Spur economic growth in rural areas – President

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –In order to develop villages the banking service in the country should understand the rural economy and the needs of the people, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa emphasized.

It is a timely necessity to develop export agricultural businesses instead of waiting for foreign countries to come into fray. The mere establishment of industries alone cannot be defined as development pointed out the President adding that rural entrepreneurship centered around agriculture should be promoted. The President made these observations during a discussion held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (2) to review the current progress and the future activities of the Rural Development Bank (RDB).

The Government expects to achieve economic growth by developing agriculture while properly assessing needs. The President said it is vital to look at the context from the angle of the grassroots level.

In providing loans commercial banks give priority to the trading sector than to the production sector. It is the responsibility of the RDB to encourage farmers to increase their production.

The need of promoting the cultivation of Undu, maize, green grams and other varieties of grain without resorting to import them was also stressed. The President said it was his wish to see that the rural banks reach the rural community and encourage farmers by setting different targets.

The loan defaulters who had taken large sums of money on a long-term repayment basis should severely be dealt with according to the law, the President said. He also said a mechanism should be formulated to collect debts owed to the State banks.

Secretary to the President, P.B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Finance Ministry, S. R. Attygalle, Central Bank Governor, Prof. W. D. Lakshman, RDB Chairman Mahinda Saliya, General Manager and CEO, T. Kuhan and members of the Board of Directors participated in this meeting.

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