Country on right economic path despite pandemic
Rs.180 bn worth loans provided to 63,000 affected businesses

The industrial sector is showing significant growth and the country is on the right economic path despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been proven through the comparison of statistics of the second quarter of 2020 with that of the previous year, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

This development has been attributed to the measures taken to normalise public life based on the guidance of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Restrictions on imports and provision of capital and refinancing facilities to businesses facing hardships were some of the key factors.

The Finance Ministry noted that especially the provision of assistance under the ‘Saubhagya’ COVID-19 revival relief loans for the small and medium scale enterprises which were affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the development of the industrial sector.

Under the loan scheme, nearly 63,000 affected businesses have received loan facilities to the tune of around Rs.180 billion.

According to the Department of Census and Statistics, there is a significant development of 5.3% in the production industry during the third quarter of 2020 in comparison to the same period the previous year. Pointing to the 2020 third quarter national accounts estimates, the total technical activities growth during that quarter was reported to be 0.6%. This development was the result of the country being opened for business and the commencement of the production sector right after the first wave of the Covid pandemic, the ministry noted.

The highest growth has been reported during this period in the Chemical products and basic pharmaceuticals sectors. The growth rate has been recorded as 13.1%. Food and tobacco products, which contribute around 6.9% of the GDP, had also shown a significant development of 11.5%. In addition, the Finance Ministry noted that the plastic production had recorded a rise of 4.8% and other commercial non-metal material production had increased significantly by 4.2%.

However, there was a reduction in the construction sector of around 9.1% due to the impact of the Covid pandemic, the Finance Ministry media release stated.