‘Jaffna Economy Lacks Progress’

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12Although five years have passed since the end of the civil war, there appears to be no change or improvement in the economic development of Jaffna. President of the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce R. Jeyasegaram says that conducting business in Jaffna is not easy.

“The businessmen undergo poor turnover in their business and struggling to pay the interest to the financial institutions from where they borrowed loans for expanding business establishment,” said Jeyasegaram.

The founder of the Jaffna Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agribusiness, Selva Jathusan said that doing business in Jaffna is very difficult, and one of the reasons was that, “They have however received unexpected trading competition created by south traders in Jaffna, which is hindering the growth and expansion of their businesses”.

Another issue pointed out by the Jaffna Chamber of Commerce is that improvements should be for the infrastructure such as the harbour and airport, which will help with finding a market overseas for products and produce from Jaffna.

The lack of a skilled workforce is also a major issue, Jeyasegaram said and noted that there was some success such as the Private Technical Colleges and State Technical Colleges. “These are functioning well and good progress is being made.

However low salary and inflation prevents youth from undergoing trainings. A reasonable salary and good working conditions may encourage youth to obtain the required skills,” he said.

Women are sidelined when it comes to opening or starting a new business, Jathusan pointed out, adding, “There are business opportunities that are available for women in Jaffna now that the war is over, but they are still at cottage and micro level only.” The women also face difficulties due to social convictions. (SS)