People’s Bank launches Swashakthi Loan Scheme

People's Bank Chairman Hemasiri Fernando awarding a Swashakthi Loan to an entrepreneur. Nuwara Eliya Regional Manager Prasad Ariyawansa is also present
People's Bank Chairman Hemasiri Fernando awarding a Swashakthi Loan to an entrepreneur. Nuwara Eliya Regional Manager Prasad Ariyawansa is also present

The launching of Swashakthi Loan Scheme and awarding of grants to startups was held under the patronage of People’s Bank Chairman Hemasiri Fernando at the Nuwara Eliya branch recently.

Swashakthi Loan scheme is awarded by People’s Bank in collaboration with the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs through its extensive branch network comprising over 735 branches islandwide.

In an exclusive interview with our newspaper, People’s Bank Deputy General Manager (Enterprise Banking) K.B. Rajapakse shed light upon important aspects of Swashakthi Loan scheme.

Q: How do you define ‘Swashakthi Loan Scheme’?

A: Swashakthi Loan Scheme can be defined as a grant and loan scheme implemented under government’s intervention via the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs and the People’s Bank to uplift mirco-financial and small-scale entrepreneurs. Under the purview of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, state banks and private banks have been given an opportunity to grant a maximum of Rs. 250,000 loan at a rate of 5.5% per annum to micro-financial and small-scale enterprises to launch new ventures and self-employed businesses.

This scheme mainly focuses on startups which can obtain a loan at the same rate with a grant of maximum Rs 50,000. Government has made substantial allocations to facilitate the loan scheme for both existing and new customers.

The loan scheme has drawn special attention on startup ventures, while aiming to create 25,000 new entrepreneurs as per the government’s target of creating one million jobs.

Prior to implementing the loan scheme, People’s Bank identify the existing customers through its branch network and new customers introduced through Divisional Secretariats, educate them on benefits of the scheme and finally register the beneficiaries.

Q: What is the key objective of this loan scheme?

A: The main objective of the loan scheme is to offer financial assistance to empower and uplift existing micro-businesses and SMEs currently engaged in agriculture, livestock, industrial and service sectors.

The loan scheme also aims to support the youth to discover their hidden talents and skills, potentials, initiate new ventures, enter the buisness world and achieve commercial success.

Furthermore, the Swashakthi Loan Scheme facilitates an environment to support existing and prospective SMEs in rural areas to incorporate new technologies and entrepreneurial skills and grow their ventures.

Q: Apart from granting loans, can you explain the role played by the People’s Bank?

A: People’s Bank not only grant loans, but also provides free consultancy services for the beneficiaries on successful business operation and financial management which includes how to maintain financial records. In addition, we educate them on facing market risks, managing and winning market competition.

Q: What kind of enterprises do you think are more likely to benefit from this loan scheme?

A: We believe that enterprises such as those involved in plant nurseries, agricultural crops, handicrafts, organic fertilizer production, small-scale food outlets (with take away service) and small industry can greatly benefit from this loan scheme and successfully grow their ventures, as such enterprises have a higher demand in the market today.

We have already disbursed loans to a great number of beneficiaries under the Swashakthi Loan Scheme.

Loans are granted to those who have already registered under the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, or those who are contemplating for registration. Furthermore, the government makes a financial contribution of Rs. 50,000 for the new entrepreneurs who are eligible to receive a maximum of Rs. 200,000 grant under this loan scheme.

All in all, it is our prime objective to pave the way for these micro and small-scale entrepreneurs to gradually grow their business to subsequently become medium-scale and eventually large-scale entrepreneurs.


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