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Financial aid, vocational training for youths keen on self employment - PM

The ‘Youth with Talent 2017- Gamata Kotiyak’ awards ceremony was held under the patronage of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees yesterday. Here, the winner of Youth With Talent 2017 – Gamata Kotiyak programme, Sinhale Api Youth Society from Galgamuwa, Kurunegala receiving the award and cash price from Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. Minister Sagala Ratnayaka was present. Picture by Saman Sri Wedage

The government will provide financial aid for youths along with vocational training who prefer self employment, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday.

Premier Wickremesinghe also said that the government cannot revive the country and its economy without a major contribution on the part of the country’s youths. The Prime Minister was speaking at the ‘Youth with Talent 2017-Gamata Kotiyak’ awards ceremony held at Temple Trees yesterday morning.

Certificates and awards were presented to selected projects among 3,000 community based projects lead by youth participants of this programme.

The Youth With Talent 2017 – Gamata Kotiyak programme organised by the Project Management, Youth Affairs and Southern Development Ministry, National Youth Services Council, the Sri Lanka Federation of Youth Clubs, Youth Parliament and Independent Television Network implemented 3,000 community based projects around the island.

The programme was allocated Rs.4500 million where each project was funded with Rs. 150,000. However, the project participants have added more financial value to these projects, making most projects worth more than Rs. 300,000.

Accordingly, the Youth With Talent 2017 – Gamata Kotiyak programme records a grand value of Rs. 12,000 million. The Sinhale Api Youth Society in Galgamuwa, Kurunegala won the first place for their water supply project worth nearly Rs.960,000.

The second place was won by the Nuwara Eliya, Walapane Brave Hearts Youth Society and the third place went to Matale Wilgamuwa Sathsara Youth Society. Around 3000 youths participated in the event. Addressing the gathering, Premier Wickremesinghe further said the Youth with Talent programme will move to provide vocational training to youths who participate in the programme.

“We will provide the much needed vocational training to these youths with the cooperation of the Government and Private Sector. When the training period is over, we will look into the possibility of creating space for these youths in these sectors,” the Prime Minister said.

While pointing out the importance of industry based development, Prime Minister Wicikremesinghe said the government will especially focus on youths who want to be self employed following this training programme.

“There would be youths who want to start their own businesses. The government will provide financial or other aid to these youths to set up their businesses. This is the way we can promote industry based economic development in the country,” the Prime Minister said.

Speaking on the government’s development plan, the Premier pointed out that the public will reap the benefits of the initiatives taken by the government in its first three years in service.

“When you received financial aid for your community based projects, you must have taken some time to plan and collect more funds for your task. It is the same with the government. We took over a country burdened with debts. Therefore, we had to plan ways to get out of the debt crisis and initiate development plans. When we had the opportunity to expedite development projects, we have done so. There were times we had to move slowly, which we did. Whatever the approach it may be, our ultimate goal is to give you an economically strong country,” the Prime Minister said.

Meanwhile, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s vision is similar to that of the youths as it was 30 or so years ago, when he started the National Youth Services Council as the then Youth Affairs Minister.

“Prime Minister Wickremesinghe always worked for the betterment of the youth is Sri Lanka. He is dedicated to make a brighter future for our younger generation. We are looking forward to provide interest free or low interest loan facilities to youth, to start up their own businesses. We will provide them with skills and knowledge to start these businesses. I have requested the National Youth Club Committee members to assist these entrepreneurs by recommending them to local banks emphasising on their skills and attributes,” Minister Ratnayaka added.