President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Thursday, revealed that MVR 450 million is allocated in the 2020 State Budget for the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Speaking at the inauguration of the national art and crafts exhibition Fannu Expo 2019, President Solih highlighted the achievement of establishing the SME Development Finance Corporation (SDFC) during his first 100 days in office.
According to the President, SDFC has received proposals worth MVR 1.3 billion since the formation of the company on March 18, 2019, and the bank has since approved requests worth MVR 233 million and provided financial assistance to a significant number of business ventures.
Highlighting that 93 percent of business enterprises operating in the country were SMEs, President Solih said that the administration targets to provide financial aid worth MVR 450 million to SMEs through SDFC next year.
President Solih also stressed on the importance of promoting creative arts and craftsmanship within the Maldives. Fannu Expo 2019 features artistic and creative exhibits in 78 categories and he noted that this number is a testament to the rich heritage, diverse culture and authentic traditions of the Maldives.
Highlighting the need for reinforced efforts to promote Maldivian crafts, the President emphasised that one of the main functions of the exhibition is to bridge artists and artisans with potential buyers, further outlining the administration’s efforts to foster such business enterprises, especially for the growth of women entrepreneurship.
During the ceremony, President Solih presented certificates and awards to the top five products showcased at the exhibition. Vice President Faisal Naseem handed over certificates and awards to the top winners in six categories.
The seven-day exhibition, organised by the Ministry of Economic Development, will run from November 22 28 in Dharubaaruge, Kalaafaanu School and the Children’s Park. The exhibition is one of the largest events held in the country so far, showcasing the talents of over 350 participants and over 30,000 products.
Categories of the exhibits include handicraft, fisheries, transportation, construction, culinary arts, literature, fashion and design, and Information and Communication Technologies. It also features Fannu Expo Business Hub under the theme 'ICT as a driver of Economic Growth'.