The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) coordinates with Keells Supermarkets and Hatton National Bank (HNB) on an innovative supply chain financing facility that supports micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the food sector to access capital. Through greater access to capital, this facility reduces the supply chain disruptions that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic and were exacerbated by the country’s recent economic crisis.
Charitha Subasinghe, the President of John Keells Holdings, parent company of Keells Supermarkets, said, “Partnering with USAID and HNB on supply chain financing is a significant step to ensure MSMEs have access to capital during the ongoing crisis. This facility supports our goal of creating shared value for our stakeholders, supporting the local economy, and ensuring uninterrupted product availability for our customers.”
The facility provides MSMEs with competitive fixed interest rate financing. The facility lent a total USD 430,000 to eight suppliers in its first weeks of operations. The partnership plans to support approximately 100 MSMEs to obtain USD 4 million worth of credit over six months.
“It is a privilege for HNB to collaborate with Keells to provide such an innovative financial solution for MSMEs in the food sector. This will enable MSMEs to meet their working capital needs, such as purchasing raw materials, paying salaries, and covering other short-term expenses, so businesses continue running smoothly. We are confident that this will further empower MSMEs to achieve their business objectives. We thank both USAID and Keells for partnering with HNB on this initiative.” stated Sanjay Wijemanne, HNB’s Deputy General Manager for SME & Retail Banking.
Gabriel Grau, the USAID/Sri Lanka and Maldives Mission Director said: “Sri Lankan enterprises face increasing pressures due to recent global supply chain disruptions, high energy costs, volatile inflation rates, and economic instability. This supply chain financing facility alleviates some of the pressures and enables MSMEs to optimize their working capital.”