Plethora of relief measures for public | Daily News


Plethora of relief measures for public

Loan moratorium from banks
Leasing relief
Benefits for bus, school van, three wheeler operators
Stimulus for key sectors of economy

The Government has focused its attention to the grim financial realities faced by the public due to the prevailing situation over COVID-19 in Sri Lanka and offered a plethora of measures to cushion off these effects, Minister of Higher Education, technology, innovation and information Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said yesterday.

Appearing in a live televised appearance on national television yesterday evening, Dr. Gunawardena said the Cabinet had arrived at several relief measures in an attempt to relieve the burdens faced by the public as well as key sectors of the economy.

"There is no one who is not in debt," he said. "Many sectors in our island nation such as tourism and garment industries have felt the effects much harshly than others. The President and the Prime minister have devoted more time to think of ways to assist the public during this difficult period than any other cause."

There are a large number of private companies that are affected due to the Coronavirus epidemic. If the garment factories close down, hundreds of thousands of our people will not have an alternative means of survival. Many countries are in total shut-down and there is an issue in obtaining raw materials. If the countries that purchase our garments do not purchase them, then we cannot force it on them.

The Government is contemplating relief measures taking into consideration the plight of the people. A large number of people earn a living through the tourism industry both directly and indirectly. What the Government intends in granting relief to the tourism industry is not assisting the rich.

There are others involved in a small and medium scale and they have leased their vehicles. Hence, the President proposed to suspend the leave payments for such persons for a period of six months, which received the Cabinet nod.

Further, the bus operators and school van operators have no income due to the Corona situation.  Therefore, the President’s proposal to suspend the lease payments for a period of six months from March 24th has been accepted by the leasing companies. He said the government and private sector workers loans being deducted from their salaries would also be suspended until May 30.  

The recovery of loan instalments for personal loans of less than million, has been suspended for three months. For credit cards less than 50,000 the interest will be reduced to 15%.  Further, the Agrahara insurance benefits would be doubled and interest free loans could be obtained through Samurdhi Banks. There will be a six month moratorium on the leasing loan installments of all three-wheelers. He said this was part of measures to provide concessions to the public in view of the Covid-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka. 



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