July 22, Colombo: Rehabilitated former combatants of Sri Lanka will benefit from a government program to provide low interest loans to start their livelihoods, Rehabilitation and Prison Reforms Minister Chandrasiri Gajadeera has said.
Over 1,200 rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres reintegrated into main-stream society will receive the loans on July 30 at a ceremony to be held under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees.
The loans with a maximum limit of Rs. 250,000, administered through the Bank of Ceylon, People's Bank and National Savings Bank will carry a 4 percent interest rate with a 10-year repayment period. Only the interest is required to be paid back during the first year.
The loans will be provided to start self-employment, small industries, agricultural projects and other vocational training programs, the Minister has told state-run weekly Sunday Observer.
"Not only have we rehabilitated and reintegrated them into the society but we are also creating an environment for them to contribute to the national economy by this loan scheme," Gajadeera has said.
The banks are now processing the applications, the Minister has added.
During and immediately after the final phase of the war 11,700 LTTE cadres have surrendered to the government security forces or arrested by the security forces.
The government says it has spent Rs. 2.5 billion on the rehabilitation of ex-LTTE cadres since the conflict ended in May 2009.