Tea is the largest agrarian industry in Sri Lanka, contributing up to 2% of the country’s GDP while providing direct and indirect employment to more than two million people or nearly 10% of the population.
At present, more than 40 tea growing nations compete for market share in a highly capricious global tea industry where China and India are some of the giant producers, while Sri Lanka and Kenya lead the export tea market to meet the global black tea demand.
The Sri Lankan tea industry is largely dependent on exports and approximately distributes around 96.5% of its annual production, generating around 65% of export agriculture revenue for the country.
Sri Lanka’s tea export earnings reached US$ 1.5 billion in 2011, a historical high contributing up to 15% to the nation’s foreign exchange income.
Sri Lanka is ranked as the third leading global producer of tea. In the current context of emerging national prosperity, tea being the main export product in the country irrefutably plays a pivotal role in driving the much anticipated economic progress.
NDB with a 30 year heritage of commitment towards SME development has assisted a large number of small and medium scale tea factories, tea exporters, small scale tea cultivation projects and tea plantations in all parts of the country. Having understood the significance of the tea industry and foreseen its limitless prospects, the bank has continuously extended its unwavering support via financial assistance to this sector, which makes up 4.5% of NDB’s total lending portfolio.
The bank supports the industry by providing financial assistance to meet capital expenditure of numerous start-up projects and funding working capital needs to sustain ongoing projects. NDB is well equipped with an in-house product development team that shares customised financial expertise coupled with industry know-how to empower the small and medium scale tea manufacturers and exporters.
Having made the tea industry a focal point in its lending agenda, NDB has developed several industry focused finance solutions to meet the specific needs of the sector. The bank has also advanced its efforts to support the sector by developing a customised working capital loan product for tea factories, a first in the industry.
In addition, NDB continues to invest in customer focused research and development with the aim to offer novel financial products and services that meet the changing demands of the rapidly evolving tea industry. By setting up of regional SME centres, the bank hopes to provide better accessibility for entrepreneurs within the industry to benefit from an angle of financial and advisory services of the bank.
With the premise that small and medium enterprises form the bedrock of employment and economic development of the country, NDB has dedicated over 30 years of financial assistance and expertise to this sector.
While development banking with SMEs has always been an important aspect of NDB’s portfolio from its inception, today as a fully-fledged financial conglomerate, it now takes on an even more important role to support the post war economic development and the Government’s quest to fuel economic growth of the country.
Having recognised the importance of the SME sector to the country’s economy and its vast potential for growth, the bank has pioneered project lending to the SME sector, supporting over 90,000 ventures, creating in excess of 900,000 employment opportunities.
With a combination of products and services that include SME banking solutions, expert advisory services, island-wide educational sessions and the opening of regional SME centres, NDB is continuously strengthening its commitment towards SME development with the goal of sufficiently empowering Sri Lankan entrepreneurs to take on the challenges of the a changing market place.
NDB is one of the fastest growing banks in the country with the NDB Group having regional operations in Maldives and Bangladesh. The bank offers a wide range of commercial banking services through its growing island-wide branch network, catering to an increasing customer base from all walks of life. Through the combined synergies of the diverse constituents of the NDB Group, its customers have access to a full range of banking and financial services, including project finance, corporate banking, SME lending, retail banking, investment banking, stock brokering, wealth management and insurance solutions, making NDB a truly universal bank.
(Source: Daily FT)