The loan and leasing relief package provided for those engaged in the tourism industry due to the Covid pandemic will be extended for another six months. The circular for extending the leasing facility for them has been already issued and the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has agreed to issue the circular for granting loan relief in the next few weeks.
The Central Bank has agreed to this during a discussion held with the Tourism Minister, Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga at the Central Bank Auditorium recently. It was held to discuss the financial problems faced by those engaged in the tourism sector. The Governor of the Central Bank, Prof. W. D. Lakshman and Minister of Tourism, Hon. Prasanna Ranatunga were also present at the discussion which was attended by senior officials of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Tourism as well as representatives of tourism organizations in the field of tourism.
Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga emphasized that those involved in the tourism industry were affected by the Easter attack as well as the Covid pandemic. Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga pointed out that there is no point in providing temporary solutions to the problems and that a program should be implemented to protect those engaged in the tourism industry in the event of any disaster, adding that the government has already paid special attention to this.
Representatives in the tourism sector said that they had to repay Rs. 350 billion in loans and Rs. 105 billion in interest. It was also revealed that the hotel owners are facing severe difficulties as they are unable to repay the loans and interest. The Central Bank has agreed to implement a concessionary scheme to repay these loans and interest and stated that steps have already been taken to extend the existing loan concession to another six months.
Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga said that complaints have been received that some finance companies are not providing leasing facilities provided by the government. The Governor of the Central Bank stated that if there are any such complaints, they should be referred to the Central Bank and the Central Bank will look into the matter.
Hon.Minister, Prasanna Ranatunga was accompanied by Secretary to the Ministry, Mr.S. Hettiarachchi, Director General of the Tourism Development Authority of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Dhammika Wijesinghe, representatives of the tourism field, Mr.Thilak Weerasinghe, Mr.Sanath Ukwatta, Mr.Bennett Jayaratne and Mr.Nimesh Herath and Deputy Governors, Mr.Mahinda Siriwardena, Mr.Ebert Fernando, Assistant Governors and Heads of Departments of the Central Bank were also present.