Local News: Co-spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardena said the government has clearly acknowledged the problem faced by the people because of the current situation and has taken measures to offer the people a broad concession package.
He made this statement at the media briefing held at the Government Information Department today (26). There are a large number of private companies affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. Hundreds of thousands of our people would have no alternative means of livelihood if the garment factories shut down. Many countries are shut down entirely and there is a challenge in sourcing raw materials.
If the countries that purchases out 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. The President has taken these measures to relieve the burden on the people.
He said the government and private sector workers loans being deducted from their salaries would also be suspended until May 30th. The recovery of loan instalments for personal loans obtained less than 1 million, has been suspended for three months. However, the minister noted that the government can only impose such concessions for loans obtained legitimately.
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.
He said this was part of measures to provide concessions to the public in view of the Covid-19 outbreak in Sri Lanka.