District Enterprise Forum (DEF) in Kilinochchi

Locally owned participatory mechanism of the private – public dialog platform, the District Enterprise Forum (DEF) ,which aims to empower local actors in order to shape the future of the locality where they live in, was launched on 21st February 2012 in Kilinochchi. Inauguration was facilitated by the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL) and Local Empowerment Economic Development (LEEDS) project of ILO, chaired by Mrs. R. Ketheeswaran, District Secretary Kilinochchi, with the participation of the Assistant Government Agents , Heads of Government Departments, President and Board of Directors of Kilinochchi District Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture, Representative of National Enterprise Development Authority (NEDA), Traders Association, Cooperative Societies of Kilinochchi District.

President, Kilinochchi District Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (KDCCIA) Mr. M. Ignetious welcomed all the participants and highlighted the necessity and the importance of the of the forum, as many issues obstructing the development of the local economy could be solved through this dialog platform. He also added that local business community in the district of Kilinochchi has gone through a very difficult phase of business in the past and now strangling to come up in businesses. He highlighted the importance support and facilitation from the public sector, specially addressing the common business issues.
Mrs. R. Ketheeswaran District Secretary in her address stated that, DEF was a timely initiative since there was increasing recognition that private sector development had an important role to play in economic development of the regions. She further added that all reforms and modern concepts are only in papers but not practiced to the expected level, hence the DEF mechanism would substantially fill the gap. He appealed to all the participants, specially the Heads of departments and the representatives of the INGOs, NGOs and organizations to support this endeavor.

Mr. Krishantha Wisenthige, Head of Membership, Projects and Services of the FCCISL, in his presentation discussed the concept, objectives and the process of the DEF programme, emphasized that the District Enterprise Forum is a platform for dialogue between the Government, private sector and NGOs in the district to address and resolve business related regulatory and administrative issues which hinder economic development in the region.

Executive committee of DEF was established with District Secretary as the Chairman which bringing credibility to the forum as the decisions taken have the highest possible level of support of the district. Accordingly the role of the District Enterprise Forum is to empower the local business community by creating more conducive business environment by supporting on policy advocacy and representation actions. The District Chamber, being the Secretary to the Forum, would coordinate with entrepreneurs, compile and submit issues that hinder the economic environment in the district. Any issues that cannot be solved at the district level, will be directed to FCCISL to be taken up at the National forums.