The signing of the MoU was attended by several respective officials from the RDB Bank, the Inventors Commission as well as relevant State officials and included RDB Bank Chairman, the Inventors Commissioner, Inventors Commission CEO Nalin Dolawatte, Ministry of Education Research and Innovation Director General P.M. Dharmatilleke and representing the RDB Bank Credit, Special Project and Policy Implementation Deputy General Manager A.H.M.G. Aberathne, RDB CEO and Chief Financial Officer Sumeda Edirisuriya and other officials
The Regional Development Bank (RDB) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Inventors Commission of Sri Lanka to support local inventors and inventions.
The agreement was the outcome of discussions between the two institutions which were renewed and expedited by Sri Lanka Inventors Commission Inventors Commissioner Prof. N.M.S. Sirimuthu who took up office some months back.
Under the agreement, Sri Lankan inventors, depending on the efficacy and marketability of their product, would be provided loans to enable the further development of their invention and for it to be marketed and promoted locally and internationally.
The agreement for the loan scheme was inked between Regional Development Bank (RDB) chairman M. Mahinda Saliya and the Inventors Commissioner Prof. N. M. Sirimuthu at the RDB headquarters in Kelaniya.
The Inventors Commission would be recommending the products for the loan to be provided through an impartial evaluation system and the RDB bank would further assess it and provide the necessary support, following up the necessary loan provision evaluation process set for the scheme. The loans would be provided at the lowest rates in the market, between 4 % and 10% dependent on the prevailing refinance schemes and interest subsidy loan schemes.
The MoU was described as an historic event effective in its actual implementation in Sri Lanka, where inventors who have strong solutions to national problems can apply for a bank loan based on their patent.
“This loan scheme is a plan that was being discussed by the Inventors Commission and the current Chairman Prof. N. M. S. Sirimuthu revived and expedited the matter by taking personal interest in it,” Inventors Commission CEO Nalin Dolawatte explained at the occasion.
“Inventors are the lifeline of any nation. That is why many countries provide a wide range of support for inventors. We at the inventors commission have come up with new plans to increase the support base for inventors and to ensure that the receiving of a patent is coupled with many practical support systems,” Prof. Sirimuthu stated.
He pointed out that along with modern technology based innovations, the entire gamut of knowledge that the country has inherited as traditional knowledge, such as Traditional medicine (Deshiya Chikitsa and Ayurvedha) are all potential bases for new inventions to maximise the economic potential of the country and the wellbeing of the people. He explained the link between education, invention and entrepreneurship, stating that there are several collaborations planned by the Inventors Commission to set the above links in motion and that the current priority was ensuring that the economic support for invention linked entrepreneurship is provided.
“For some time it has been a priority of the Inventors Commission of Sri Lanka to have an arrangement with the bank so that once an inventor gets a local or international patent that he or she could be recognised by the banking system as someone having an asset that will act as an equivalent of the standard recognition given by banks to collateral. Therefore the MoU signed today is the beginning of a journey that will take Sri Lanka to a new culture of invention so that the inventor could get a loan on the basis of his patent,” Prof. Sirimuthu said.
He highlighted that the Inventors Commission and the RDB bank would work in unison to see that the numbers of loan default would be zero under the new scheme by ensuring the successful marketability and profit making of the product.
He reiterated the fact highlighted by the RDB team that there are a significant number of persons in Sri Lanka overall who are under the crib category (barred from dealing with any bank) as they have failed to repay the loans.
He said that the Regional Development Bank (RDB Bank) and the Inventors Commission would seek to provide awareness on this to inventors who seek to obtain loans under this newly introduced loan scheme so that they could carefully plan for their inventions to be profit making.
The officials of both institutions explained that the RDB was chosen because it was the apex bank, set up by the Central Bank over three decades ago with the explicit purpose of eradicating rural poverty.
“The beginnings of the Regional Development Bank (RDB) can be traced back to as far as 1985 when district level banks under the category of Regional Rural Development Banks were established with a specific mandate to assist the grass root development of the nation,” RDB Bank Chairman Mahinda Saliya said.
He asserted that the bank is working on several new mechanisms to liaise more closely with the media and also to facilitate a holistic monitoring and evaluation system to assist entrepreneurs and inventors better as well as develop new products that will cater to a wide range of social groups to ensure the holistic development of the nation.
“We want the media to take our work to the villages. We have loan schemes we want more and more inventors/entrepreneurs to know about,” the RDB chairman said.
He drew attention to the need to create awareness at diverse official levels of the importance of seeing invention as part of the national culture that will contribute to the macro economy in the long term.”
“An invention is something that should reach the market at some point and the success of the invention depends on how it faces competition in the market as a product. This is what creates a stimulating backdrop for the rise of entrepreneurship in the country,” the RDB Bank Chairman further explained.
RDB bank Deputy General Manager A.H.M.G. Aberathne who had played a pivotal role to assist the Inventors Commission to expedite the new loan scheme for inventors stated that the RDB bank and the Inventors Commission had teamed up with the private sector and that these initiatives would be announced to the media shortly.
Alongside the introduced loan scheme, both the bank and the inventors commission would be working on partnerships with diverse institutions to enable the better reach of local inventions in Sri Lanka and internationally, it was revealed