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The government last week launched a special programme to link the North and East with the South for an economic empowerment focused on reconciliation.

The Cabinet agreed to allocate Rs. 1.5 billion for the programme. The programme “Reconciliation Focused Economic Empowerment Project” is initiated by the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation with the aim of strengthening the economic and business linkages between North and South.

“A special budget allocation of Rs 1500 million has been provided on the recommendation of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,” Secretary, Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, V. Sivagnanasothy said in a statement.

Accordingly, the main objective of the project is to improve the production capacity of the producers of the conflict affected North and East provinces and border districts and to establish links with buyers and exporters from rest of the country through which inter-ethnic, inter-religious and inter-regional ties will be strengthened.

In addition, the statement also said that the project would provide livelihood support to conflict affected families, especially the returnees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and war victims.

“Assistance will be prioritized to women-headed families, families with disabilities, disabled ex-combatants, families with missing persons and those living under extreme poverty.”
The project will support the micro enterprises in the conflict affected areas to enhance value chain and facilitate linkages between North and South. The project will cover sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, livestock, self-employment, micro industries, handicrafts and services.