Written by Pavani Hapuarachchi
23 Mar, 2020 | 8:54 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st): President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced several relief measures and set up a fund to combat COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.
The President’s Media Division said the fund is named as the, “COVID-19 Health Care and Social Security Fund.”
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to grant a raft of concessions with effect from the 23rd of March for the general public who are faced with difficulties due to COVID-19, President’s media division said on Monday (22nd).
“The Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, all Ministry Secretaries, General Secretaries of all Provincial Councils, all banks and financial institutions have been instructed to facilitate the provision of these concessions to the people,” a statement issued by the President’s Media Division said.
The statement elaborating the concessions said that President’s Secretary has instructed the relevant authorities to immediately implement the concessions for the people.
The concessions stated in the statement are as follows:
The settlement of all revenue and Value Added Taxes, payment of renewal of driver’s license, payment of electricity and water bills that are below 15,000 rupees, payment of rates, the validity of bank cheques, payment of monthly credit card bills of below 50,000 rupees, will be extended till the 30th of April.
The charging of leasing installments of three-wheeler owners have been suspended for 6 months while the charging of loan payments in installment basis of non-executive staff of both public and private sectors, from their salaries has been suspended till the 30th of May 2020.
The charging of personal loans below 1 million rupees, granted by all banks has been suspended for 3 months.
The trainee salary of 20,000 rupees for the month of March, of all graduates who were recruited, will be deposited to their bank accounts.
The benefits of the “Agrahara Insurance Claim” at the National Insurance Trust Fund, for all state employees in the sectors of Health, Police, Civil Security Forces will be doubled.
The six months grace period or the DEBT MORATORIUM, for the Tourism, Textile, small and medium scale businesses will be implemented and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka will undertake the refinance of that money.
The money market will be stabilized under a 7% interest rate when investing in Treasury Bonds and bills jointly with the Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Trust Fund.
For credit cards used in local transactions with a limit of 50,000 rupees will be set at a maximum interest rate of 15% and the minimum monthly charge will be reduced by 50%.
All banks will remain open at times when the police curfew is not in effect, to provide the best service for customers.
Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Customs and all other regulatory bodies must continue the issuance of all essential food items, fertilizer, medicine and fuel – uninterrupted.
An advance of 10,000 rupees – free of interest to be provided for all Samurdhi recipients and those holding the Samurdhi card.
Lanka Sathosa Limited and all Co-operative stores in the country will be released of Value Added Taxes and other divisional taxes and charges.
Sri Lanka – Samurdhi Authority must immediately issue Certificates of the Beneficiary for all Samurdhi recipients and low-income families, to facilitate the issuance of nutritious food. Rice, Dhal and Onion must be provided for those families, elders and those with a low income, weekly, through Food Cards.
A special account has been opened in the President’s Fund at the Bank of Ceylon to provide concessions to ensure the health and security of the society, in preventing the spread of COVID-19. A sum of 100 million rupees has already been deposited to the account from the President’s Fund. The account has been relieved of all taxes and exchange rates for local and foreign nationals who are willing to make donations.
A sum of 5 million US Dollars has been allocated for the COVID-19 Emergency Fund, of the SAARC countries.
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