB will support the promotion of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided a $ 750 million concessional loan last year for projects in Sri Lanka. Mr. Yokoyama said that the ADB will take steps to increase that amount to $ 1 billion next year.

The Director General made these remarks when he met with President Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat, October 5. Mr. Yokoyama further noted that the success of the COVID-19 vaccination drive demonstrates Sri Lanka’s ability to overcome challenges.

The President pointed out that the entire public service and the health and security sectors had worked together to make the vaccination programme and the COVID eradication process a success.

The government’s objective is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and move towards the use of renewable energy sources. A number of solar and wind power generation projects have been planned for this purpose. The government has also taken a policy decision to use organic fertilizer. The President also requested for Mr. Yokoyama’s intervention to provide technical assistance for the production of organic fertilizer and nitrogen extraction.

The Government’s aim is to uplift the income and living standards of those who make up 90% of the rural population that are engaged in agriculture. The President also pointed out the need to increase the forest cover through economically viable cultivations and sought the assistance of the Asian Development Bank. Asian Development Bank Country Director Chen Chen, Deputy Director Utsav Kumar, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera and Principal Advisor to the President Lalith Weeratunga were also present.